Sunday, March 04, 2007

Almost Deported

I did finally arrive safe and sound here in the good old North of Ireland. The trip was actually pretty eventful to say the least. Starting with the fact that as I arrived to check in from SLC my bags were approximately 9 pounds overweight and I had to scramble to do some repacking in my carry-on and purse to make the weight limit. Still I had to pay an overage fee which I thought would be around 60 dollars but turned out was only 25, schwoo on that. Turns out there was much bigger schwoo to be had on this trip.

Arrived in Houston with no mishaps got some lunch and milled about reading a book. Boarded the plane and was informed that we would be delayed 30 minutes on the ground as Newark was a bit backed up and needed us to delay. We were informed that we would still be touching down at the stated time. Which was around 7:00 pm. My flight to Belfast left at 8:05 pm so I was relieved to hear this. However once we were on approach to Newark we were told we would have to circle and we didn't touch down until 7:25 (coincidentally this is the time my other flight started boarding).

So with the help of one of those speedy airport carts I was able to sneak on the flight minutes before they closed the doors.

Upon arrival into Belfast I was one of the first off the plane and therefore one of the first through immigration. Or should have been one of the first through, but imagine my surprise when the man takes my passport and inquires after the nature of my visit. I inform him that it is for purpose of Marriage and Settlement. He flips to my Visa and just as he is about to stamp it says," This visa isn't valid until the 15th or March." I could see the problem immediately as I had arrived on the 3rd of March. He asked me to wait in a seating area while he processed the rest of the flight. I sat for 30 minutes watching everyone enter the country and wondering the following:
A- how could I be so stupid as to not know about travel dates on Visa's.

B- how could I convince him to deport me to the Republic of Ireland so Ray could just drive down and pick me up

C- how embarrassing is it to be sitting in the airport crying in plain view of an entire airplane full of people wondering what sort of crime you've committed to not be allowed to enter the country.

After the rest of the plane had been duly processed I was beckoned forward by the kind, kind immigration officer. He talked to me at length about what could have possibly happened. He choose to make his official decision that there was a mix up at the embassy instead of assigning the real blame to the fact that he was dealing with a very green girl from Orem, UT.

Let's just say bless him forever. His final words were, "Technically, technically I should be refusing you entry as your Visa isn't valid until the 15th. However I'm going to assume this is a mistake with the embassy and admit you now as a visitor"

Seriously.....he is now on my Christmas card list.

Trip ended with them losing my bags, again. But really who cares, as I had almost just gotten deported. Lost bags truly pale in comparison with what my outcome could have been.

This experience has only re-affirmed to me that Ray and I are truly supposed to be getting married here in the UK. It's finally the right time and the right place.

I must also credit the faithfulness of some of our dear friends here in the branch who told me today that they had been fasting and praying for me that there would be no further delays to my coming here and Ray and I getting married. After hearing this I genuinely feel that their fast was a big contributor to my being allowed in the country and I'm so grateful.


ld said...

Apparently, you forgot to factor in the Polish New Year when you crossed the New York dateline. Either that…or you got driving (flying) directions from HB again.

lacy lee said...

What a nightmare! I'm glad you're there safe, though. Once, after Dave left for Afghanistan, I had an airport nightmare myself--got lost in returning the rental car and missed my flight (the last one of the night, incidentally). I totally broke down in tears (probably due more to the fact that Dave left than missing my flight) and went to talk to the customer service guy who asked amidst my uncontrollable sobs how old I was. Needless to say, I don't think he expected the answer: 24

Anonymous said...

Yikes. I'm so glad the customs agent took pity on you and declared it an embassy mistake. How scary. I think my hysteria level would have kept rising with each passing minute. I'm glad you are safe and sound and where you belong.

Justin said...

It's just good you weren't dealing with a U.S. customs agent!

So glad you made it there, and my only regret is that I didn't visit with you why you were here.

Side note: In the above paragraph, I substituted "why" for "while" in honor of you. Say hi to Ray!

Anonymous said...

this story had me on the edge of my seat, thanks for some good drama on an otherwise very boring monday afternoon! glad you are where you belong.