Monday, June 27, 2005

Done And Done

I am now in possession of a US visa. The final stage is complete.

I’m coming to America!

Following my friend Celia’s instructions (who had been there a few weeks previous), I was able to find the US Embassy in London without too much hassle, despite both of my trains being delayed. So that was a little panicky. But no, I made it in time to stand in a queue outside the Embassy itself for about half an hour. Rather inappropriately, ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day came on the radio I was listening to, just before I headed in to get my bag x-rayed. I’m still not sure whether that was good or bad omen, but it made me laugh anyway.

Once inside, I took a number and sat down for about half an hour again, until my number was called. I then went to a window, thrust all my forms at the man, and was fingerprinted. With that much excitement, I needed a breather, which was just as well considering that I had to wait two more hours for the second part of the interview. After that eternity of trying and failing to understand the Su Doku puzzle in the paper, I presented myself at another window, where I was told everything was fine and my visa was sorted.

Phew.

Despite the waiting, it was all very organised, and sorted relatively quickly. Some people with more complex applications were there all day, I think. And it was a lovely day in London as well.

So that’s that. Now, I just have to think about getting to Eau Claire. I’m going to book my place on the shuttle from Minneapolis in a minute, and email my host family when I’ll be arriving.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A Sudden Sense Of Enormity

That's right. I'm going to America in but a few short months. So what's been happening since my last post?

Not a lot, really. Forms are all in, I've had my final meetings with the people at Winchester, and that's it from then. It's all on me from now on. There was a professor from Wisconsin at my university, so I met her and discussed things I'd been thinking about - campus life, how close it is to major cities, transport and so forth. Which put my mind even more at ease. I also found out who my host family are going to be! I’ll be staying with them for a few days in Eau Claire before I start school, so it was nice to find out who they were. Mark & Elizabeth are a doctor and a nurse, with two dogs and no kids. Rather marvellously, they’re vegetarian. I’m going to try and eat as vegetarian as I can in America in a desperate bid to stay healthy. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of red meat.

Other than that little lot, it’s all about the visa interview. I’ve nearly got everything together – just have to get some photos for the visa itself, which are a very odd shape. 2” x 2” doesn’t seem quite normal to me, but apparently that’s the standard size for American passport photos, so that would make sense. My interview is on Monday the 20th at 11.00AM. I am prepared for a lengthy wait, but it should all go according to plan. I’ll keep you informed of the events. I'm sure they'll be scintillating!