Friday, May 31, 2013

More Visas

Whoop Friday! I feel like I really need this one :) It came as a very pleasant surprise that it was in fact Friday as well, I dunno why but it seemed to feel like I was still a whole day away.

On Wednesday evening I went to Col'Cacchio for a catch-up dinner with @bronwyngale. So lovely to see her again and what a great evening we had. We stuck to our winning formula of sharing half-and-half pizzas (love being able to try so many flavours!). This time we tried the new Norm's Pralina (loved it), the Green Genie (aside from the mushrooms, for me, it was good), the Smoky Babe (loved it) and Millamoo's Meatball Pizza (wouldn't have it again). And I love that I could order warm wintery gluhwein with it. Fantastic. We ended off with a dessert cuppacake from McD's. And I took one home for The Trucker too. Awe. Although I lost whatever girlfriend points I gained from that because I didn't bring home any of the left over pizza (haha!).

On Thursday we had booked our UK Visa appointment. It's kinda similar to the USA one, where you have to go and pay vast amounts for Sandton parking on top of the huge visa fee you've just handed over because inevitably, you're there for at least an hour, probably closer to two. The UK application seems to just be made at a company facilitating visas on behalf of the UK Embassy, not the embassy itself (like the USA one is), so the most disappointing thing was that you leave still unsure of if your visa will be approved or denied. Loved that after the time and money I'd spent on the US one, I knew when I left, that I'd been approved. Worry over.

Now, I've never been denied a visa, but somehow I still worry till I have my stamped and approved passport back in my clutches. You never know what will happen or why and your travel plans quite literally hang in the hands of some complete stranger. #sigh. I hate it. Every. Time. You'd think it'd get easier, but it doesn't. The stress remains the same. Regardless, another part of me is quite sure we'll get it too, I mean, why wouldn't we. But it's all that vague supporting documentation that niggles at me. I took a ton of paperwork along to the US embassy, they didn't look at any of it. The UK one we have to send all the paper work we've brought off ... and I just worry we didn't hand in enough. How do you know what is enough? I prefer dealing with a person who can ask questions I can answer or something.

Anyway, to make matters worse, after sitting waiting for our number to be called, when we got to the counter, we found out we'd filled in the wrong application. Remember all that worry about why there was no bit that asked if we were actually going to the UK or going elsewhere. Apparently you are supposed to select a Visa Type of "Other" (who knew? There wasn't even any help text, and really, when faced with Visa Type options, my gut goes straight for the "General / Tourism" type option every time). Obviously. Well, you'd think.

So she sent us away, luckily they had an internet station right there so we made a second application (and spent another R1700 - have now had to apply for a refund for the first application) and managed to jump back into the queue without any hassle. Their biometrics weren't out of the ordinary (unless they secretly did a retinal scan from the roof-top cameras) because they were exactly what I'd already done before at the US embassy. They make the biometric stuff sound kinda extreme (like you think you might have to give blood or dna or something, but you don't).

Anyway, so in 15 days, we should know. We paid an extra R20 to sign up for the SMS update service (otherwise you just have to keep phoning and asking if your visa is ready for collection). Oh, and can you believe they offer a first-come-first-serve priority visa service (it'll take 5 days instead of 15) at an extra R1000 !! And there are only 50 of those a day. We saw people leaving to come back the following day because they'd missed out on those. Jees, expensive hobby this. I guess I can sort of understand that if a) it's a business trip (those are often last minute) or b) a funeral ... ? As The Trucker said, visa's are pretty much a license to print money!

And that was that. The Trucker moved the last of his stuff into our new home last night. He is handing over the keys to the new tenants today (yay, he found someone!). I made us some yummy pasta last night and my Gypsy cat was so adorable too. She is allowed out (via open window) during the day now that she is chipped and spayed. But not at night. She is coming and going quite nicely now, never for too long. So I am much calmer :) And we've put a collar on her. A) so people know she has an owner and b) so hopefully the bell will give the birds some fair warning, not that she's managed to catch anything yet - haha. Funny how you can see instincts at work in animals as they grow up.

She snuggled with me while I was on the phone with Daddio last night. She's started crawling under our duvet occasionally and last night obviously I was on the phone too long and she fell asleep. Adorable <3

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