I feel like George Castanza. Like I should be walking around wearing gloves all the time. Not because my hands are cold, but because my fingerprints are precious. They’re my future!
Let me rewind a bit.
First, I hadn’t planned on blogging until I’d been happily transplanted in London and Ellie had landed here in NYC. Then, the week’s events started to unfold and I became increasingly neurotic about just getting over there in the first place…
See, for the past few weeks since I booked my flights (Jan. 13 departure – holla!) things have been moving along swimmingly. Maybe a little TOO swimmingly. Mail forwarded? Check. Gym membership paused? Check. Apartment subletted? Check. iPhone unlocked? Check. Could it all really be happening this easily?
When Ellie emailed me a few weeks ago with the note: “Guess whose visa was approved today?!” I was excited for her, but a bit perplexed. Up until yesterday, I had only been asked to fill out a visa “questionnaire,” which was basic, at best. Passport number, passport expiry, parents names and birth dates – easy peasy. When it was sent to me BACK IN EARLY NOVEMBER I did think to myself, “Wow, this is it?” but figured the HR reps were handling it.
Not so much. Yesterday I got an email from the woman I’ve been dealing with in the UK (the one who confirmed my flat and gave me the go-ahead to book my flight). In it, were about 12 documents detailing the necessary steps to get VISA APPROVAL FROM THE BRITISH CONSULATE.
Now, let me just reiterate: My flight is booked and my housing has been confirmed. But my visa hasn’t even been submitted yet?
I tried to be all NBD, but I leave in T-minus 22 days! Also, hello holidays?! Offices are closed! People are skiing and shopping and sunbathing! Plus, I’ve got a Bon Voyage party to plan.
During this whole process I’ve been very wary about publicly talking about any of it, lest it jinx the whole sitch and lead to it being called off. (This has been three years in the making, remember? It’s something I’ve wanted for SO long that I just couldn’t face more disappointment.) I’m not sure why I became fixated on the flight being the finalizing factor required for me to feel confident about shouting it from the rooftops, but it was. So once I booked, I did just that. (Or, at least, the 2012 equivalent: I posted it on Facebook.)
And here I am without an approved visa to check-in, board and prepare for departure with.
Needless to say, I got to work attempting to read through all these very official documents. Lots of questions about countries I’ve visited, crimes I (haven’t) committed, etc. etc. There are about five steps, all of which have like five smaller steps within them. (Remember when you learned how to outline? And you’d start with numbers, followed by an indent with letters? Yeah, this file goes into Roman numerals. It’s that intense.) Case in point, this is what my desk looked like yesterday as I was trying to make sense of it all (while, by the way, trying to put together the Sunday section):
I sorted through all those documents and checked off as many of the instructions as possible. Now, this is where I’m at. (And I’ll give it to you straight, not in formal gibberish as it’s written in the files.): My visa application has been completed and submitted, but I need to go and get fingerprinted before then dropping the entire package (about 85 pages!) off at the consulate.
The soonest I could do that is next Thursday.
Now, when reading up on the fingerprinting (aka, the “biometrics”), I came across several cautionary alerts, hence prompting the glove neurosis. Here’s one:
If any of your fingertips are missing, you must enroll your remaining fingerprints.
It also said that if you have hennas on your hands, you must wait until they’ve worn off, and if you have any cuts or scabs on your fingers, you also must wait until they heal.
At this point, I looked down at my fingers and realize that for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long I have this weird skin-peeling thing going on on my index finger. I mean, seriously???
Granted, it’s Friday and my appointment isn’t until next week, but the paranoia has (obviously) set in. Are my digits doomed?? I’m seriously afraid to do a number of things from take my nail polish off to go to yoga. (You press HARD on those fingertips in downward dog!)
But I’m going to try to BREATHE, BELIEVE, RECEIVE (my mantra) that it WILL all happen for me. I deserve it.