This morning we battled our way onto the metro during rush hour to make it to the embassy to finish the paperwork for Miriam’s American birth certificate and passport.
After having our papers in their hands for weeks on end they finally called us at the end of last week to set up an appointment for our interview. The lady Andrew spoke with wasn’t a native speaker and said that our appointment would be on Sunday morning from 8 to 11 AM. All three of us—Miriam, Andrew, and I—had to be present for the interview and if that wasn’t possible we had to fill out another tree’s worth of paperwork. They made it sound like a big deal, so we didn’t want to be late. After all, we had an appointment.
We made it to the embassy in time and signed in and got visitor’s badges. I forgot that the rings on my baby sling are metal so I set off the metal detector and then had to take Miriam out and walk through again while everyone in security chided Andrew about how he was apparently not keeping Miriam properly swaddled—because it’s, oh, so very cold.
Andrew’s visitor number was 005. I was 007, just like James Bond. We wondered who got badge 006 and how they managed to sneak in between Andrew and I since they were handing out badges in consecutive order. Maybe today was just an odd day.
We easily found our way to the American Citizen Services because a) Andrew had been to the embassy three times previous and b) once you are through security that’s pretty much the only place it’s possible to get to (besides exiting back onto the street again).
Once we were inside we were given a number by some secondary security officers and were ushered through another set of metal detectors. Then we went downstairs to the gaily decorated lobby: single fake fir tree—no lights, no decorations. Merry Christmas.
We sat and waited with our comrades until our number was called. Turns out they use the word “appointment” very loosely—we could have shown up anytime between the hours of 8 and 11 AM. When we were called we met with one worker who sent us to pay the passport fee, then waited in the lobby with our receipt until we were called up again.
It was time for our interview. We walked up to window number three.
“Hello! Oh, is this Miriam!? *delighted squeal* How adorable! So, which hospital did you use?”
“And how was that? I’ve heard mixed reviews.”
“Yeah, it was okay, I guess. Interesting, anyway.”
“So, did you fill these forms out with correct information, to the best of your knowledge?”
“Okay. Just sign here, here, and here. And here’s a little flag for Miriam—her first American flag! Congratulations, by the way. She’s soooo cute! Happy Holidays!”
That was our interview. Turns out, they also use the word “interview” loosely.
At least she’s now a citizen of somewhere—she’s had no country to claim since birth. But it’s a shame I wasted all those hours quizzing Miriam on US culture, history, and politics to get her ready for her interview!*
* Kidding, kidding….