Finally, after months of preparation leading up to my trip to the US this summer, the day came when I had to collect my Visa at the US Embassy London.
Surprisingly, after the tragic events of 911 the security checks were not as tight as I first thought. Just giving the guards your passport and going through a couple of gates and doors was all it really consisted of. Once I got in the building though, through the back entrance like something top secret out of a James Bond movie, I felt like a VIP. Inside the institutionalised building everything was austere and official (like I was stuck in the 1960’s). Solid bars separated the interviewers from the interviewees, meaning you knew your status before the interview even began!
Collecting my Visa was quite a simple part really, doing you finger print checks. The thing that shocked me was what I found when completing my visa application in preparation where I was asked ‘ Are you a member of Terrorist Organisation?’, like I would say YES to that. I suppose the checks are at least thorough though, you don’t want any old dick or harry coming into the country.
The day was not all about getting the Visas done though, It was great to meet the people who will be going on the US cultural, voluntary work trip this summer as well. The were all from different parts of the UK with varied disabilities. There was quite a positive vibe between the delegates of the program with excitement about the trip bouncing of one another. The Americans with their warm hospitality said; ‘Please bring your sense of humor, your patience, your flexibility, your open hearts and your passion to work for the rights of people with disabilities around the world’ to the trip and this was definitely evident at the embassy.
Now, the ball is really rolling.