Our visas came today.
I will note today is exactly the government-mandated 4 week date (plus mailing time of 1 day). So once again we learn that bureaucrats are nothing if not consistent. Too bad for the first set of plane tickets I bought (my pocketbook, really): a 4-week processing time does not mean 3 1/2 weeks. And woe to those who apply for Spanish visas with a 12-week processing time, who will almost certainly not be getting their passports back in 11 weeks and 6 days.
I do have to thank my lovely wife for her constant attention and preoccupation through the whole process. Good thing we could not get an appointment at the Consulate for several weeks: we needed all that time to go on the scavenger hunt for the documentation and certifications they required.
Once at the Consulate, wifey Doer was in fine form with her paperwork ninja skills. Having gone through the pre-prepared envelopes and folders of extra material no less than four times before our appointment, she was confident we had everything in place. We got to the Consulate before they even opened their nondescript office for the day. Once at the processing window, I stumbled once or twice when asked for certain documents.
“Do you have a copy of this?”
(me fumbling through materials)
BAM! Wifey pulls it out of its appointed spot in the folder.
When our time handing documents over to the nice Spanish bureaucrat ended, we turned around to find the office – nearly empty when we arrived – full to capacity with its 20+ chairs. This is when Wifey informed me she made the first appointment of the day on purpose! Never before have I been more proud of her. She navigated the whole process skillfully, which gives me tremendous hope that anything we find ourselves up against in Europe we will be able to overcome in a similar fashion.
To Hallmark I offer the following greeting card free of charge:
My Beloved: It is on this day that I thank you for making our visa processing go so smoothly.
Today marks the end of a 7-week period in which my wife worried and suffered every day. Would we get our visas? And when??!? What if the postal service forwarded them to another state?
So thank you, Honey, for getting this done. I think we can relax now and enjoy the journey. Even though you are now worrying about registering with the local police when we arrive. (really? already? maybe we could just take a day off from worrying…? no? well, OK. carry on…)
All of this for a small piece of paper that attaches to our passports. And yet, we now have the green light. Tuesday, we are out of here. Despite having around 75% of our stuff in storage by now, there is still a lot to do before then. Wish us luck!