Sunday, May 09, 2010
mom and i had a sort of early mother's day gift when we were granted our US visa last May 3.
a few days before that i sort of panicked when Pres. Arroyo declared May 3 as a non-working holiday especially since my mom was already here in Manila and we have booked our plane tickets for the following day, she was to go back home to Iligan while i had my work assignment in Palawan.
that very early morning of May 3, we left the house and headed to the embassy at about 6am. our interview schedule was at 8am and we were instructed to be there at least an hour early. the cab driver even asked us if operations continue even with the declaration of the holiday, we told him we were going there para mamasyal lang. as we were nearing the embassy though we saw a lot people queuing already. i was both relieved and anxious at the same time.
for a little bit of background, i was already denied of a visa years back. i was granted a Guam-only visa back in 2002 but got denied when i applied again supposedly for a work assignment in 2004. i've never really tried applying again since i'm never really good at rejections.
early this year though, my sister suggested that i try it out again so i could visit her along with my mom. i kinda forgot about it till she reminded me about it again just a few weeks before the appointment. i didn't really get to prepare. my bank statements were requested that friday, my employment records were signed by my boss the night before the interview. my mom was more prepared though as she had a lot of documents with her. my sister was able to send us her supporting papers a week before.
anyway, we were interviewed by an an obviously pregnant african-american woman and this is how the interview went:
consul: is she your grandmother?
me: no, this is my mother.
c: oh, i'm so sorry!
my mom (in her Bisaya English): mother only not grandmother!
(awkward moment here hehehe)
c: so sorry again. what will you do in the US?
me: we'll be visiting my sister and her family.
c: (to my mom) have you ever traveled out of the country?
mom: yes, to Hongkong and China for an educational trip. i have a letter from my daughter.
c: no, i don't need to see anything. how long do you intend to stay in the US?
mom: 3-4 months. i have a letter from our bishop.
c: no, i don't need to see anything. i don't need to see anything.
(i had to nudge my mom, apparently hindi ko pala siya na brief na dapat isang tanong-isang sagot lang.
c turned to me and asked: what is your job?
me: i am the assistant project director of a non-government office, the ____ foundation.
c: how much is your salary?
me: around XX,000.00
c: what countries have you gone to?
me: I've been to Japan, Hongkong-Macau, Singapore, Guam, Thailand...
sumingit ang mom ko: Malaysia
nabitin pa ata sa interview si mama haha!
me: yes, Malaysia
c: you've been denied of a visa before?
me: yes, mam, that was for a work assignment.
c: what is it all about?
me: we are involved in gathering research materials for overseas Filipino workers.
c: are you still in the same kind of job?
me yes, mam.
c: do you intend to do this kind of work there?
me: no, not this time.
c: okay, you are both approved. please go to air21 at the pavilion for the delivery of your passports.
my mom and i slowly walked away in disbelief asking each other, "tapos na? yun na yun?"
sabi pa ng mom ko, naiihi ata yung buntis kaya nagmadali.
here are the many documents we brought with us, for documentation man lang at para may silbi kahit konti hehe...
i had some photos of Xan and the rest of the family just in case we'll be asked. my mom even brought receipts of our utility bills, etc..we rehearsed so many answers to whatever possible questions and just prayed...i guess this time luck was very much on our side.
i received our passports a couple of days ago and found out that we've been granted 10-year multiple entry visas.