Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Love Hate Relationship with Red

When I first moved to central Asia I was overwhelmed with brightness of the decor. Everywhere I turned my senses seemed to be struck with intense colour. Red is the colour of celebration and happiness. It is everywhere. Signs and banners are made of red, clothing and carpets, bags and everything you can imagine feature some shade of brilliant ruby hue. After being inundated by its joyfulness for the last three and a half years I can feel myself succumbing to it power.
A quick look at some of my own recent purchases will demonstrate how this continental wide love affair of the colour red has sunk deep in my heart as well. I will now buy almost anything that has a smattering of this vibrate colour.
( I didn’t keep all seven pairs of red shoes, mom was purchasing them for me while I was in hospital. I tried them all on and returned the pairs that didn’t fit. But for a while I was the proud owner of seven pairs of red shoes).

Despite this growing love affair with the colour red, I have recently come across something that I loath.

Now that my health has improved I have started to work on my visa process to return to Central Asia, only to find many of the rules have changed. In the past I have entered the country on a tourist visa and switched to a student visa within the first month of my arrival. This always seemed the easiest way to navigate my way through foreign policy. However, my adopted country has recently changed it requirements. A person applying for a tourist visa must produce round trip tickets and full itinerary while in country including proof of booked and paid for hotel accommodations. All of which is a waste of money since I have my own dorm room and no intention of returning in the next few months. They have also introduced the rule that a person can no longer apply for a student visa while visiting the country on a tourist visa.

So I had to scrap my old means and resort to plan B. I am now working on trying to apply from here for a student visa. My school sent me a copy of my original application (unfortunately it has my old passport number on it) as well as a letter of invitation. I will be going later today for a full physical including chest x-rays and an ekg to make sure I am healthy enough to study in their country.

All of this is doable if not a bit of a pain, but then I learned more news. I can no longer mail my completed application to a visa service in BC (they can now only accept visa application from BC and the Yukon) as I have done repeatedly in the past. Instead I will have to drive the whole completed package of information up to Toronto to both deliver and pick-it-up in person. This just adds to the hoops I am trying to jump through to get my return visa.

In the process of all of these application and forms, appointments and searches on the internet I have learned that there is one red item that I loath… RED TAPE

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