|This morning after breakfast Mark went to the Holt office to attend the exit meeting. We discussed airport logistics, went over the paperwork, and verified our travel arrangements. We also found out that we needed to have our bags packed and outside our doors by 5:00am on Thursday. This did not make us too happy since we knew that we would have a long flight afterwards.
For lunch, we ate as a group at a local Vietnamese restaurant down the street. The food was quite impressive. The presentation of the food was incredible and the taste was equally good. The babies seemed to enjoy themselves, especially when the steamed eggs arrived.
At 3:30pm we had our appointment with the American Consulate and because of security reasons, we were not allowed to bring cameras, backpacks, or any sharp instruments with us. In order to enter, we had to pass through a metal detector and also a heat sensor which alerts the guard if you have a fever. This precaution is obviously the result of the recent SARS epidemic. We noticed the same apparatus being used in the airports as well.
The small room, to which we were directed, had about 50 seats available, but contained about 100 people. We all gathered in line to walk up to a window teller to say that we were there, and then sat back down. Nearly 30 minutes later an official from the Consulate came out, gave us a brief pep talk, made us raise our right hand, and repeat an oath. He then said "Congratulations", meaning we are home free because our yearlong paper chase can now be considered complete. Tamlyn is free to enter the United States.
After the oath taking, we all met on the second floor of the White Swan to the famous Red Couch area. Here we tried to assemble all the babies on a Red Couch and get them to look at the camera all at the same time. Needless to say, it is nearly impossible, but it is rather fun trying. Cheerios were flying and babies were crying, but many photos were taken.
While everybody was struggling with the babies on the couch, we talked to the Holt staff and they assured us that they were researching the apparent mix-up with Tamlyn's passport picture. They felt confident we wouldn't have a problem leaving the country, but they would look into it just the same.
That night we and another family decided to have pizza delivered from Danny's Bagel. The pizza came on time, but we could not find a place to eat it, so we decided to have a picnic in the hallway. That went fine, until we were politely asked to move our party elsewhere. It was time for bed anyways.