Today we went into London to go to the US Embassy. Asher isn't officially a US citizen until we go and do a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad"... which basically means we fill in all these forms that say, "Hey, we're American y'all!" And then they say, "Oh, ok, well then your kid is American too." How exciting! It's a big day for Asher. Not only is he getting a Social Security number and a passport and citizenship and all that; it's also his very fist trip on a train! I'm pretty sure I know which one he was more excited about. We were sad that we couldn't take any pictures of his first train ride, but they don't allow phones or cameras or any electronics into the embassy, so we left our phones in Cambridge and hopped on the 7:15 morning train to Kings Cross.
Yikes it was early... Asher had woken up at 2, 3, and 5:30am, so by that time we just gave up and got up to get us ready to leave in time to catch the train. The commuters were out in full force, and the train was packed with people on their way to work... they were all dressed business savvy with their ipods and macbooks, or their fancy spreadsheets with lots of numbers... and everyone pretty much keeps to themselves and is very quiet. And here we come getting onto the train with a whole ton of baby stuff, barely dressed and hoping that our baby wouldn't scream the whole way to London. We were pretty apprehensive about the day, because Asher hasn't been sleeping well anywhere else but home, and no sleep equals upset baby.
We should've known not to underestimate him... he was a perfect angel on the train. We navigated the London Underground with a little difficulty; strollers are not made for the Tube :). Finally, we made it to the embassy.
It was technically our first trip back to American soil in almost a year... there was a HUGE American flag waving over the top of the building and an equally giant gold eagle perched on the edge of the building. There was even an Oklahoma flag waving in the lineup :). All of it was enough to make the patriotism well up in us and we both spontaneously started singing, "You're a grand ole flag, you're a high flyin' flag, da-da-da da-da-da da-da-da..." We sang until we got into line and then is was better just to whistle rather than be the guy outside the embassy singing like a dorkus.
Security was pretty tight... the guys with guns were big, and their guns were big too, and the sight of the baby didn't seem to soften them up at all. In any case, we got in no problem... except for the part where they told us we needed to "test" the water in the baby bottle to prove it was water. Candice understood and took out the baby bottle; I thought he meant to test all the water, so I picked up our water bottle. Then we both started to take the lids off and he said, with a little shaking motion of his hand, "No, no, just put a little on your wrist and taste it." He was telling Candice that she could just shake the baby bottle instead of removing the lid... I thought he was talking to both of us, so I shrugged, and was like, "Well if you say so man." So I popped the cap off the 'sport lid' and shook it onto my wrist... of course, a TON of water came out and went all over the floor, then I tasted it off my wrist and thought to myself, "Well we all knew THAT was gonna happen, but I guess you gotta do what the security guy tells you, right?" The looks on the face of my wife and the security guard were enough to tell me I wasn't supposed to do that. Oh well, I was just following orders :).
So, when we finally got inside we were relieved to see that it was only 9:15 and our "appointment" was at 9:30. What a crock! They tell you that you've made an "appointment" to fool you into thinking you're actually going to see someone at 9:30 who is going to deal with your application. Wrong. You go into this room with about a hundred other people, most of whom are there with their tiny babies trying to do the same thing you are. On one side of the room there's a long row of "bank teller" windows and they just give you a number and tell you to wait. Basically, they don't care what your "appointment" time was, they'll just call your number after they finish with the other hundred people in the room with screaming babies. All in all, we were there for just under two hours, during which time we made several trips to different windows to drop off the applications, pay, answer questions, and then swear an oath. The oath part was pretty cool, but I thought they were going to make Asher swear an oath too, since, after all, HE was the one becoming the citizen. He didn't seem to care, though... in fact, he didn't seem to mind the room full of screaming babies either, because was a perfect angel (again) and slept in the carrier with me while I walked around judging all the other parents :).
When we left, I bid farewell to the big guys with guns and saluted the red, white, and blue. We were exhausted and went home straightaway… we all settle in for a nap, and Asher took the longest nap of his life. Mission accomplished. Now we can bring Asher into the United States… getting him back into the UK is another story altogether, one that we haven’t figured out quite yet :).