Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Un chat echaude craint l'eau froide

OK, if I was a guy, this would be me (sorta, maybe, kinda - I'm way cuter and not so nerdy looking. But I was a pseudo-nerd in high school).

Lets just say I'm not out to break the law, smuggle things into countries I shouldn't, not pay taxes, etc. Heck, I worry if I bring Fidel coffee, or my gal pal in Mexico some maple syrup. Maybe I am too straight in some things. So when certain things happen to me, I wonder "what the hey ??!!!"( put in real expletives).

I have travelled quite a bit in my relatively young life: overseas, in the Caribbean, Mexico, seen most of Canada and the States; for work and play. I've gotten used to dealing with general travel security and the issues of the crossing borders and dealing with that particular beast of protection. I've learned the honest ways of passing through pleasantly; tricks to make it all go smoothly, and have always had a sense of humour about it all.

But over the past two years or so, largely from the tale I am about to relate and the intensity of air travel I had to do for work the past year or so, and its related "pain in the butt" travel experience , I've come to hate planes (= security pain) versus trains (= not so bad, yet).

I don't begrudge any of it at all. I understand what is going on. But still, I think I have been tagged. As such, I try to avoid using any US airlines as much as possible, to the point of really becoming almost paranoid. This is especially a drawback as most of the travelling I do in the States now has to do with Fidel and I am just terrified that I'll be turned back at the border and not get to see him, or worse yet, any immigration attempts I make will be jeopardized (story coming).

I had to go to LA last summer. I was sure they were going to tell me that I was blocked from entering the country. I wasn't. But coming back through LAX, I was taken to the frisking area and frisked. This is to get on a plane coming back to Canada. It would have been more pleasant if I had realized at the beginning that the true border security was watching and he was HOT !!! If I had known, I would have asked for a full body search... from him. All I got at the end was a lecherous sneer (sneers are good :D !!).

I digress.... This isn't the story

So what has made me such that I pass through American customs with much less ease of confidence (almost fear) than I did before June 2005 ?

Medstudentwife gets a lesson...

Happy as a lark, skip and a jump. Fidel and I decided to get married sooner than later. I was flying to LA to get married there and meet the rest of his family.

I had my suit; we would get the license there and the rings, and make the final arrangements with the judge. I was to arrive on the 1st, and we were to be married on the 5th. Nothing complicated, our vows and that was all. It was a window in time; it was the only holidays I could get as I had to be back at work 2 weeks later, and he was off to med school in a couple of months and still had a lot to do to get ready for it.

So both of our heads were "me in & out..like past visits/ holiday" - not thinking about immigration, or about the fact that some people do get married for the sole purpose to getting the spouse (il)legally into the country. I had a zillion reasons to get back home ,and he wasn't going to be back in the States anytime soon. Guess the fellows at customs couldn't read my mind.

I got to the airport in Toronto, where the US immigration is, from the flight I had taken in. I hate any immigration & have to work to get my unnecessarily nervousness under control. This time I was doing to be non-nervous and stuff. I was good and confident !!!

Immegrat: So what is your reason for coming into the country?
Me: To get married. (totally silly stupid giddy and TOTALLY HONEST- now that I look back...*smack*)
Immegrat: Have you the paper work ?
Me: What paper work? We are getting the licence when I get there.
Immegret: The paper work?

It was a 3 minute circular conversation...

My brain had no clue what he was talking about ( I normally research this kind of stuff & Fidel hadn't said anything) - guess it was a 1+1=3 thing, again and I hadn't seen anything. Like what paper work is he asking about ??

He was looking at me like " Dumb B****"

Immegrat: Here - take this and follow that fellow *sigh of disgust* "

(OK.. watch out for the "yellow clip board" if you ever do US immigration)

So I was taken to the immigration backroom............. ( music please)

Lets just say that they make you work it (including women agents who are trying to prove they can be the most ignorant persons on this planet) and watching the comings and goings in that area, I think I got hit pretty harsh.

All I could think was that I was missing my flight and had no idea what was going to happen next...... If I wasn't going to be allowed into the States, I wasn't going to run around Toronto trying to get a Visa.....Fidel would have to make his way here..... my dress.. and so on...... my cell wasn't working, so I was totally alone.. to figure this one out on the QT.

My airline came in and assured me that they knew I was there and there were plenty more lights to LA that night and they would get me on one.

I wasn't happy. Technically I was in the US while still at home :S

I finally had an officer who I was able to convince that I wasn't out to enter the States to stay... I had to come home (I think my particular job at that point made a big difference) . He ran around like he was doing me a "sorta" favour about getting an "on the spot visa", and then at the end of it all I was read the "riot act", i.e. making sure I came back into Canada after the 30 day B1 visa so that it wouldn't jeopardize my husband's application for my landed immigration, later (yes, dad). And all the stuff that "hubby"he had to do to ensure proper immigration application..........yack, yack, yack

I caught Fidel on a payphone after I got out. If you know LA, its a 2 to 3 hour lead time to anything; he was just about to leave to meet me for the original flight. I was having problems getting hold of him, and I wasn't happy and actually a bit shaken and almost panicking, but I did get hold of him was able to keep him from arriving at the airport 4 hours too early.

This episode nixed our deek trip to BC to have Fidel meet mom, as there was no guarantee that I would have been allowed back in the States to catch my flight from LA, home.

I fiercely held on to that VISA piece of paper that I had to give to Canadian customs when I returned to Canada. I needed to ensure closure of the whole thing when I came back home so that I wouldn't jeopardize our future plans.

I guess it worked as I was allowed back in last summer.

But I'm not sure I haven't a note on my file that says....

"She's married to an American.. so watch out, she may try to get in illegally"


Fidel said...

Well, at least we in the States know what kind of idiots are hired for border security:

The very finest idiots available.

I'm happy that my sweetie made it!

MedStudentWife said...

Me too, Fidel ! :D

Guess it'll take more than a bunch of idiots to stop me !

jmb said...

Well I have lived in Canada for a very long time and didn't become a citizen until a few years ago (technical reasons because I didn't want to give up my Australian citizenship and had to wait until they allowed dual citizenship). One time when going into the States to see my daughter who lives there now I was asked by a US immigration officer, with a heavy foreign accent, why I hadn't taken out Canadian citizenship. I was furious. What business was it of theirs to ask this question? My husband was busy kicking me since he could see I was about to blow.
The very finest idiots indeed, who think they are little gods sometimes.

MedStudentWife said...

Txs JMB -

You live your life not thinking about living in another country & then "pop"

I know I'm not alone, but its good to hear I'm not alone in these stories :)