August 9, 2010
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Sadly, after spending the last 13 months of my life in Orlando, Florida, it is time to depart.
Leaving for the airport at 5:30am and getting a flight out to Las Vegas at 7:55am where I will spend the next five days before flying back home to Australia.
The worst part; saying good bye to a friend I have become so close with at the airport in the morning.
Good bye, Orlando, I’ll forever cherish all the memories I’ve made here. You hold a special place in my heart ♥.
See you soon.
April 24, 2009
Yesterday when I got home from work I was pleased to see an express post satchel waiting for me on my bed. I ripped it open and inside was my passport with my DS-2019 form folded up and stapled to one of the pages. I flipped to the page it was stapled on, and there it was… a whole passport page dedicated to my J1 U.S. Visa. Awww, it’s so pretty. Actually, no, not really. The photo of me on it is really quite disturbing. The dude at the post office didn’t tell me when he was going to take my photo so my left eyebrow is raised and then to make matters worse, he told me to look into the wrong section of the camera, so although I am facing it front on, I am not directly looking into it. It’s definately nothing to gloat about but I love it none the less. EEEEEE!
So whilst getting so caught up in the beauty that is my U.S. visa, I failed to notice the text on my visa which read…
“Bearer is not subject to section 212(e). Two year rule does not apply.”
I originally thought the two year rule was going to apply because while filling out my DS-2019 form, I had to sign that I had read and understood the two year home country physical presence requirement rule. This rule states that “exchange residents are required to reside in their home-country for 2 years following completion of their program before they are eligible for immigrant status, temporary worker status or intracompany transferee status.” After returning home to Australia, I want to try for another visa which will allow me longer residency and entitle me to seek professional employment within the U.S., so this rule kinda made me a little upset, but in order to obtain my J1 visa, I had no choice but to agree to it.
When I eventually noticed this exemption I may have squealed just a tad. Lie. I squealed A LOT. I was beside myself with excitement and joy that the two year rule did not apply so much so that I did a little happy dance right in front of my bedroom mirror haha. I am such a loser, but an ecstatically happy loser none the less.
April 22, 2009
This morning I woke at the unGodly hour of 6am in order to catch the 6.50am train into the city. I had an 8.15am appointment at the U.S. Consulate General on St. Kilda Rd in Melbourne and was advised to get there a half an hour before my appointment time. I managed to find my way to the Consulate and upon entry into the building, I noticed a queue had already formed. I was maybe the tenth person down the line. They took us in five people at a time. We entered our passport numbers into the computer systems and were issued a sticker with a barcode to wear on our shirts before our belongs were scanned through the x-ray machine and we had to walk through the metal detectors. Our bags had to remain at the security desk and we were only allowed to take out paperwork and our wallets in.
We were all told to take a seat and just wait until our number was called. In the mean time, we watched a security measures video and a montage of immigrants who had set up home in the U.S. and looked all happy and pleased with their new lives… it was on replay so I watched it no less than 15 times. Number 12 was called to window one so I made my way over. The old man behind the window asked for all my documents and my passport. He then took electronic fingerprints from both my hands and told me to sit back down. That was easy enough. Another hour or so passed before my number was called up again; this time to window two. The American lady behind the window asked a what reason I had to return home, asked to see financial proof of how I would support myself and then asked to see a copy of my University degree. She also asked if my previous trips to the U.S. were just for pleasure to which I nodded. I was rather nervous but that was soon forgotten when I saw her look up and smile at me… “Congratulations, I see no reason to not give you a visa. Everything is in good order.” To which I responded SWEET! Thank you! I left with the biggest smile ever plastered across my face!
I caught the train back home and headed straight over to STA Travel to purchase my airfares. At this point, I was still feeling a tad iffy about the response I had received from U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week. I didn’t want to risk flying into Los Angeles Airport then have the Customs Officer try to enter me on my J1 visa (even though I had been advised that I could enter on a Visa Waiver), so I decided to not take any chances and purchase a direct flight to Canada without any stop overs in the U.S. It was a tad more expensive than flying into L.A., but at least this way I know it will be hassle free and I get to fly my favourite airline, Air New Zealand! Yay to having a personal entertainment unit and movies and TV on demand the entire way!
Departure is June 28 flying from Melbourne > Auckland > Vancouver > Montreal… woah, what a mouthful!
I have my return flight booked in also flying Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to Melbourne however, I have to call closer to my return date (which, at this point is August 15, 2010) and push the date back further as they couldn’t issue the ticket that far ahead of time yet.
I’m so excited! Not long to go now! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!