I was an introvert, facing personal questions, with right and wrong answers. The right answers, keep the love of my life by my side. The wrong answers, well we just didn’t know.
This was the single most important thing, I have ever done in my life and I started, by messing up.
Nearly three years ago, Bello and I sat in an immigration office in New York City waiting for a Green Card interview. We were fully prepared but both shaking in our boots.
A great lawyer helped us with our Green Card paperwork and immigration interview preparation. We had done endless research on Green Card interview tips. Dinner, was a How-To prepare for a Green Card interview 101. Mornings in bed, we ran over Green Card interview questions. We went through it all for months.
Everything done by the book. We had no reason to worry. We were ready.
But I was nervous.
Having been told, “they will start with question directed to Paolo as he is applying for citizenship” brought me calm. I’ll have a second to calm my nerves, try to control my hives.
The first question, was directed at me. “So when did you two meet?”
Easy one right?
I had never been so nervous in my entire life. You could have asked me my name and I would have doubted my answer.
I got the month right but the year wrong.
I KNOW! My brain does NOT do linear. I was nervous! He started with me, why?!
Bello tensed, I felt it. Bello knows I can’t remember our anniversary year, he thinks it’s cute. My brain does not do linear. Still, he knew better than to answer for me or correct me.
We had been warned, “NEVER answer questions for each other. It looks bad.”
I saw the immigration officers brow twitch and I correct myself. “2011. We met in 2011, sorry, I’m nervous.” I went on to over-explain how and where we met, how I made the first move. How grateful I felt when Bello returned my advances because I thought he was out of my league.
Thankfully, the next question went to Bello, who thinks more linearly than I do. From there, things went smoothly.
We handed over way more than the Immigration Officer wanted. A few pictures? We had dozens. Pictures with both of our sets of Parents together for the holidays, our wedding where everyone was all smiles. Full of love and support for us.
A real couple, formed through love, we have nothing to hide.
We passed the interview. It’s kind of hard to be in the same room with us and not know we are in love. Even when nervous beyond reason.
That day, we didn’t know it. That we had passed. We just felt things went well. The Immigration Officer was smiling, almost laughing a bit at my nerves.
We think he knew, we would never, ever be separated.
Tomorrow: Let the Path to Dual Citizenship Begin… this American is working on her Italian Citizenship now.