The hard plastic chairs squeak against the linoleum as Alec and I sit down. All around us other couples are scattered in quiet pairs across the room, feet tapping impatiently and fingers laced together. I chuckle at a poster lauding Alexander Hamilton as an esteemed immigrant—the United States didn’t exist as a country when he was born.
We’re early for the appointment, but only a few minutes pass before a young-looking woman calls our name. As we follow her to the interview room, I remind myself to act normally. What is normal, anyway? Would I normally touch Alec’s shoulder like this? Would I normally put my hand on his knee and giggle like a pubescent teen? I know I’m overthinking it; I just don’t want to make any wrong move.
The interviewer is nice enough. She asks us first for identification, then eases into basic questions. “So where did you meet?” moves into “How long before you started dating?” and eventually we reach “Tell me about your wedding.”
We offer up a binder’s worth of evidence: engagement photos, love letters, wedding receipts, insurance documents, even bank statements. She politely glances through the enormous stack and verifies that our financial information’s been reviewed. Finally she tells us that the green card should arrive in a few weeks’ time, but the application has been approved.
Alec is officially a permanent resident.
The whole process took us no longer than ten minutes. We were released before our actual appointment slot had even begun. We could have turned around and driven the three hours straight back to Nashville, but it seemed a waste.
So we ventured into downtown Memphis!
Memphis has its rough edges, and in many ways the city feels sleepy. Yet it boasts plenty of attractions for an action-packed day trip—a whole weekend may be perfect.
The Lorraine Motel
Where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed. Alec and I opted out of the expensive civil rights museum ($15/adult) to simply walk around outside, reading the plaques and soaking in the reverent atmosphere. Worth a visit even if you aren’t paying for the museum.
The towering trees, brick sidewalks, and outdoor cafe seating returned me to a picturesque Paris boulevard. Alec agreed that this pedestrianized road felt very European. We enjoyed strolling down it and watching people run their errands. Lots of enticing hotels and restaurants here!
Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe on Beale Street
We nearly ate lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, in part because we were nervous trying something else and in part because we were too lazy to keep looking. But after a little nudging, I admitted to Alec that I’d seen a menu on Beale Street that seemed interesting. We decided to take the plunge at Miss Polly’s, and boy was it worth every second. We each ordered the basic chicken and waffles meal. Good price, good food, good service. The cafe just drips with Southern comfort and soul.
After lunch, we decided to head home. It had been a long and satisfying morning out. Not only did my husband get his permanent residency granted, but we also experienced a small corner of the world that we had never seen before.