Ten days ago I turned my paperwork into the visa office; all that was left was to wait for it to be processed. The date stamped on my receipt was March 21st. At 9pm on the night of the 20th I heard my phone go off indicating that someone had sent me a message. I didn’t recognize the number, but I soon realized that the government had my number on speed dial and was sending me text messages in two languages saying “By midnight tonight either submit your new visa application or get out of the country”.
The first time I read the text, my heart skipped a beat. My paperwork was submitted to the office nine days ago, it should be ready for pick up first thing in the morning. Why in the world was the government suggesting I get over the border in less than three hours? What red stamp had been passed over to the point that their computer system was not aware of my application? I was slightly nervous but managed to shake off the disconcerting horde of elephants that had moved into the pit of my stomach. An identical text message arrived less than 30 minutes later. It was the second of seven text messages that they government sent to my personal cell phone in a few hour period. I tossed and turned all night, trying to keep my mind from falling into the deep well of worry. The rare moments of shut eye I got were filled with dark dreams of sprinting for the border without my passport.
So obviously I was up first thing in the morning, dressed and on the bus heading up to the police station to figure out what was wrong. I was the second person in line waiting for them to open. I paid my bill and less than an hour later I was literally strutting down the street with my passport securely in my purse; pasted proudly on its seventh page was a work visa valid until March 30th 2012. I don't care how many police stations or government offices have my number on speed dial, or how many intimidating texts they send me… I have more than a year before I will need to make any middle of the night flights for freedom across the country. It is official I am legally here, working for myself.
139) A yearlong work visa
140) Not having to make a run for the border in the middle of the night
141) Tickets home to Canada – just over a week to go
142) Friends who put up with me and all my stress in the process
143) Guests who refresh encourage me (some visitors can be very draining in their expectations)
144) Wise words to meditate on – words that help me to move towards hope
145) Spring is finally coming… I heard the sound of water dripping off icicles all day