Had a little visa snafu this week, but thanks to a senior immigration officer who, in my hour of sitting next to his desk I learned really likes the Sacred Heart of Jesus posters and is also a big fan of Lil’ Kim and Fat Joe (we listened to We Thuggin’ a few times) – my crisis was averted.

The process ranks high on my bizarre experiences list, from the way my friend the immigration officer seemed delighted to see me, but less delighted to serve my fellow immigrants, to the water bottle full of what smelled like turpentine that he keeps on his desk for you to wash off the ink after your cop-style fingerprinting session, to the knowledge that all of this was taking place in a fading yellow circa-1980’s style building where the government once tortured political dissidents

But all in all the whole thing took less than an hour and a half, which is really like 1.7 seconds in the world of bureaucratic slog.  So now I can say… Extended visa? Check.  Registered alien? Check!