My letter from Immigration told me that my interview would be at 8.00am in Etobicoke. Ptichka and I took the scenic route, which featured a lengthy (and unnecessary) foray by bus into Mississagua. The office was at Kipling station on the subway line. Who knew? Obviously, I didn't.
The interview was something of a cattle call. We, and by we, I mean about sixty other Canadian hopefuls, were trundled into a large room with a Canadian flag and a dais. We all sat and waited until a woman came in and told us how the interviews were going to go down. We would be called randomly and questioned by one of five immigration officers. Two were set up at the front of the auditorium, while the other three were at these wickets. Everything was out in the open.
Before some of us were interviewed, we had to pay our landing fee, which involved a trip up to the third floor. Ptichka and I went upstairs and found the cashier. It was one lone woman in a poorly designed office. A Polish couple paid before us. In cash. The best part of this transaction was watching the cashier put the money in an envelope and then seal it with a glue stick. She was very thorough with the glue stick, by the way.
I paid my landing fee after the Polish couple and returned to the hall. We sat and waited until my name was called and then we went out to one of the wickets. To my right was a refugee from China. To my left was someone from lord only knows where asking questions about OHIP.
My interview was very short. I was first informed that I no longer needed a student authorization, since my current once, which I renewed a couple of months ago, was paperclipped to a page in my passport. Then came the questions: Did I have any dependents outside the country? No. Had I been in trouble with Canadian law enforcement? Had I been deported? The immigration officer snickered after the deportation question. The answer? No and no. She then asked Ptichka if she understood her obligations as a sponsor. Ptichka said yes. I then initialled a couple of spots on a form and signed at the bottom. The officer ripped off the bottom copy, because CIC does everything on carbon paper (man, my file was thick) and handed it to me. She took my immigration photos, had me sign another form, and told me that my permanent resident card would arrive in the mail in four to six weeks. She then welcomed me to Canada.
Ptichka and I left the building in search of breakfast. We found a diner across the street that was full of old people and skanky business men. Always a good sign for a diner's quality, really, even though you wouldn't want to see those people at other places, like that hot bar down on West Queen West. We kept telling each other that I'd landed. Then we'd either squeal or have some more pancakes.
I thought that landing would be like passing my comps: a long, drawn-out build up to a crappy release. It didn't work like that, though. I'm so relieved. I get to stay. If I had to, I could find a job. There are so many things about which I no longer need to worry that I feel lighter and younger.
Now I just need to finish the diss.