I received the following letter from the United States Department of State National Visa Center, twelve days ago:
Dear Elizabeth Hard Shaw:
Your inquiry has been received at the National Visa Center (NVC).
Your request for expeditious processing of this immigrant visa petition was denied by the assigned U.S. Embassy/Consulate General. This petition will continue processing at the NVC. Once all the required fees and documents are received and reviewed, and an interview appointment date is scheduled, this petition will be forwarded to the assigned U.S. Embassy/Consulate General.
For further information regarding NVC processing, please visit www.immigrantvisas.state.gov
I read it, with shaking hands, these official seals always make my hands shake, that is what they are meant to do, no, while sitting on the back steps in the warm early- days- of March sun.
When I got to the part about the request for expeditious review being denied, I cried. I had been counting on that, I don't know why, but I realize now, there is no reason why I should have expected it to be granted. Who am I?
After a brief pity party I wiped my face and went back inside to face my children. I had decided not to tell them about the letter.
That evening, just four hours or so after reading the letter, I got an e-mail from the NVC. It read:
Dear Sir/Madam, The attached correspondence relates to an immigrant visa referenced on the subject line. This case is being processed by the National Visa Center. Please read the information carefully and follow the instructions.
Dear IAN M.: The enclosed information pertains to IAN RODGER M's interest in immigrating to the United States of America. The National Visa Center (NVC) has completed its processing of IAN RODGER M 's petition, case number XXXX; and forwarded it to the American Embassy/Consulate in PARIS. An immigrant visa interview has been scheduled for the applicant at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in PARIS on April 10, 2012 at 01:00 pm.
"Interest in immigrating to the United States of America? Why does that wording annoy me?
The attachment goes on for another three boring pages. I'll spare you.
I should be excited, I know. We have a date. Well an interview date. And I kind of am excited. Excited and relieved. But I'm also kind of irked that every step has to have at least six weeks in between it and the next step. It feels gratuitously cruel, or somehow manipulating.
I mean, dentists appointments must be made months in advance too. But no one really wants to go to the dentist anyway.
But the very widely-spaced steps put forth by this immigration process take a very long stride and an enormous amount of patience, more than the average little girl who is missing her daddy has.
But what's another month, or two, when your daddy has been missing for 10 already?
Baby steps. Progress. Lights at the end of a long, dark tunnel. And all that.
It's good. Really. It's good. It's just not "now" enough for me, right now.