45. At Last I’ve Been Dealt the Perfect Hand – Thursday

January 1959

Thursday morning.  I got dressed with a little more spring in my step, enjoyed my breakfast and made sure to grab that bag with those documents before heading out the door.

I looked one more time into the bag, making sure I had also put the $10 American cash (which I had saved from previous American encounters) and my British passport.  I did.

I went directly to my job.  I worked for an hour and a half and then, it was tea time!  Taking advantage of this leisurely break I excused myself and went straight to the U.S. Consulate’s office.  

Theresa was there at her desk and she greeted me with an adorable smile,  “Nice to see you again.”  I put my bag upon the counter, removing all the papers and such, placing them there.

She just looked at me.  She didn’t touch them.  I’m looking at her, she’s looking at me, still Theresa is not touching them.  

“You know what?”  she asked.  ‘What?’ I replied.  I waited for her to say something else.  I am smiling and I don’t know why.  The suspense was a bubble just waiting to burst.

She finally spoke, “I am dreaming. I don’t believe it.”  Theresa tapped the papers.

‘Did I do something wrong?’  I asked her.  “There’s no way possible!”  she said.  

“I’ve never witnessed anything like this since I’ve worked with the Consulate’s office.”  Now she’s beginning to flip through the papers.  Seems to have met her approval.   

“You know Mr Masala, I have worked with this office, first in Noumea and now Suva, and I have never had a case like this where the paperwork was completed so rapidly.  Usually it’s 3-4 weeks and sometimes more!”  

Making a neat pile of it all, she took from me my passport, the American cash for the processing fee and all the paperwork back into the other office; the Office of the Consulate General.

About 10 minutes later she returned.  “Okay that’s it!  You have an appointment tomorrow morning at 10am sharp to take your oath!”  Theresa seemed excited for me, well it certainly sounded like that.  “Then you can collect your visa.”

Theresa sent me on my way with, “Such determination and great follow through Mr. Masala.  Good day!”

I could feel it, I was ready to fly!

Now I returned to work and stayed put for the rest of my shift.  But not before giving Jules another great big hug.  “Nand, come back soon and take me with you!” she told me as she hugged me back.

Passing on the celebratory cold Guinness temptation, I needed to get home right away this evening.  I was even more determined to relish in my family time.  

No developments or questions.  It was to be like any other evening at home.  I wasn’t expecting to see Noori until the weekend as that has been the normal.

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45. At Last I’ve Been Dealt the Perfect Hand – Wednesday

January 1959

Rise and shine to Wednesday morning and half-way there!  I went to work.  I had a few words with one of the front-line girls, Jules.  We got on real good, always a smile for one another, great for a successful working environment.  Okay, I would’ve dated her if it were possible.

Actually every last one of us at this jeweler shop got on perfectly, including the boss man.  I thought to myself that I would be blessed indeed to have such a wonderful working environment again, wherever I ended up.

I lowered my voice as I spoke to her, ‘Please don’t speak of this to anyone, not yet.’  She promised she wouldn’t.  I asked her what she thought.  Did she have any ideas as to what I could do to get the final document; promise of accommodation?  

Honestly I hadn’t a clue (and believe it or not, neither a connection) what I should do with this one.  After only a few brief moments of thought she smiled at me and said, “Don’t worry Nand,” that’s what she called me, “I’ve got a brilliant idea!”  

Bless her angel heart, Jules went on her lunch break that very afternoon to the church of the Bahá’í Faith and returned with an official (yes, on their letterhead) letter stating my name as a member who was migrating to the United States.  What an unexpected surprise!

To Whom it May Concern …. Mr. Masala is a member in good standing … please accommodate him with a place to stay and help him all you can until he can get on his feet …”

I hugged her so tightly, I just couldn’t help myself!  ☺️ I’m suspecting she’s not minding.

Was all of this supposed to happen or what?!  Else all of these elements couldn’t have fallen so easily into place, right?  It was like magic, I just couldn’t believe every piece was coming so freely into my hand.

I went straight home again, no Guinness stop after work.  It was a wonderful evening as was most always the scene.  A perfect dinner, everyone talking along with the laughter and fun with the children.  

Then at one point my brother mentioned casually, “For a week I’ve been noticing that you’ve been slipping in and out of work, taking some extra time away.  Curious, what are you up to?”  

I responded, ‘Nothing in particular, just some personal stuff I had to take care of and some people to see.’  He acknowledged the answer with a slight smile, the kind that comes from a twinkle in the eye.  My brother was smarter than I knew at that time.  

This reply was good enough because everyone knew I had legal matters to tend to every now and again so what I was doing really didn’t raise any flags.

Later that night after everyone had gone off to their rooms, I made certain all of the paperwork was complete.  No blanks on any of the official documents and triple-checking to be sure I had all the items called for.  

I then placed all of that into a nice bag which I had previously purchased for such safe keeping purpose.

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With such great conviction, I just knew it was my destiny to live in these beautiful United States of America.

45. At Last I’ve Been Dealt the Perfect Hand – Tuesday

January 1959

Tuesday morning instead of going straight into work, I detoured to the hospital.  Today I hadn’t made the arrangement to be late to work, I just took a chance, optimistic in my near future plans.  

At this hospital there was a young man I knew who worked there.  This X Ray technician was still burning a candle for one of my cousins.  In the not-so-distant past, I had played courier pigeon for the two of them so he was only too happy to return a favor!  

I found him and briefly explained what I was up to.  He shared a broad smile with me, “I know exactly what you need.”  In five minutes he had me back in the X Ray room and he clicked off precisely what was needed.  

“Come back anytime after two this afternoon and your picture will be ready to pick-up.  Best of luck and don’t forget your mates back here on this little island!”

That was easy.  I felt confident enough now that I wanted to just propel forward; so no, not to work yet.  Next I went to the Suva police station to try and obtain the required ‘good character’ report.

I quickly found a cousin of mine -yes it’s true- who worked there.  Again briefly, I explained my intentions and handed the paperwork from the consulate’s office to him.  “I know what’s needed here for you, I’ll get it done.  Give me an hour and come back for it.”

Now that the police document and the X ray was tended to, I went over to my brother-in-law’s garage to get the document of financial promise.  While I waited there in the office, the letter was drafted and I obtained it quickly.  

Guess I’d better go to work?

And so I did.  No one said anything to me about my late arrival.  My brother is watching me though but I didn’t think anything of it, save he was just being my watchful brother.  

At lunchtime I went back to the police station and picked up my letter.  I then caught the bus to the hospital to collect my X Ray and returned to work.  

That evening I went straight home, it had been a very active day.  Still I have told nobody in my immediate family about my plans.  Thankfully I now have 3 of the 4 required items to go along with my already filled out application.

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