Translation by foddonna
My passport and visa: a new adventure.
I cannot count on getting a passport and visa as a simple bureaucratic procedure, because when David is involved, nothing is simple, nothing common, nothing is dull, nothing is normal.
The first step was to obtain the passport. A quick and simple procedure, right? Except for the small detail of the picture.
Here in Argentina, and I guess , the rest of the world, when you see the picture the government employee took of you , you say – Dios mío! I look like a robot with a grimace in the middle of the face ! ! We are always consistent with this picture.
And I was no exception, but this time, I had a permanent smile on my face that I could not erase. The employee asked me to sit down, fix my hair and make my face serious. But I could not; I was happy! ! ! !
I could not tell the employee, “I’m going to see David, he will dance around the stage, I’ll go to a VIP and I’ll ask for a hug, etc etc! ! ! ! !”
I was still smiling and thinking about all that, but also listening to the voice of the employee – “Madam, you have to be serious.”
I had no choice but to swallow my huge smile. If you ever see my passport, I will have full cheeks. I’m not chubby; it’s my huge smile that is dancing inside me and wants out.
The first step was accomplished. I went to get my passport and I thought – now comes the hard part. Yes, the process was difficult but in the end it was fun. Like everything that happens to me when David is in the middle.
This second step was something dramatic but I ended up with a smile on my face, just the way this story started.
The whole process is done online. The embassy website said that filling out the forms and answering questions could not take more than 75 minutes. hahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahhahhhahahahahhahhhahahhhahah
I stayed up from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. the next day, reading the instructions and trying to fill out forms, some of them in English.
OK. Sometime in the morning, I got up from the computer to drink a glass of water, calm down and continue.
I finished filling out the forms and asked for the first appointment, which was 8:00 a.m. for my picture (again) and to have my fingerprints taken. When I got to that place on the day and time specified, the line of people was very, very long. And while I was in line, my appointment time passed.
I asked the man who was first in line and he told me that everyone had the same appointment time and I had to do the obligatory line.
And I said to myself -NO-I am not going to stand in line, if I do I’m going to lose my schedule. I will ask the security guy who was standing at the door. The man in line tried to stop me, saying that we are ALL staying in line without exception. I pretended not to hear him, and knocked on the door. Then the security guy on the other side opened all the doors and said the magic words: EVERYONE CAN COME IN, BUT STAY IN LINE.
AHHHHHHH! They allowed in about 10 people that were in front of me and then I stood behind a young woman. She had done the forms wrong, and had not used the code that identifies us foreigners coming to America for sightseeing. The clerk asked if she had filled out the form and she said no, another person had done it for her.
There I learned that people paid to do this process online. Grrrrrrrrr…
The clerk took my form and told the girl, pointing to my form – “this is the correct code; you have to redo it, and come back when you have fixed it.”
The clerk looked at me and said, “You madam, may pass.”
At this point I was sent to another employee and the first question was:
What is the purpose of your trip?
Concerts and sightseeing, I said.
Very well madam, pass across to take your photo and fingerprints.
That was fast. And when I was leaving, the employee said:
Madam, they will expect you on October 4th (my second appointment) at the US Embassy.
I remember that at some point in the morning I read in the instructions that there were objects that cannot be carried to the Embassy, for example, cell phones, earphones, tote bags and much more.
I got up very early for my appointment at the embassy. When I arrived, everything was very organized. There were signs indicating the time of our appointment. I stood in line at 8:00 a.m., attentive to everything, any indication for worry, right up to the last moment, when…
I realized no one had a purse; everyone had only papers in hand. I asked the lady who was in front of me and she told me that before getting in this line, I was supposed to leave my passport at a window. I left the line and stood behind one of the windows where an employee like a robot said:
Madam, give me your passport. When entering the embassy, you should not carry cellular phones, headphones, big bags ……….. -
My expression changed, and the employee noticed and said:
Madam, these instructions are in the guidelines. If you have any of these things, you cannot pass – (!!I was given back my passport!!!)
