“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.” — By Steph
I have been on short vacation for about 10 days. The trip was to surprise my best mate as well as have a short honeymoon. After a great time in the UK and Europe Tanya and I were to leave London last Sunday as I needed to be back to work with a key client on the Monday. Before writing this post I did a bit of searching to find something apt which can relate to the experiences I have had over the past five days. The above poem fits the bill perfectly, now for the story.
It started last Sunday and could be summarized by saying that what could have gone wrong, went wrong. We left my best mates apartment to get a cab. Couldn’t find a cab when there are normally tens of cabs around. Traveled to the first key tube stop. Found out that all roads were blocked because of a major bike competition. Went to a hotel to order a cab, they couldn’t order one because all the roads were blocked to the hotel. Traveled to another major Tube station in London and couldn’t find a cab there either. Tried using Uber and the application kept failing. Found multiple London cabs however with nobody in them. Finally after about an hour of all this happening I tried Uber again and the application finally hailed a car. The problem though was that the driver was using his GPS and every location he tried ultimately put us into road blocks. Suffice to say it took us another 70 minutes to get to Heathrow. We left my best mates house three hours before our flight was to leave yet we arrived at Heathrow 45 minutes before the flight left; our window for checking in had gone.
After staying the night at Heathrow and pushing our missed flight until the next day (last Monday) we were back in the airport (4 hours earlier mind you) to check in. What I thought would be a breeze checking in turned out to be an every bigger nightmare. The airport staff rejected my US visa given a miscommunication on what my visa extension paperwork constituted. Even a US Embassy official came down to work things out with me but agreed that I would need to see the US Embassy. We left Heathrow on route to the US Embassy in London hoping I could work something out quickly. For those that have dealt with visas, nothing goes quickly. I was told to fill out an application form online and get the next interview time; ultimately Wednesday 12th August (9 days away). The next day (last Tuesday) we came back to expedite my interview, however it was rejected. Sigh!
I was a little deflated when heading back to my best mates, yet I started doing some thinking outside of the box with Tanya on what possibly options there were. Ultimately the question presented itself … what is the closest city with a US Embassy which has the smallest wait time for an interview? The answer was Vienna, Austria; 1 day wait. We flew to Vienna yesterday and I sat my interview today. The goods news is that I have an approved visa and now I just have to wait until next Thursday for my visa to arrive. A much more timely scenario given I wasn’t even going to get my original interview in London until next Wednesday (6 days away).
This has been a very testing time for both myself and Tanya. Being stuck in another country isn’t fun, it’s costly, it’s foreign (duh!) and you have to think on your feet fast. Furthermore I’m trying to deal with work commitments while remote in a European country. I never thought I would be in Vienna but here I am with a positive result to a decision made only 36 hours prior. This isn’t over yet but at least things are moving in the right direction. As the poem says, don’t quit, just keep moving forward! Last but not least, it helps when you have an amazing wife who just rolls with the punches.