So here’s the set up. After my last exam, I was planning on celebrating the end of my university career with a month-long vacation where I helped this family (that I found on the internet) build a house in England in exchange for food and housing. That was the plan. Here’s what really happened.
After a long flight from Montreal to Gatwick, I got to the border control booth, ready to start my celebratory vacation. The lady asked me the typical questions, why are you coming here, how long do you intend on staying, who are you coming to see, etc. I gave her honest answers; as anyone who knows me will know, the Man (and any figure of authority) scares me. After an uncomfortably long interrogation period at her little booth, the lady asked me to have a seat in a little area with four or five Africans. My first thought is: “Typical, then Man is cracking down on the black man.” After about five minutes waiting in this area, the lady came back and escorted me to go grab my luggage. This is when I figured out my trip wasn’t going to go quite as smoothly as I had hoped. Once I picked up my bag, the lady brought me through some pretty official looking doors into an area with 5 or 6 immigration officers lounging about. I dropped my bags off in a safe, and got searched. I’ve got searched so many times over the trip that if I had any sort of cancerous growth it would have been detected. At least that’s positive. So the lady brought me to this other room where I’m told they want to take my fingerprints. I am not digging this one bit. So they take my fingerprints into this CSI-style machine and they usher me into a detainment room. This place is pretty intense. After a walk around, I determine that they’re not kidding around. Everything is bolted down, the washrooms (men and ladies) have no locks on the doors and there are no mirrors. So here I am, in a room about 15 meters long and 4 wide with a couple other detainees. I soon came to learn their stories. But that’s for another post. So my new friends and I are sitting in this room, complaining about how cold it is since the heating is hardwired to the central controls, talking about why we’re here and generally hating pretty hard on the English. The guards periodically come in to see if we want sandwiches and to bring in new detainees. I got a couple interviews by an immigration officer to see what my deal was, but in the end, the Man determined that wanting to help a family build a house in exchange for food and housing would have required a Working Holiday Visa, something I didn’t have. I was then informed that the English were going to get me deported; a common theme in Acadian history. Sadly, because the next flight by airline was on Friday (I learn this on Wednesday), they need to send me to an immigration center since they can’t keep prisoners in the little room for more than 24 hours. She ushered me back into the room and I started thinking about my predicament. At around 7:30pm, after 8 hours in this crazy little room, an immigration officer stepped in and called my name; they’re shipping me off to an immigration center in Cambridge.