Preparing for a move like this, you hear lots of border horror stories.
I was locked in an interview room for hours while they questioned me about what I’d be doing in the USA
I got turned away when I tried to enter
It’s easy to get scared when you think of the potentially catastrophic wrench that could be thrown your way by getting denied entry. You’ve already left your job, lots of emotional energy has been committed to the idea of moving, not to mention the expenses involved.
Fortunately, my story turned out to be a pretty boringly successful one.
My brother drove me out to Pearson around noon on Saturday. After a moment printing out baggage tags at a kiosk, I entered the US immigration area at the airport, expecting to have to wait a fret just that much longer. Absolutely no one was in line ahead of me. I got to head straight up, where after presenting my prepared documents and answering one simple question about what I’d be doing during my TN status entry into the US, I was merrily on my way.
The airport security zone was next, and although it a little busier than immigration, was equally as problem free. There were about 10 people ahead of me, which went by quite quickly, and I was not selected for a random cavity search.
Now, what to do with those extra 3 hours I had left myself to content with the long lines and intense back-room TN entry interviews?
Hanging around in the departure lounge, a couple sat down next to me with some clever looking cat travel carriers. Considering I will very likely have to contend with traveling two cats in the near future, I asked them how their cats liked that style of carrier. As we chatted further, I discovered that I was speaking with the VP of Core OS at Apple (kind of a big deal). Later I learned that he was from Waterloo. At this point, the puzzle pieces fell together for me and I asked him if he lived on Euclid Ave, and prior to that, lived on Willow. He was amused. Clearly, I had pegged him correctly. He was none other than Sebastien Marineau, former VP of Software at BlackBerry — who used to live on my brother’s street, before he moved 4 doors down from my house on my street, before he took his new job at Apple and moved to California.
Small world. Came away with a cool new LinkedIn contact out of that exchange, though!
The flight was calm and uneventful. I had a chance to take in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and it’s perfect counter-point: Robocop (which was surprisingly good)
After a final goodbye chat with Sebastian and his interior-designer partner while waiting at the luggage carousel, my freshly scuffed up brand new luggage arrived – all present and accounted for.
My ride, complements of former Quarry co-op student Mike Jansen, was circling the pick-up area when I got out, so we quickly loaded up and were on the road to Palo Alto, where my temporary housing awaited.
Or so I hoped …
When we got to the unit, the lock box with the key in it wasn’t waiting for me as I was instructed. A couple calls to emergency phone contact numbers later, I was in a hotel room for the night because there were no office staff available at that hour to come let me in. She felt really bad for the inconvenience and even broke policy and covered my late dinner at the hotel along with the room. Not a bad deal, for only a minor little glitch in an otherwise really easy travel adventure.
The next morning, Mike came back to pick me up, we went back to the apartment, the lock box was waiting as expected, and the move was complete.