(Kind of sounds like the title of an impressive Thriller, doesn’t it? …I just checked. There’s at least four movies with that title.)
So, how did it go? Hur gick det? After staying up all night stressing, going over my notes three times, asking Johan random questions about himself, leaving myself just five hours sleep, and waking up after four, did I walk into the interview, introducing myself in perfectly pronounced Swedish? Um, no. It was more like… “Hi. Please take a seat.”
First thing I noticed, there was no glass barrier separating me and the interviewer. I didn’t think there would be, but apparently in happens in the movies, and I’d read about people interviewed in the US and Thailand that had a barrier, so I felt instantly more relieved comfortable. I wasn’t a prisoner. We were just going to have a nice little chat.
The Consulate’s name is Helena, and she was a lovely lady who was very easy to talk to. Above her desk is a plaque: SVERIGES KONSULAT. This is real, I thought, this is happening. First things first, I paid an interview fee of $50 (which varies depending on your type of application) and she took photocopies of my passport and the official letter I had to say I wasn’t married. I was asked to bring both of these over the phone, and in fact, they were the only documents I was asked to bring. That didn’t stop me printing off all the evidence Johan had uploaded to our application last week – our chat logs, photos, letters, etc, but I asked and she said it wasn’t needed, because he was asked for them at his end, not me, and obviously it’s all already been uploaded, but I thought it better to bring it all just in case.
So straight into the questions then. She sits at a computer typing up all of my responses and admitted straight up that she wasn’t a fast typist, which was a little painful to watch for someone that does 100wpm, watching her two-finger type, but she printed off the questions for me which allowed me to scan them and think about my answers while I waited.
I had been googling for sample questions, and found people had been asked about which schools they and their partner attended and subjects studied; their partner’s favourite colour; both family’s occupations; how they’d cope with the climate change; why they loved their partner; even their parents type of car. I spent a week trying to consider how to put into words exactly why I loved Johan so much, and I wasn’t asked! In fact, the only one of those questions asked was about both our schools. I was glad I quizzed Johan on his schools as he’s been to half a dozen over his time, but I had no hope of remembering them all and I wrote them down which the Consulate accepted, agreeing that it was ridiculous they asked for this and that she had a hard time remembering the schools her partner went to!
Apart from this, all the questions were pretty straight forward and very basic. Like, simplified versions of the ones that were asked in the initial application, simply to check that all the answers match up, I guess. Why do you want to move to Sweden? To be with my partner. Names of all family members, and whether they’ve met with the applicant/partner . Not the occupations I had prepared to explain. What are your plans for the future and a family? Have you got work lined up in Sweden? Again, she was very understanding that it’s almost impossible to look for work and say “I might be there next month! Or I might be there in 8!” and that we didn’t know where we would live depending on where Johan found work. How did you begin communicating? How often do you keep in contact? How did you meet him? What interests do you share with him? All those types of original questions that were on your application the first time, but the much shortened version as she had to type it all up.
In the end, I was with her for almost an hour exactly, although it felt like longer. Would’ve been shorter if I was typing! 😛 She printed off my responses, I checked over them to make sure it was all correct, signed, and was free to go. I tried to enquire about how long it would take, but her guess was as good as ours, and we’re not to expecting anything more for several more months still. So we can relax. Sort of. Because that interview did not refine my confidence in our application. I had so much more I wanted to say, for instance about my Swedish learning, and I barely mentioned all we had got up to on our second holiday, just that I had been to Sweden twice, took my Mum along and saw his family and went to his place in Haparanda. There was so much I left out, but then again, the questions didn’t really ask for it, and I felt it maybe best to stick straight to the point as much as I wanted to overload her with information, but I feared her fingers wouldn’t hold up to the keyboard! She was alone in the office and already had four phone calls including one as I was walking out the door, so yes. I felt disappointed in that I could’ve said so much more, but I will just have to trust that all of that extra information is in both mine and Johan’s written responses to the application questions, and in the uploaded evidence.
And now we wait some more…