So it’s 11:52 PM at the time of writing this sentence while tropical storm Matthew is doing it’s thing. A few years ago my life changed because of a similar storm which turned to a hurricane overnight. It was called Hurricane Tomas— you could read more about how this changed my life on this article I wrote for HeroPress here. Needless to say I don’t want to experience that again.
The last few weeks have been interesting, on the 21st was my first ever time leaving my lovely island. I went to neighboring island Barbados for 2 days, not for leisure or anything like that but in attempt of being issued a United States Visa. The whole thing started with me booking an appartment on booking.com to stay at for the night before my interview, I purposely went one day earlier because of bad reviews i’d seen all around social media and news websites about the inter-regional airline LIAT. I didn’t want to take any chances and be late for my interview.
The afternoon of my flight I was sort of nervous; not sure what to expect, I was also pretty hungry so bought myself some grub with my remaining unconverted XCD ( Eastern Caribbean Dollar ) before the flight.
I arrived in Barbados roughly after 9 p.m and within a few minutes I had already began having trouble understanding the Barbadian ( Bajan ) accent. It’s not like I’ve never heard it before, I have an uncle who lives there and he has that accent and I understand him fine, but I guess it’s just the fact that people are different. I took a taxi from the airport to the apartment I had booked and I think I only picked up 3/4 of what the driver was saying during the drive, there were a few “what?” moments during my entire time spent there.
The morning of my interview I got up bright and early, packed my bags since my return flight was later that afternoon and headed to my interview. The setting at the US embassy in Barbados is a really bad one in my honest opinion. I’ve never been to another Visa issuing embassy but gosh I could have heard the interviewers rejecting and approving applicants— this did not help with my confidence though I had quiteeee a bit of supporting documents which would help me get approved.
Finally my turn came up and I carefully walked over to the area where my interviewer sat behind a glass barrier similar to how tellers in a bank are set up. I really wish I could have remembered clearly how the questions were phrased but I do know that it was not more than five questions:
What is your purpose for visiting the United states?
Answer: I’m attending the annual WordPress WordCamp US.
What type of work do you do?
Answer: I‘m a self employed Software Developer ( showed my registered business certificate issued from my island and also some invoices. He asked me how long had I owned the business and I told him 1 year but only recently made it official with the Government ).
How long have you been doing this?
Answer: I started at college where I did the Software path in my Computer Systems Engineering degree, then did 1 year working as a IT technician then another year as an Applications Developer.
Do you own a home in St. Lucia?
Answer: No, I rent an apartment.
Do you have enough funds to support your stay?
Answer: I showed a savings statement issued by my Credit Union.
My answers were short and I tried not to stray away from what was asked. When I presented my registered business certificate I was sure to have a certificate of character also clipped to it, I honestly don’t think he paid attention to the certificate of character. I had many more supporting documents but without going through even half of them I was told that my Visa was approved. I happily took my pink slip and left the embassy to immediately mail in my passport, then headed back to the airport where I would wait for my flight back to St. Lucia. I traveled back using just my ID card.
So that’s that, I will be attending WordCamp US in December if God spares life. About the launching of the website I mentioned in the last post, unfortunately the client postponed to late October, I’m not entirely sure why he postponed but I’m sure he has good reason. I’m still looking forward to it though. I’m also looking forward to WordCamp US because I know I will be meeting some of the guys from ThemeIsle for the first time and of course a lot of active people in the WordPress community, I wonder how many Caribbean Developers might be there, if any at all.
It’s now 2:46 AM…took me a while to write this post, but I was distracted. The storm seems to have now calmed down in my area and I hope it stays like that. I see reports on Facebook about a boy who’s lost his life in St. Vincent due to getting hit by a boulder 🙁 I’m going to end the post here.
Till next time.