Putting on my best face, I said, Miss, don’t worry, I will get rid of all this and continue with the procedure
The employee then took my passport and I returned to the previous line, to await the call to the embassy. While we were waiting, an embassy employee began shouting our names to give back our passports. Each passport now had a number glued on the top of it. That meant that they had accepted our entry into the embassy.
But I was very worried, because I was looking among employees who were outside the embassy for someone who might keep my purse, my phone, my headphones, my soul!!!!!!!!!
The line began to move and I could not get anyone. But suddenly I saw a young policeman on the other side of the Avenue, and I went towards him, almost running.
Sir, please, I know it’s unusual what I’m going to ask, but could you hold my purse? I cannot go to the embassy with all this?? -
Madam, I’m not allowed, but there (he pointed toward a white van) they’re going to keep it, you have to pay a very small amount and they keep these things-
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I was not the only one who had forgotten part of the instructions. There were more people like me. Sometimes I think God is looking after me.
My turn came. I entered the embassy through various checks, and was directed to some more windows. I was the first of the entire line. The employee had a thick accent and the first thing she said was:
-yes, I am.
-Tell me your number.
(In a split second I thought, what number does that refer to? Every form I had had numbers.)
Instinctively I raised my passport with the number on the top, lifted it and showed it to the clerk. She looked me up on a list, and said -
Gladys-go ahead, you can pass.
I waited in another line, and then I was in a very large room with many people.
In that place were the interviews. They had 15 windows, and when it came my turn I knew I had to put myself into any answer, convince and beg them if necessary to give me the visa.
The employee who interviewed me was very young, with a very American accent; her Spanish was perfect.
She asked many questions about my life in Buenos Aires, my family, my job, my monthly salary. They have to make sure I do not use this visa request as an excuse to leave my country and work illegally there.
The Embassy also has all the information about me, they know everything about me, and even know the answers I had to answer to fill in the forms online. I could not be wrong in any response. After they found out my family, work, financial life, came the funniest part.
- Do you have relatives in the United States, or know someone?
- Why do you want to go to America?
- I want to go to concerts and sightsee.
- In that place are those shows?
- I guess it will be in Salt Lake City, Utah ..
- Oh yeah? and who will sing there?
- David Archuleta, do you know him? (I know I’m crazy, do not say anything)
- David Archulota? David Archoleta? I think so, yes ahhhhhhhh.
- David Archuleta, he will sing around May 2014, more or less. I do not have the exact date, but by then he will already be in your home country.
- But he is not singing now, no?
- No, now he’s on a mission in Chile.
- You have traveled outside the country. (It was not a question, it was an affirmation.)
- Yes, I went to Chile several times to see him. He is on a mission to Rancagua. He is a Mormon and was referred to the country for two years.
- She opened her eyes wide and asked me, Do you know him?
- Yes, I’ve seen and greeted him a few times, he is a very young singer.
- I want to see him when he finishes his mission and gives his first concert, I guess it will be in Salt Lake City.
- Why do you like David Archuleta?
- I cannot explain, but I like him very much. Have you heard some of his songs?
- A Long time ago. I haven’t heard anything lately, but you have made me curious (hahahahaha, another fan). Ok Gladys.
While she was typing the last words on her computer, she said aloud, David Archuleta, pop-singer, then looked at me and said the most beautiful words I have ever heard in my life:
Gladys, your visa is approved. You will be notified by e-mail.
When I left the embassy I still had a little fear. Maybe I would get the visa for only one year, or just to one specific city, but I was happy. I stopped by the place where the white van was parked, then withdrew my bag and went to my work. My colleagues congratulated me and we celebrated with breakfast.
A week later I received the passport notice with the visa inside it. When I opened it, I let out a cry of joy. My visa lasts for 10 years. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
David will have to eat Argentine chocolates for 10 years.
Gladys is a guest writer for The Voice.