The Doors to Narnia… Not Really

If you flown to the States through Pearson, then you know that the US customs at Pearson have two levels.

The first level is your typical customs stand.  Show your passport, state your reason, and off you go.

The second level is where you do the first level but it goes something like show your passport, state your reason, reason isn’t good enough, go to the scary looking door.

When I made my way over to the States through Pearson I ended up in the second level security of US customs.  Why?  Because that’s what you get when you don’t have all the documents you need to get your “already approved but missing one official document” visa and you have a two month period between your departure and return flight to Canada.  In essence, I look sketchy.

I don’t do well in interrogations.  I get nervous and flustered.  In the second room, my first conversation went something like this…

Border officer man says

“How old are you?”

I respond


He profiles me up and down.

“Are you really?

Maybe wearing jeans, carrying a backpack and being makeup free doesn’t work for trying to convince someone I’m not 16 and running away from home.

“Why are you going to the states without a visa”

“I do have my visa but I don’t have the last document so I was just going to go work there for two months… maybe try and see… erhm”

“Um ya that’s not how the process works.  Take a seat”

He takes my passport and information away and I go sit and wait with the rest of second level individuals.

20 minutes into my wait, I was really nervous and really really needed to use the washroom but I didn’t want to miss my turn in line.  So I stayed seated and waited some more.  40 minutes into my wait, I was still nervous, still needed to use the washroom, and now I’m thirsty on top of it all… I think I’ve seen this tactic work on Law & Order and Cold Case.

55 minutes in, I gave up and asked if I could use the washroom.  Looking like you’re a child and asking to use the washroom at a second level security section of customs pretty much makes it look like a 3 year old asking to use the potty after the parents bundled them up in layers of clothes before going on a sleigh ride.

The restroom was quite a process on their end to let me in.  I got out of there as soon as I could.

So now I’m just nervous and thirsty.  Finally 40 minutes before my flight takes off to San Francisco minus me, I get called up.  I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing.

When I go see the officer, he goes through my files… barely says a word to me and then turns and says

Let’s see if we can get this visa to you right now

Seriously?  Seriously???  You made me sweat for over an hour and a half just for me to hear that.  When I finally got my visa in hand and ready to go, I was giddy and had only 30 minutes left to catch my flight and still needed to go through security screening.

I kept thinking throughout the security screening

“This would really suck if I got my visa after all that and then missed my flight.  I wonder if the girls would pick me up and drive me again next weekend?”

Well obviously I am here in SF and somehow made it through.  Look out for a future blog post on what happens when I try to get a Social Security Number.

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