Day 14: Arrival!

Well, I guess you can’t expect a roadtrip of this magnitude to go off without any hitches. During the past couple of weeks, we’ve woken up to wet pillows/sleeping bags/tents multiple times, the lens popped out of my glasses as I was laughing at a funny email (no joke), an interior car panel unhinged itself (presumably from Sofie stepping all over it), our ketchup and mustard bottles were flooded with old cooler water, and a bottle of body wash exploded in my backpack.

On top of all that, we were nearly kept out of Canada as we were passing through the border today:

BORDER OFFICER: So, what are you coming to Canada for?
ME: I’m studying game design at the Vancouver Film School, so I’d like to apply for a student visa.
JOE: I’m assuming I can be under the same student visa?
BORDER OFFICER: Sure. Marriage license?
US: Oh… Oops… Didn’t know we needed that. We’ll have to get it from the car.

[We walk to the car, spirits still high, while security cameras pan toward us and the guard outside eyes us suspiciously.]

JOE: Do you know where it is?
ME: Yup, it’s in one of the large plastic boxes. [I beam at my supreme organization, immediately pulling out my iPhone to access the annotated lists of the contents of each box.]
JOE: Great, so it’s in the rooftop carrier. [JOE rummages around, trying to find the key for the rooftop carrier.]
ME: Oh yeah, I remember seeing that key…
JOE: Well, where is it?
ME: I think I put it in the glove compartment. [I dig out everything without finding the key.]
JOE: I swear I just put it right there.

[We both search frantically in every compartment we can think of, but to no avail.]

ME: Can’t you cut the rooftop carrier open? Or cut the lock?
JOE: Yeah, but not here. That wouldn’t look suspicious or anything. And plus, our stuff would fly out everywhere once we started driving again.
ME: Right.

[We walk back to the building dejectedly without the marriage license. Seeing us return empty-handed, the guard is even more suspicious.]

US: Nope, no luck.
BORDER OFFICER: Huh. Well, do you have anything to prove you’re married other than the rings you’re wearing?
ME: Hmm, I guess not. This probably looks pretty bad.

[Meanwhile, BORDER OFFICER #2 is digging through my folder of documents I’d left at the desk with our passports when we went out to search our car.]

BORDER OFFICER #2: They don’t seem to have much here. [She grimaces as she digs out my pension paperwork from my two years of teaching, which suggest that I’m nearly penniless.]
BORDER OFFICER: Do you have anything with both your names on it?
ME: Oh, we have copies of our bank statements. Shoot, but I didn’t print them all out. [I hand over the few sheets I did print out.]

[BORDER OFFICER scans them with furrowed brows, then passes them back.]

BORDER OFFICER: So it looks like you’ve paid some of your tuition. How are you going to pay for the rest?
ME: Oh, well actually, I just got a scholarship, so I was actually refunded the amount I’d already paid.
BORDER OFFICER: Do you have proof of the scholarship?
ME: Well, no, not really…

Somehow, in a moment of sheer mercy in the face of our disorganization and unpreparedness, the border officer let us pass. We tentatively made small talk as she completed the necessary paperwork for our visas and then stapled them into our passports.

Now it’s official – we’re Vancouverites!