"Yup, I have all of our paperwork, and the scrabooks in this big bookbag. Now, what was your first pet's name? What town was your dad born in? Your favorite color, and I don't know- what would we say our first date ever was?"
That was a little bit of the conversation we had as we were on our way to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services facility in Atlanta. It felt so strange riding to our first interview just quizzing the person I had married a few months earlier, but had lived with and grown to know for 2 years. We were nervous as hell, if we answered something wrong, or forgot to bring in a certain form, he might be denied permanent residence, or who knows what.
We quizzed each other until we pulled into the parking lot. My stomach was in knots. We get inside the building and some employees who you could tell hated their lives made us remove our belongings and jewelry and walk through a few body scanning devices. After our thorough search and pat down they sent us up to sign in. We had to sign a few things after we checked in. One was a form that asked us what language we needed our interview to be conducted in. What the hell. Is this for serious? Call me crazy but I think MR. AND MRS. JONES would probably like their interview in ENGLISH. I understand we are the only caucasian people within a 5 mile radius, but do you?! That's like trying to card an 85 year old trying to buy booze. It's a little redundant.
Anyways, we took a seat and tried to act like we weren't freakin' out about who our immigration officer might be. As they came out to call in different people we tried to size them up. "that guy looks like a jackass, I hope we don't get him" and so on. We look to the row of seats next to us as a couple is called back, and I can't even make this shit up. The woman (who was the american"anchor" in the relationship) was, no lie, about 6'3'' and I would ball park 250 lbs. Her husband? He was Indian (they were both dressed in full garb and head pieces IN JULY IN GEORGIA). He was maybe 5'5'' and maybe 130 lbs. Anywho, about 15 or so minutes after they disappeared into the enclosed hallway they walked out of the waiting room and we were directly called back. The officer we met seemed nice enough, as she called us back into her rather small office. As soon as we walked in it hit us. A smell that was so potent it reached up and smacked us in the face. It was an incredibly disgusting combo of body odor and curry? maybe? Whatever it was it was obvious that the jolly green giant and her pint sized Indian were probably the culprits. It was so bad the immigration officer asked if we minded her spraying an immense amount of lysol to quell the stench. We said please do.
As soon as we were seated and comfy we had to stand back up again to do our oaths. You know, to swear that we won't lie about anything. sidenote: we were told, and had read to absolutely make NO jokes! about anything...
So, we are in the process of raising our hands and standing to take the oath when Brett's big butt tags the side of my rib cage and I fly into this woman's office wall. Brett without skipping a beat reaches over and picks me up, almost brushing me off and says, "oh it's ok, this stuff happens all the time, I kinda forget how big I am." -I can't decide...can I laugh? I say oh what the hell and let out a giggle and agree "yes and he forgets how small I am!" We do the oath and then Brett gets a special quiz and I am not allowed to talk. Some of the yes or no questions he then gets to answer straight faced involved things like, harboring fugitives, taking part in terrorist organizations, smuggling drugs, smuggling prostitutes, you know THE USUAL?!?!?!?!
And if any of you know my husband, talking to him about any combination of those items and expecting him to not make a joke or laugh is like asking him to stop breathing. Seriously. Luckily after he "took me out" during our oath the woman had warmed up a bit to the fact that we are a ridiculously silly pair of people. So she let a few smirks and comments slide.
Then I get to talk! yay! time to answer questions that have nothing to do with the fact that I may actually be in love with my husband. Wanna get an idea of what they are allowed to ask, and just might ask? Here ya go. Good stuff right? Stress me right out! Then we show off the wedding pictures that further prove we actually like each other, and had a legit ceremony, and didn't blow $30,000 for a weekend because we think scamming the US government is a fun, yet pricey hobby. Then I was asked, "Can I take some of these photos out to keep in your file?". Why no, you can't. Those photos are glued to an immaculately designed scrapbook. Isn't there a $10,000.00+ copy machine that my tax money paid for lying around here somewhere that we can use?
We conclude our interview and Brett gets a handshake and a congratulations- he is now allowed to work and pay taxes. Congrats sucker! But at least we were then on the long road to him becoming a productive "citizen". We are creeping up on our 3rd anniversary now and all he has is a temporary green card. But I will save that headache for another day.