Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Visa and travel latest

I often get queries about the latest on our move to North Carolina, and others who assume we are already there and send kind emails asking "What's the weather like in North Carolina?"; "Wish we were there too" etc. I have been loathe to post continual updates here, especially when there has been little to say other than "Still waiting", but now I do have a little more at last and so to celebrate it, a short narrative of the latest.

We were given an appointment for an interview at the US consulate in London on Friday and I spent much of last week preparing the fresh paperwork needed for that, driving to Worcester to get the necessary 2" by 2" visa photographs of the family, repeatedly phoning the consulate at £1.30 a minute to ask for advice and so on. We drove to Peterborough on Thursday so that my mother-in-law could look after the children while we took the train to London on Friday. Because the consulate had mistakenly only sent us three payment forms, we had to arrive in Grosvenor Square two hours early to pick up a fourth. We went to a bank in Park Lane to pay the £240 fee, and returned to the consulate to begin our long wait for our interview. Knowing that it would be a long wait, I had my little Test Match Special radio with me but alas, it was taken off me at the door. So I read Terence Mournet's Oral Tradition and Literary Dependency and slept instead. After three hours, we were seen by someone who looked a bit like John McEnroe, and he informed us that our visas had been approved and our passports would be returned to us this week. We retired to a pub around the corner to celebrate and the beer tasted particularly good.

Term began over two weeks ago at Duke, but now I am confident that I should be able to be there before mid term. Before travelling, we have one or two farewell dos still to go. I had a nice send off from work last Wednesday, along with my colleague Philip Seddon who is also leaving. It was a strange mixture of hellos and goodbyes, with Philip Burton having arrived to take up his new post in Birmingham facilitated by the departure of Philip Seddon and me, and Michael Pahl (of Stuff of Earth fame) arriving from Candada for a nine month stay in Birmingham just the evening before. Like Michael Strickland before him, Michael Pahl is an Anglo-file, too and I am sorry that this Americano-phile only overlaps with him for this short period.


Michael said...

Congrats on the visas! Can't wait to hear about the move.

Michael Pahl said...

That's funny... I thought for sure the customs official that stamped our visas at Heathrow looked like Mr. Bean... I haven't heard much about John McEnroe lately--maybe he's paying off debts by working as a consular official in London? :-) I, too, look forward to hearing about your trip, and all your family's American adventures.

Whit said...

Great news! Can't wait till you are here.