Keily, the Bookworm Part-11
Keily had ample time when she arrived at the American Embassy. She was an hour early. The security authorities let her in while her Mom waited outside a meter away.
Keily’s heart was beating very fast. She had never faced an embassy interview before. This was another new experience for Keily. Her time of the interview was 1:30 pm. The Consular Officer from the first window took her fingerprints. Keily already had submitted earlier the application processing fee, a copy of her passport and her application with a recent photo.
After the officer finished taking Keily’s fingerprints, she was asked to take a seat. Five minutes past 1.30 pm, Keily’s name was announced and she was asked to enter window 6.
Meanwhile outside of the American Embassy, Mom waited anxiously along with other parents whose children were inside the embassy also to give interviews.
Within half an hour, Keily’s interview was over. She wasn’t smiling when she came out. Mom knew something had gone wrong. After they were inside the car, Keily said her visa was refused. They weren't happy with her sponsor, in fact, her mother's financial records. That was understandable – where would Keily’s mother, being a housewife, get so much finance when Keily’s Dad had left them only two years ago? Keily had just joined her job a year ago and hadn’t accumulated a lot of money yet.
Friends suggested that Keily apply to the embassy a second time in the same session and show more finance by the early withdrawal of money from savings bonds and/or other invested bonds.
That would mean incurring money losses and spending another considerable amount of money for the processing of embassy application but friends said it was worth it.
So with a heavy heart and feeling distressed, Keily entered the American embassy again. She tried to smile at everyone, even at the Consular Officer inside window 5. She asked her a few questions. And guess what? Keily was handed in the token to get the visa the next day.
Keily seemed to be the happiest person on the planet. When she saw her Mom at a distance, she smiled broadly and waved her token so that Mom got her.
The next steps for Keily were to fix an apartment for herself on the UT-Austin campus and buy a one-way ticket through a travel agency.
Friends in UT-Austin suggested that it would be best for her to select a Colorado Apartment on the campus. So accordingly, she applied for it, and after she was approved of her desired apartment, she asked the housing department to give the keys of her apartment to one of her friends, Grace Imran by name. She would collect them the day before Keily would reach the UT-Austin campus.
Next, she went to a travel agency that friends recommended. She was going in the Spring semester and in December, when she was looking for moderately priced tickets, she couldn’t find one because it was all-peak hour time for everyone, students and adults alike who were returning to the US after the winter holidays.
Therefore, Keily decided to buy a ticket that would take her to London Heathrow Airport by British Airways and then to Austin by American Airlines through a stop at Dallas. She couldn’t have gone for a better bargain at this all-peak hour time. So Keily was happy with the available choice. She booked her flight and would come in a day or two to get the ticket.
Keily went shopping with Mom for buying suitcases and other necessary items of which she made a list. Keily felt exhausted. So Mom got her the rest of the items on the list.
She purchased the ticket. Her heart again felt heavy, this time at the thought of leaving home- Mom and Natalie. She hadn’t thought earlier she would ever feel homesick but as the time was approaching for her departure, it clearly showed- yes, she would miss her family.
She could come again in the winter or summer break. It wasn’t the end of the world. She reflected, “Yes, this is a part of life. But I will be united with my family again for sure.”
With a cheery smile on her face, she fell asleep. She had to finish her formalities back at the university. She was going on study leave. She had to confirm that and get a clearance from the university library, returning all the books she had borrowed so far.
When Keily reached the university the next day and completed all the last round of formalities, her students came looking for her. They said, “Mam, we know you are leaving. We wanted to talk about a few things in our course. Can we go to the lab upstairs?”
Keily was free now and said, “Yes, of course.” When she entered the lab, she was in for a surprise. Her students had decorated the lab with colored paper cuttings and balloons. The students asked her to sit beside her colleagues who were a part of the surprise.
Three students in a row gave varying speeches. A colleague gave a speech next. And then it was Keily’s turn to give an impromptu speech.
She said, “I am too astonished to say anything. The lab is decorated in such a lovely way. And I see a lot of preparations being taken for me to be given a farewell. Thank you, my dear students. Thank you so much.”
Then a student handed Keily a small bottle of concentrated perfume held in a small case. Another student gave her a farewell card, which was simply beautiful. A third student handed her a colorful carton paper with quotes and signatures from the students of the class. Lastly, she was given a basket carrying a bouquet of roses. Then there was a little party at the end with a chocolate cake, fast food and cold drinks.
Keily was touched, so very touched. The university held a lot of love for her- first her Dad, the classmates and now her students. Was she making the right decision leaving the university for study leave abroad? Then she remembered a line, “The first decision is always the best decision.”
She quickly recovered and bade her students and colleagues goodbye.
She had a day in between to pack up and then finally begin her adventurous journey out of her comfort zone for the sake of her higher studies.
Will Keily love her Marathon flight to UT-Austin?
Previous Related Article
Part-10 shows that Keily starts her teaching career at the university. She becomes popular for her crystal clear teaching. Meanwhile, she applies to the US for higher studies and is accepted finally to a university. She prepares to confront the interview at the American Embassy.
© 2020 Rosina S Khan