Sunday, January 29, 2006

Freedom (it isn't free: it costs $1.05)

So, this 'tale' of freedom has many aspects. It has ups and downs, you will laugh, you will cry, but in the end, it has a happy ending.

The party

After my last day with my former employer, a coworker of mine organized a small gathering (only invited the working class, no management) at a local watering hole (a.k.a. Bar). We ran home to let out the dog, then went to the bar. Weren't we surprised to find two members of management at the table? (this is rhetorical... the answer is yes). On the bright side, if you were going to drink with leaders, these two were the sort you would want to drink with.

Day 1 of Freedom: journey to the border

My first actual day of freedom from employment involved a drive to the border to get new immigration documentation (I'm not yet a green carded dude). When we got to Buffalo, I had to pee so badly, that we couldn't stop at the border (you have to leave the country then re-enter), we just shot off to a rest area. We decided (since we were way past the border now) to go to Niagara and get the documentation there. Mistake It seems that the Niagara crossing did not have a NAFTA specialist on duty on Thursday, so we got some riff-raff dude who decided he didn't like my education, so I couldn't get a visa. The lady (she was the go-between, the riff-fraff didn't actually talk to us) was kind, and suggested we come back tomorrow (a real dude will be in @ 9), or we could go to the Buffalo crossing (they have a dude that is in at 8). Keep in mind, they actually TOOK my old visa (since I no longer work there), so I was (after this visit) completely without status in the U.S.

Day 2 of Freedom: the border revisited

So, we got up bright and early (after a VERY UNEASY night of sleeping), and went to the Buffalo crossing (it is only about 10 miles from Niagara – approx 18km for you Canucks). We sat in the little room, then my name was called. The (very terse) officer told me that he couldn't help me, and that I had to go back to Niagara since that is where I was denied yesterday.

Okay, this is fun... back to Niagara. We get there, and the officer takes our paperwork (after the initial border lady gives us the 5th degree). He goes off for about 30 minutes, then calls me in. He proceeds to tell me that I do NOT qualify for a TN Visa (a temporary Visa under NAFTA) since I am a permanent resident of Pennsylvania. This was a long conversation (but I won't give all the details here), that ends with him telling me that I will not get the work Visa that I require to start my new job. Whoa! This is NOT good. He also tells me that without status, I cannot return to the US!

Ugh. He then asks if I have been informed about the L2 visa (it is a 'spouse' visa for someone who's spouse has an L1 class of visa). He tells me that if I get an L2, I can then apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) and work anywhere doing anything in the U.S. I say “Great, I'll take it!”... unfortunately, I do not have the proper documentation with me (I only brought what I needed for the TN, not the L2).


At this time, he takes pity on me, and decides that he will give me the L2 without the documents (I am supposed to have the marriage certificate, and the document of MVG's L1). He figured that since he saw the stamp in MVG's passport, that he knew she had an L1, and we “looked like newlyweds”, so we must be married (he did quiz me to see if we were some of those crazy Canadian common-law people).

YAY... I have my L2. Wah! I can't work for 90 days!

I called my new employer (Planet Awesome to use Tenzil's term) with the news... They were shocked, but told me not to worry, they would take care of me and ensure that everything worked out.

That very evening

So, our friends from our past lives in the Cancer Capital of Canada arrived for an evening of fun and frolic. We partied, drank, ate 'Veggie' burgers and watched a movie. It was a great way to unwind after the close call at the border (MVG and I briefly thought I would be going back to CCofC with them until the green card arrived).

Day 3: Planet Awesome Party

So, on day 3, MVG and I went to Planet Awesome's winter party. Fantastic. Any doubts I may have had (none actually) were quickly gone after this affair. They are a great group of people, all of whom are smart. Fantastic!

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