the past few weeks we’ve been pretty stressed over our visa renewal. our deadline (04/12/08) for getting it done this go round seemed to be quickly approaching and the ladies (wonderful, amazing, miracle working ladies) at the compassion thailand office were still waiting on a letter from the thai government. everyday they heard it will come, it should be there anytime. and everyday, it didn’t come (you saw that coming, didn’t you.) as we went into the last few days we started working on plan b. i wasn’t a fan of plan b. plan b involved the kids and me making our way to burma to cross the border – once again. since michael was to be in hong kong and all, we would be going the day he returned so we could all have the same entry date. the biggest problem with plan b was it meant we were back at square 1 with our renewal process and it would have to be started again. and we would have to wait until mid february to finalize it.
about 11:30am the morning of the last day available (04/12/08) we get a call from the ladies. the letter arrived. we needed to be at immigration at 1pm. i wasn’t home at the time. i was at the mall – looking for sweatshirts for the kids. the mall that is on the other side of town from our house. the mall that is very near the chiang mai immigration office. i wasn’t dressed to go to immigration. the kids were at school and i wasn’t sure if they were dressed to go to immigration seeing as how i don’t get up with them in the mornings (michael does that – one of the many reasons i love him.) so i head home, after purchasing the few items i already had in my hand. (no, they weren’t sweatshirts for the kids. they were pants for me. in my size. there were 2 pair in the entire store and i bought them both.)
i get home, rush in to change into something more presentable. and michael and i leave the house for the school. it’s 12:20p. so michael calls the school to see if they can go ahead and pull the kids out of class, because we have an appointment at 1:00pm at immigration. this was translated to mean that we needed the kids to meet us at the office at 1:00pm. which meant that i had to run to each of their classes and tell them we really meant now. to grab their stuff. to hurry. no time to waste. that worked for s9 and a11. the hunting for c14 took a wee bit longer. i had no idea what class he was in. i didn’t know what number day it was and that makes it impossible to figure out which block is happening at what time. so i did the most reasonable thing and interrupted another high school class to ask which block? and that got me on my way. i found him and we were on the road to immigration at 12:55pm.
michael and i are still green enough at this kind of thing that we thought 1:00pm actually meant 1:00pm. it didn’t. we got there 5 minutes late. and waited until 2:30pm. which is when they took our passport and paperwork and had us wait some more. about 3:30pm the ladies from compassion head back to talk to the officials. they return pretty quickly wanting to know if we had gone to the american consulate and gotten our kids birth certificates notarized. we had not. we had totally forgotten. and we thought we were through. but the ladies told us not to give up. that we should contact the consulate and see when we could get the notarizing done.
i call the american consulate and while i’m on the phone the immigration officer gives the ladies an answer. they will approve us under the condition that i show up monday morning with the documentation they need. about this time the consulate tells me they only do notarization stuff on tues and thurs – it’s currently end of day thursday and going into a three day weekend. which makes me panic. and call the consulate back to through a big fit. because i’m an american citizen by golly and aren’t they here to help me!! i didn’t say that. but i really, really wanted to. i was informed they really couldn’t do anything to help me out. because they can’t take money on any days other than tues and thurs. no joke. luckily the immigration office was willing to accomidate us. they extended us until tuesday.
so… that means michael can head to hong kong on sunday. tuesday morning i’ll be showing up at the american consulate bright and early to get paperwork notarized and then i’ll head to the office to meet one of the ladies and we’ll go to immigration together to finalize everything. and we’ll be done.
we have another year in the kingdom. and we don’t have to make visa runs every 90 days, instead we just have to check in at immigration. and all’s well that ends well.