The week of our appointment I took personal days so that I could go to Montreal to be at the meeting. It was also the day after Valentine's Day, which was exciting for me because I had spent every Valentine's Day since we had begun dating with M. The plan was that I would fly on the evening of the 14th, a Wednesday, take Thursday and Friday off and fly back Sunday for work on Monday.
I knew with the expedited removal that we would not be approved same day but somehow I fooled myself into hoping that some kind of miracle would happen and they would realize just how pathetically stupid the whole thing was and just give him the visa. I wished for this, but prepared a waiver package to deal with reality.
With an expedited removal, a visa applicant has to file for a waiver called "Permission to Reapply after Deportation or Removal." It is filed on form I-212, and required a package of reasons that the waiver should be approved. I had consulted with attorneys and researched things and was also fairly certain that they were going to try to force us to file a hardship waiver too, this is usually for people with other inadmissibilities like Misrepresentation--lying to officials or on visa applications, or most often overstays with or without a visa. M did not legally need one of these, but based on my conversations with attorneys it was likely they would try to force us to file one. I had an envelope two inches thick to take with me to the appointment. I had also packaged up ticket stubs, copies of my passport stamps and pictures going back three years to show to the consular officer.
The night before I was to fly, a very rare noreaster hit my city and the entire east coast. It followed its way northward towards Canada and all the way up Interstate 95, my route to M. All flights were canceled ahead of time up to an hour before my flight was to take off. I was frantic. School was canceled for the day, so I had plenty of time to panic. I was certain my flight would not take off, and that I would wait there all day and it would be too late to drive the 12 hours to M's appointment. It had become obvious over the days just before the appointment that M was not going to the appointment by himself. Days before the appointment he started having flashbacks to our detention at the border and I knew that if I did not go, he would stay as far away from the U.S. Consulate as possible.
I started driving in the morning in a manual transmission, 2001 Mercury Cougar. My father felt that this was the least intelligent part of my plan. Not only was there snow, a lot of snow, but once you get into northern New York it is entirely mountainous. There was no way I wasn't going, I couldn't rent a car (internationally) on such short notice and so he and my mother stalled me as much as possible and eventually just reconciled themselves to the fact that their daughter was a dedicated moron and let me begin my trip.
The first miles were not the problem, but about 7:00pm when I was deep into New York state, the snow started coming down so heavily that I could not see ahead of me. The roads were entirely white and it was obvious that they were no longer even attempting to clear the roads. Around me were tractor trailer trucks and four-wheel drives. Apparently, no one else thought it a good idea to take a manual transmission, low driving car into a blizzard.