September 4, 2012

To the Embassy!!!

Today was a long and hard day.
Yesterday night I had troubles sleeping.. Even though I'm just at home these days I'm actually keeping my sleep-around-midnight habbits. I guess I was thinking too much. Or maybe concerned.. It all started back in 9th grade...
wooooh~~~ *flashback*
It was around December and I was talking to my friend and classmate Mie who was going to be an exchange student the year after. She showed me where she had gotten her vaccines and I was pretty scared of those (I got out of my comfortzone and do no longer fear those that much! Be proud of me). She also told me that she had to go for an interview at the embassy and I still remember the fear- That great fear I felt all over my body.. The fear pumping through my veins.. Yes I was TERRIFIED!! For these 1½ year I knew that I had to go for an interview too but it's like I hid that thought and focused on, in my eyes, more important stuff. 
*end of flashback*

So there I was lying and getting more and more concerned. After I had been looking at my watch countless times I finally fell asleep - Last time I looked at it it said 1-something-am. I woke up around 5.30 so basically I got around 4 hours of sleep. Great!
We drove off after just an hour... I didn't even have breakfast ㅠㅠ!! We bought that on the way though.. Phew.. And what is better than 3 hours of driving? 3 hours of gangnam style of course!

While sitting in the car I saw a man... a quite unusual man o_O

(Yeap.. just casually walking his parrot).

The embassy looked like a prison to me. Cameras, tall metal fences, and security guards outside. Yes, this is the American embassy! The guards were really nice though. When one of them couldn't find me on the list he went inside. When he came back he said that he had forgot to look at the emergency appointment list and because of that failure he now would have to treat the others soda. He excused the inconvenience and proceeded. (It's good to know that the employers, even at such a serious place, can have fun). My parents went to a nearby café as they were not allowed to go inside.
~Now here is where hell broke out~
"Come on Lucy, you're on your own now. You HAVE to do this!" I thought to myself when I stepped inside. The first thing I had to do was to turn off all electronics I had on me and give to them.

- Do you have anything in your pockets?
"No"
- Are you wearing a belt?"
"No"
- Alright then, please step forward

Maybe it was because of my earrings but I felt SO relieved when I stood on the other side of the metal detector without it saying those loud BEEEP BEEP BEEP sounds. With me I had brought a map with my exchange papers so I could prove why I was there - those papers got scanned too! (Maybe I had hid a knife or something in between!! :OO )
The man told me to go "this way" *waves arms* through the glassdoor and pick a number. 50. "Alright.."
I sat down in the room. It was quiet.. Too quiet.
"Number 30 to counter 1, please"
Great! Just 20 other people before it's my turn. I started looking through my papers, making sure everything was there. There were two girls discussing the visa application form. We all had had to answer the strangest questions; "Are you planning to go to America to resell internal organs?" one of the girls said. The other two girls around us laughed and so did I.

"Numba difty do cunter oan, blease"
(BAM! Le wild lady with a strong Indian accent appeared)

She told me to sit down where after she would call my name. She called me maybe 3 minutes after. When I got up there she said that some of my papers looked like they had been copied and that there was a fee for this "interview" that I hadn't paid. I was told to send that stuff through mail and then sit down once again. When I was called up there for the 3rd time I spoke to an American woman.
- Hi, so what are you going to do in America?
"Hi, uhm.. I'm going to be an exchange student"
- Alriiight, do you know where?
"Yes at a small place near Lompoc, California"
- Okaay.. Did you pay your SEVIS yet? (SEVIS is the name of that fee).
"Uhm no.. She (the Indian-accented woman) told me I hadn't."
- Oh okay. Well we need that and we need you to pay that and we need the papers and then we can continue working on your visa, okay? Until then we can't give you.
"Oh...
 

I left the room and came to a glassdoor. And there I stood, looking totally lost until the guy out there pushed some button that opened the door. "Go through this door and come back in through the green one" he said.
(It's strange.. I had to go outside, take 5 small steps and then get back in again... Why?!?)
When I got outside I was about to cry. I had been working on this visa since June 25th and I wasn't even done yet? So will I have to come back again later now?! Just great..
Do you know the mixed feeling of disappointment, anger, and sadness? Yeap.. It was just too much for me.

I called my dad and told them to come pick me up. While standing outside the girl who sat beside me in there came over and asked if she could lend my phone to call her mom. "*sniff* Of course" I said and forced a smile. We started chit-chatting and I asked if she had gotten her visa. No. Apparently she hadn't paid for the interview either so she should come back tomorrow morning. At least she lived in that city, not like me who had to spend 6 hours driving forth and back. She was in a huge time pressure as she was going to an acting school for 3 months in NY and she had already bought her plane tickets. She would leave Sunday.
Our parents arrived around the same time and we discussed this for a little before the girl and her mom went over to the security guard and asked about something I didn't hear. She couldn't get back and and when she passed me, with a face like my own, all she said was "good luck" and forced a smile back at me.

Now the thing is that we already DID pay that fee and because of the time pressure, the organisation sent my visa papers directly to the embassy which meant I could only bring a copy. I wasn't informed of this and because I went in there on my own I could do nothing =______=
My parents were shocked/raging. My mom was flaring her arms everywhere and constantly interrupting my dad who had called Aspect (the organisation I'm travelling with) to ask what the heck was going on. The leader Lars said that he had just spoken to a woman in there named Charlotte whom we had had contact to before on. She said it was all fine but he told me to call her just to make sure that everything was okay. If anything was wrong I should call back to him and if not we would talk tomorrow and discuss my plane tickets.
We called but no answers.. one of the security guards came out and told us they were having lunch but that everything should be okay, that they would be back again in an hour, and that we could go to a nearby café or something and calm down a little. (When writing it now he sounds pretty arrogant but he was really nice and understanding - No complaining!)

Instead we drove to my aunt and uncle's place. On the way I saw our National Bird - A swan :P

I was still pretty mad as we still knew nothing!
I sat down on the couch, found my earplugs, turned up the music, and kept everyone else out. Charlotte called some time after and told us it was all good. Because of the emergency stuff and time pressure the other women had missed my papers but they had everything needed and they would send me my visa in 3-4 days.
As I was chillin' on the couch my dad and uncle came over.
We started having a photo war but I don't think they got any of me >:)

We had dinner at my family's place and when we left I hugged them all. Maybe this would be the last time I saw them before leaving. My cousin ... well I got no idea why but he thought he'd show how strong he was (I guess?) so he decided to lift me outside like if he was some caveman -.-
Of course the rest of my family found it hilarious - Now my uncle could get his revenge -.-"

 

And some bonus pictures of my cousin... 
Don't we just love our family?
(Oh and ladies, he's single ;) 

That's all for now, have a good night! :)

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