Sunday, September 11, 2005

A conversation at the immigration desk

When you enter one country, whom do you speak for the first time? In most cases, it is the immigration officer, right? Sometimes I get some real conversations with these officers, sometimes not. Some immigration officers can have a really good sense of humor. Guess that makes them survived.

The 8th time entering United States, I passed through Cincinnati, Ohio. The airport wasn't as busy as DC, New York or LA. The queueing line wasn't not bad at all. One security guard, who stood in front of the immigration desks, shouted that we had to run as soon as there was an empty desk. He counted, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, you failed!" or "1, 2, 3, 4, 5... yeah, touch down!... you got it!". It was fun, people laughed.

After waiting for about 10 minutes, it was my turn. Desk 3, it was a lady officer. She asked, "What visa? Oh J-1! Show me your documents." Then she asked some questions: "What are you doing in US? What kind of research?". Things went ok. She treated me nicely. I got my index fingers and eyes scanned. Then she looked again carefully at my DS-2019 form, her expression was changed and suddenly I had this conversation....

The Officer (TO): USC?!?!? (nasty face)
Me: Yes.
TO: Don't you know it's a really bad university?
Me (shocked, 5 seconds of silenzio)
Me (quickly answered): Oh really? Too late, I should have known it earlier!
TO (looked at me with a cold face for 4-5 seconds)
TO (changed her expression, she laughed)
TO: Haha.. I'm from UCLA. You know we hate each other!
Me: Hehehe.
TO: Ugh.... USC.... downtown...
Me: Yeah, I'll be trapped there...
TO: USC, University of Sport Center! (laughed again)
Me: hehehe...
TO: Well, OK, good luck with USC and everything! (smiled)
Me: Thanks a lot!

Wheeeeeew.... what a conversation to have at the immigration desk!
Of course we all know that for Americans (mostly), cross-town universities usually treat each other as a real rival. Big competition! I know USC and UCLA are in real rivalry, but didn't expect to have such conversation at the airport! Funny... hehe.


ime' said...

=))=))=)) kocak abiiiissssss =))=))=)) jail juga tuh orang. antara ngejek, ato ngerjain teteh tuuuhhhh =)) but, that's a good experience though ;))

merlyna lim said...

hehehe.... iya, iseng, lucu, & ngerjain amat... yes, indeed it's a good experience.

Rani said...

so funny to see the human side of immigration officer. i think what you experienced can only happen everywhere else BUT singapore. entering singapore, you are greeted by immigration officers 'robots', procedural and without their own opinions.

merlyna lim said...

agree, ran. jangankan petugas imigrasi, yg jaga counter dagangan di singapore aja jarang yg bisa becanda. robot semua isinya.