Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Victory is MINE!

Yes, it's true. After much back and forth with the Chilean consulate here in Olympia, WA (a lot of which was both hilarious and maddening at the time so I thought I'd post it but after review decided it was ultimately too long and boring an exchange for anyone not directly involved in it, which included John and my parents because I gave them no choice), I was able to finally secure my student visa to go to Chile. To wit:
Once I actually arrived in Olympia, the honorary consulate was quite pleasant and the entire exchange took less than 30 minutes, in which time I got to use a paper cutter to reduce my passport photos and a glue stick to secure each photo to an application form. Two of these forms came home with me, one of which I have to present to immigration and the other to the school in which I am enrolled (as a "student intern practicum teacher" so I can get a tax-free scholarship as payment and a student rather than a work visa. It's actually a pretty sweet arrangement). "Don't bend them!" he warned me. "Great," I thought to myself. I'm going to keep two letter-sized forms perfectly intact without creases for a month and then a 19 hour trip. I plan on folding them just to tempt fate...

The visa was the last hurdle to jump, because since I last posted I have also bought my airfare. I fly into LA and then Santiago on Thursday, February 28, and I return on December 19. Since international but not domestic flight schedules have been announced for December, I arrive in LA at 7:00 a.m. and then... will have to get back to Seattle somehow! At least there are lots of planes that go up and down the coast, and my parents have graciously agreed to purchase my flight using miles (note the specific inclusion of this detail to use as evidence 7 months from now when I need said ticket). w00t.

I will leave you with a haiku, and a revised request for comments, people!

It was rough, but lo!
Visa in my passport, yay
Chile here I come!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to Me

Hello and welcome to my first post of 2008. It's strange to think that my trip to Chile will be encompassed within this calendar year (just barely). So far 2008 has been fantastic and I have high hopes for the rest of it.

New Year's Eve is traditionally a night of high expectations followed by mild disappoinment, which is why I think most of my friends and I didn't make any plans until the evening itself. Fortunately an impromptu party came together with great success (which is more than I can say about Seattle's fireworks this year...) and I still have the temporary tattoo to prove it. I think it was made from industrial-strength glue.

People often think that having a January birthday is no good, including my mom whose birthday is a mere week after mine, but I beg to differ. For one, I can get the things I was disappointed not to get for Christmas. Also, I always get extra gifts because the post-Christmas sales are so fantastic that my birthday budget stretches farther. Finally, people are always available for a party, because what else is there to do in the first week of January? It's possibly the least eventful week of the year. I was especially pleased that January 5 fell on a Saturday this year, since celebrating on your actual birthday is always more fun.

This year I decided to do away with a boring bar hopping evening and went the pre-teen route instead, throwing myself a 26-going-on-13 birthday party at my parents' house, complete with party favors, pizza, and Whirlyball. If you are unfamiliar with this '70s phenomenon, it's bumper cars meets lacrosse meets basketball. Some people were skeptical of the potential for hilarity, but all were convinced after 2 minutes of playing that this was a Good Idea. I have some great pictures that I promise to figure out how to post soon. All in all it was a highly enjoyable birthday. Thanks to everyone who came, and special thanks to my sister Anne for making her famous malted milk ball cupcakes and Robyn who made a delicious three-layer chocolate cake. I ate too much of both of them. Luckily I discovered Wii boxing and tennis the night of my party and, though it seems wrong to say it, I have been using video games to work out.

In Chile-related news, I still have not applied for my visa but I'm close, and I still have not bought my plane ticket but I'm close there as well. Both have been major frustrations and I'll be pleased as punch when they're settled.

Finally, I'd like to ask any and everyone who reads this blog to post comments! Comments liven it up and I love hearing from people. You can even post anonymously.

I hope 2008 is treating everyone well so far!