Monday, November 7, 2011
Visa... It's everywhere you want to be?
There’s a reason why pregnant women shouldn’t ride rollercoasters. Literally, you get jolted about and dragged along for the ups and downs, the sudden starts, stops, and drops. The emotional rollercoaster I was on last week felt much the same. Our visas are in limbo, and the coordinators at SAAB are trying to figure out what to do with us. As with most bureaucratic processes, the information available is murky and difficult to decipher. First, we were told, we would have to leave the EU for ten days and return to Sweden, or take a weekend trip outside of Sweden and then re-enter, or leave Sweden and return home to wait for our visas to be approved before returning, or apply for an interim tourist visa and stay in the country. It is a hassle for the company and emotionally draining for me.
It took most of the week for SAAB to verify what I learned on Wikipedia: if our visas are not approved we have to leave the European Union after 90 days (November 18) and wait to return when they are approved. After pleading with the migration services board, our visa application, for which an expedited processing request was originally denied, has been approved. However, since SAAB should have had our visas processed and approved before we even entered the country the embassy will not stamp our passports while we remain in Sweden.
In all honesty, I was hoping that these visa shenanigans were part of an elaborate, divine plan for God to get me home for Thanksgiving. While trying very hard to maintain some realistic expectations, I began trolling the Lufthansa website for three roundtrip tickets from Gothenburg to Orlando. Obviously, SAAB doesn’t want to spend $3000 so I can nosh on roasted turkey, mashed potatoes drenched in gravy, and a hearty slice of pumpkin pie slathered in whipped cream. (What? I’m three months pregnant. Food is kind of a big deal right now. Don’t judge me.)
The current compromise is this: SAAB is sending us to Copenhagen. The plan is, if we go to Copenhagen for a few days, we can visit the Swedish Embassy office sometime between touring castles and spending too much money at the Lego store and get our visas stamped into our passports. All in all, it’s not a bad deal. We wanted to visit Copenhagen during our time here anyway and we were even hoping to go in November, so to be able to go without using up Matt’s vacation time or having to pay for our lodging is a very generous blessing.
Even with an exciting trip to plan, it is hard to start another week in Sweden. As much as I miss the food that I’m used to, being able to walk outside without bulky layers, and the freedom of my driver’s license and a full tank of gas; it’s my family and friends that I long to see. I can’t deny that part of me is still hoping our visas won’t be processed while we’re in Copenhagen and we’ll have to make a last minute dash to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I can’t say for sure what God’s plan holds for our family, but I know that no matter where we are, he will be also… And I know I can trust him to take good care of us.