The Interview

15 01 2009

“Why New Zealand?”
I found myself sitting opposite a young New Zealand immigration officer in a sparsely furnished hotel room. It was raining lightly outside, and she smiled deceptively as she finished her first question, while the rain tapped softly on the window.

Not the type of personnel I had expected the New Zealand Immigration Services to unleash for this type of work. Where was the gruff case officer with the suspicious stare, and deep husky voice? Maybe it’s a ruse.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak.

Half an hour later and it was all over. The only aftermath of an interview well-done was the obligatory and much needed milkshake to restore blood sugar levels and regulate the heart beat.
A week later, I found myself holding a permanent residence visa, while slipping in and out of consciousness and muttering what friends later said sounded vaguely like “double thick”.

And so it was, that after a year of applications, correspondence, fees and waiting, I had in my possession the most expensive and most innocuous looking blue sticker I had ever owned. It looked harmless enough, smiling up at me from its home in my passport. Pastel colors, a shiny bit here and there and a soothing fern motif on the side. Yeah I can do this I thought. No sweat. Besides, I like ferns.
But I knew inside that this was one piece of botany that would change my life forever.

Now, with only 40 days to go, it seems like a lifetime ago that I sat in that chair, trying to convince a New Zealander that their country is paradise; preaching to the converted – my mind racing and my heart beating, while the rain tapped softly on the window.