Day 14 – A Flag Waving American at last!
With everyone in our group receiving physical approval by the USA to proceed with immigration, it was time for us all to head back to the American Consulate for the completion of the immigration process. Most of the paperwork had been submitted a month or two before by each family (electronically.) Now it was time to make it official! It was an especially memorable day because it was my Mom’s birthday. We had much to celebrate!
We loaded up our bus at 7:30 in the morning with all the children in tow (plus Mimi and Hulaloo this time,) and headed into Guangzhou to the US consulate. The consulate as I have mentioned is the busiest in the world. Pulling up to it with our children was almost a surreal experience. I have never seen a more beautiful flag flying high as a symbol of freedom. It was like an island of democracy in the sea of communism. My only beef is it needs to be bigger!
Everything in China is built high with multiple stories in order to maximize space usage, since land is at a premium. The US Consulate stands on a small bit of land in the middle of the metro monstrosity a mere 3 stories high. It looks like David and Goliath. (However, we know who wins in that story!) We Americans like to march to our own drummer and our consulate stands firm. Small but mighty.
The lengthy line of people winding around the building told its own story of those who want just a temporary taste of what we Americans have come to take for granted. It reminded me that a great price has been paid by so many in the current and previous generations, for our family to have the ability to share our freedom with an innocent child.
Once again, our agency had worked ahead so that we moved straight to the front of the line (at our own entrance.) On this trip I finally got to be one of those people that always annoy me because they have some special inside connection that allows them to move to skip the line. (I have to admit it was nice!)
We went through security and up to the second floor where we were issued a number and waited for our turn. The paperwork was initiated for each family and then one member from each family was called to the main window at the same time where they took the oath as a group on behalf of their child. (I was a little bummed because it was over before I knew it was happening.)
Each family was then called again to the window where we received our packets. (The visas were not issued, but were in process to be received later in the week.) The process probably took a little over an hour. All the other families clapped and celebrated as each child received approval. (Citizenship isn’t actually official until they arrive in the USA.) We then headed back out and paused for a few brief photos in front of the flag. I have seen other families take pictures in front of the consulate sign, but that was impossible because the line was too long and flowed right in front of it.
We headed back to the hotel, and we told Mom since it was her birthday that we would do what she wanted in the afternoon. She and I shopped at some stores near our hotel (with Little Li) and hubby and Hulaloo swam at the pool.
We finished the evening off with dinner at the Four Season’s restaurant at the hotel. (Even lambie attended and had tea with us.) The night was topped off with a birthday cake delivered to our room which had been organized by our guide Jason. (Have I mentioned that Jason rocks?)
It was a day filled with so many special moments and memories. I will never forget it.
I hope someday our daughter will come to realize the great sacrifice of freedom that allowed her begin life anew with the privileges of freedom of speech and religion just to name a few.
Let freedom ring!