Carrie's Adventures

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

He landed, he landed

So the passport arrived. It was definitely a day to celebrate. Having waited 5 months from the time we filed our application, Akis is excited that he can now settle in and stop feeling like a 'visitor'.

We decided that we would go and land on Saturday afternoon, after I went to Greek class. It was a nice afternoon, on Valentine's day, you couldn't ask for a better gift. We did need to exit Canada and given that Akis is not a holder of a US visa, he was a bit anxious about actually leaving the country. I had called the border to find out what the process was, and it sounded pretty simple. Go to the US border, present ourselves and tell them we want to flagpole. Armed with this info, some immigration papers, we were off for a drive.

While driving out of the city, we had a 5okm drive to get to the Peach Arch crossing. Here is Akis close to home.

Akis annoyed to discover that the wait at the border crossing is 90 minutes. Yes, that means we park the car and wait.

And we finally made it.

Just before we reached the Border Guards, there was an off ramp which said 'Return to Canada'. We were about 8 cars from the front and we looked at each other and wondered, can we just turn around here. Not being sure what is suppose to be done, we carried on towards the border. It's a good thing we did ~ once we arrived we were informed that we actually needed a piece of paper from the US guards saying we presented ourselves, thereby formally exiting Canada and were turned around to Canada. And go figure, the border guard started to chat to Akis about life in Patra and the souvlaki he used to have while in the US Air Force.

Between both of the guards, in no mans land, there is the Arch and the marker for the international border. Yes, we were on both sides....

Akis sitting in the car as we approached the Canadian border, the last time without Canadian Residency.

We were directed to the secondary office where the couple ahead of us were both landing as well. It took us about 45 minutes total, and after that, Akis walked out with his passport and knowledge that in 6 weeks he would be getting his Permanent Residency card.

To celebrate we went to Akis' favourite burger joint. And go figure, the owners happen to be Greek. It's like he can sniff them out a mile away. The ironic part being that he had no idea that the owners were Greek ~ it was the wife who asked about Akis' accent and that was when the Greek started to fly. Slowly, slowly, Akis settles in.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Can you say OCD?

That's right, Obsessive Compulsive ~ I don't think I would have ever described myself as obsessive, but from the moment Akis received an email from the Visa Office in Rome requesting his passport so they can issue the Permanent Resident Visa, I have become a bit of a stalker.

The documentation we received from Rome was to send the passport to them within 30 days. The instructions were a bit vague, a photocopied letter with a mere sticker with Akis' file number on the top corner and an 'X' beside some text that said, please send in your passport. The instructions went on to say if we wanted to have the passport returned by courier we needed to send a prepaid envelope.

I was off to FedEx the next day with the passport in hand and off it was sent to Rome. 2 days to get there, and I was constantly refreshing the tracking on FedEx's website to watch it's progress from Vancouver, through Memphis, through Paris into Italy and finally Rome. The hard part was waiting the week for them to finish the visa. Figuring they would put the passport in the enevelope we sent and contact FedEx I checked daily only to find that there was no information on the package. Akis then received an email from Rome saying that the passport was ready to be picked up, and we had 7 days to have the courier come and retrieve the passport, but you can't come Friday, and if you come any other workday, come only between 2 and 4:30pm as this is the only time we are open to the public. Hmmm, so not only do I need to arrange for FedEx to pick up the package, because they don't seem to be able to call the courier, they have a combined total of 10 public hours a week. Almost as much as my billable target, but I digress... So after having to set up a FedEx account ~ this is the only way you can get a pick up ~ the stalking of FedEx began again.

Wahoo ~ package is scheduled to be here Feb 11th

In transit from Italy...
Wahoo ~ it's arrived and in the hot little hands