Friday, 16 September 2011

Interview preparation

The documents have been prepared. For weeks (read: months). The file has been checked, re-checked and checked again at least three times a week since the documents have been prepared. It is now one week until the interview. Oh. Dear. God. I'm not too nervous, I don't think, but as per a couple of chats I've had with the lovely Shermeen via her emigration blog (Sherms in the Middle), I don't want to count my chickens. I know that, by the time you get to this stage, the interview is mainly a formality and that it is rare to be turned down unless something is seriously wrong. I am also aware that the K-1 visa specifically is known for its high success rate (according to the stats from USDoS, 95% of K-1 visas were approved in 2009). So, I am not absolutely bricking it. But I am a little... apprehensive. The US Embassy is an imposing building; the process of the interview, while known in theory from their website and anecdotal accounts from online friends, is an unknown; and the outcome of the interview determines whether or not our dreams can come true.

And then there's the outfit. is a favourite online store of mine that I have used for years, but recently have not been buying from (for obvious reasons!). So, I recently received an email from them to that effect, offering a 20% discount to entice me out of my clothes-buying abstinence. It worked. I bought the following two dresses as possible interview outfits:

Neither has arrived yet (I expect them tomorrow or Monday) and I am going to have to make a choice and send one back, both because I need to not spend too much money and because of the "must not buy new things as I will have to ship them" logic. At the moment I am leaning towards the second dress, because of colour and style. It's a good length, especially when teamed with some more formal shoes and a smart coat, and the neckline is high, which makes me feel less concerned about flashing the consular officer some cleavage! The advice I've read about how to dress for the interview is to look smart, but not too formal, and to make sure you don't overdo the USA patriotism (one website even advises against wearing US flag ties/socks etc. - do people actually do that?!). From reading some posts about outfit choice in ex-pat forums, a lot of people seem to go for dress/formal trousers and a shirt, but as the advice is to dress smartly but in a way that makes you comfortable, I am pretty sure I would feel too over-dressed or not like me, and that wouldn't help me to feel confident. I really love wearing dresses, so it makes sense to me to choose something like the above. We shall see when I get them though - I might not suit either, so then it'll be back to the drawing board!

All of this "almost there" stuff is making me very tired, and not because I am so busy so much as I'm just not finding it easy to allow myself to sleep. I think it's a combination of the feeling of time slipping away ridiculously fast now (it's 25 days until I leave - that's just over three weeks!) and so sleeping seems like allowing it to happen even faster. Add to that the fact that, when I do try to sleep, I either get so anxious my heart starts seemingly missing beats, or I have such horrid dreams that I wake up feeling upset and worried. Last night I dreamt about two people close to me dying, and - in the same dream - that I was being chased by a gang of kids through a river (yes, a river). This seems to be the general theme: people leaving me (which I guess has pretty obvious latent content) and me being in danger (what the manifest content here means, though, I'm not sure). Being a bit of a cynic when it comes to Freudian, psychodynamic interpretations of dreams (preferring neuropsychological explanations), I am putting this all down to basic anxiety: the psychosomatic tachycardia and the concern about being alone, scared or even not around if bad things happen to people I love are clearly linked to it being so nearly time for me to leave. It doesn't seem like there is much I can do about it, though: not sleeping will not do me any good, as it makes me so lazy during the day (not to mention more emotional and ratty), and I think I just have to suck it up when it comes to bad dreams. I have a feeling that the busy weekend coming up will help and, if not, then at least I'll probably sleep well once I get to the States!

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