As some of you may or may not know, I was set to fly over to the United States of America (more specifically to the state of Oregon) a little more than a week ago. And well, after a 17 hour journey and an emotional ride like I’ve never experienced before I said “see you soon” to my parents, I was held at border security in Seattle for two hours and I finally saw my fiance again, after having been separated from him and having had to miss him for 7 months. In other words: I made it, but only barely…
Off to a shaky start
On August 11th, my parents, brothers and I drove over to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. My family had decided they all wanted to see me off to the USA and so we went, all together.
After a 15 minute walk from the parking lot we got to the main hall of the airport, I was again overwhelmed by the amount of people there. Just like last year. Schiphol Airport is truly a metropolis in its own right, the center is so big that I imagine one could find everything he/she needs in his life there. All in all, I always find it to be very imposing.
I went off to one of the ticket booths expecting to be able to get my boarding passes without much of a hitch – as was the case last year. No such luck though, I was given a message notice stating that they needed more information before I was allowed to get my tickets. Great, the nerves that I had carefully kept under control for the past days started surfacing.
The KLM service employee assured me that there was nothing to worry about, though. The reason I had to check in at a booth was because my K-1 visa is not something that is digitally registered, which kind of surprised me. However, given that it is pasted into my passport, it did not present a problem.
My luggage, on the other hand, was a different story. I’d carefully weighed both suitcases that I was going to check and as far as I knew they should’ve been well below 50lbs. To my surprise, one of my bags turned out to be heavier than that.
By no less than two measly pounds. Embarrassed as I was about that, I took some of my clothing out, vouching that I’d put it in my carry-on luggage instead, and checked the bag for the normal fee in the end. No big deal, really, though it did help stimulate my nerves further.
An unwelcome surprise in Seattle
After a swift and effortless plane flight (with no turbulence, thank the deities!) during which I watched three movies, I made it to Seattle Airport, my first stop. When I was up for checking with border security, I handed over my K-1 packet, the packet which stated that I am allowed to come to the United States of America to get married to my fiance within 3 months of my arrival. This was supposed to go without a hitch, and initially it sure seemed that way too.
The guard handling my packet took a swift look at all of the documents to make sure everything was in place and then started stamping my passport. Thinking everything was fine, I sat there patiently and initially didn’t worry when he walked away. Five minutes later, though, he hadn’t come back yet, and I was getting a little impatient.
Then – as he came back he had a grim look on his face and marched towards the booth besides his to make a phone call. “No expiration date” was all I could make out of the conversation. This, combined with the look on his face, meant trouble. I was in trouble.
After another 15 minute-or-so wait he came over to me with a red card and my fiance packet and told me to follow him. Apparently the consulate doctor had neglected to put an expiration date on my medical exam (which was conducted perfectly on time, mind you), and this meant that my medical exam was unfortunately not valid.
I had to undergo an “overt examination” as he called it, in order to be allowed into the States. Wonderful. As you can imagine, my nerves were reaching new highs by now. I was terrified. Some small part of me panicked and even feared that I wouldn’t be allowed into the country at all.
Approximately one and a half hour later, and after I was allowed to bring my luggage up with me, a little Chinese fellow came barging out of the office, handed me my passport and customs form and told me that I was good to go. I was perplexed. Didn’t I have to undergo an overt examination? To this day, I’m still not sure what happened entirely, though I cannot begin to explain how relieved I was that I my passport got stamped.
Making it there
I was not out of the water yet though. Since it had been over two hours after my touchdown in Seattle when I finally was permitted to go through customs & luggage check, there were no service employees to check my customs form at the customs booth anymore. I called out to a man walking around in the back of the luggage hall and he helped me, but that didn’t do much for my nerves.
I was still extremely shaken, as you may be able to imagine. Then, of course, when I came to the checking booth for my luggage, there was nobody to help me. I had to walk over to the personnel who did the carry-on and personal checks and they phoned a guy to come help me. By this time I was on the verge of tears: everything was working against me and nothing was quite going right… Thankfully there was no trouble with my carry-on luggage and I was allowed into the Seattle terminal. Finally.
When I finally got to the terminal, three hours had passed since I touched ground in Seattle. I had never imagined being so glad I had a 6 hour layover, because this meant that I still had three hours to eat, rest up and kill. In the end though, I decided to not eat and only drink because my nerves had not settled down yet.
In fact, they didn’t until I saw Wil at Medford Airport. It was only when I saw him that I completely felt grounded and secure. I had made it to him. It’d been a very bumpy and stressful ride, but it was worth it: I’d made it alright and we are finally together again.
Of Black and Silver no more
You may or may not have followed me from my previous website,
…of Black and Silver to this shiny new blog. If you have, you’ll most likely know that I decided to move on from that website to something more positive. I have recently begun life anew with my fiancé Wilhelm in the United States of America, and since I am opening a new chapter in my life, I wanted my domain name to reflect that change.
I had purchased “obas” whilst I was in a less happy state of mind, and at that time it resonated with my personality: it was somewhat gloomy, and a little poetic. But right now, I feel that I have moved on far beyond that and couldn’t relate to my domain name anymore. Sure, it is still a beautiful, poetic and even somewhat mysterious name, but what good does that do me if I don’t like it anymore?
Nothing really. And so, Whisperes.com is the name to reflect this new, hopefully happy chapter in my life. Whisperes has been my online nickname for a couple years now, it is a word that I identify myself with and so I felt that it’d be the perfect replacement for my previous domain.
I look forward to blogging on this new website, and getting to know new people via the internet to share thoughts, get inspired, and hopefully even inspire other people!