TRIUMPH! I have a visa! Who has a visa? Kate does! I filled out a ton of paperwork, made a zillion phone calls to the embassy in San Francisco, got my money order and my health examination, had a horrid refugee/mug shot picture taken of myself, and most terrifyingly of all, put my passport in the mail… and I got back a little decal that says that the refugee/criminal master mind pictured here gets to go to Greece! Yahoo!
In all honesty, it wasn’t as bad as getting a visa for France. I had to appear in person at the consulate in San Francisco, with 5 copies of my intinerary, 3 copies of my birth certificate, W-2’s and all kinds of other bureaucratic FUN.
So, compared to that saga, this wasn’t so bad. However:
- They almost rejected my application because my health report didn’t contain the specific sentence, “[Name] is not suffering from any communicable diseases.”
- Putting my passport in the mail?! As the child of two study abroad gurus, this was like sawing off my arm and handing it to the Fed Ex guy. What’s the Peterson family motto? Don’t lose your passport. Keep your passport with you. Have your passport surgically implanted in you somewhere so you DON’T LOSE YOUR PASSPORT. (It’s on our crest, along with the foot-long sandwich and the obscure Christmas tree ornaments.)
- I had to make several calls to the embassy, because the type of visa need for Fulbrighters is a special case and the rules are different. The type was written on a document I had received from Fulbright. It was a series of letters and numbers, beginning with “KYA…” and trailing off into more letters & numbers from there. I only glanced at it before calling, and after calling and calling and finally getting them on the phone, the woman at the embassy asked what type I needed. I looked more closely, and in a flash of unexpected good fortune, I happened to glance ahead a ways in the series of letters and numbers, and what did I see? A φ. I suddenly realized that DUH! that’s not a K, a Y, and an A. It’s a kappa, an upsilon and an alpha! This was the first test of my less-than-excellent Greek pronunciation skills, but I did ok. Phew!
But now I HAVE A VISA! Just one step closer to hangin’ out on the Mediterranean, teaching fun AND unlimited baklava.
P.S. 16 days!