Thursday, August 12, 2010

Visa in hand

When I tell people we are moving to Chile, the reactions are so interesting.

Many people think it is exciting and a great opportunity for our kids.

My family is not very happy that I am moving, which is not that unusual when you consider they are my family, but a little odd when you consider how rarely I see them.

One of my sisters lives in the same city I do... and I hardly ever see her. She has calculated and is convinced that we will see each other exactly four more times in our lifetimes: she'll be able to come to Chile maybe twice and I will come back to the US to visit twice. I tell her that is probably more frequent than I see her now.

My general practitioner, who had to write a letter for my visa, stating I was in good health, with no communicable diseases, looked at me with mild disbelief and asked if I didn't like the U.S. anymore. It is a lot more complicated than that.

Several people have almost congratulated us on "getting out just in time," before Obama completely ruins the country (not my position, clearly). Apparently, Chile is one of the hot destinations for wingnuts who want to escape the socialist U.S. and pay lower taxes. This fact is a little disconcerting. I can only gently remind them that Chile is a land of Spanish-speakers, plus you still have to pay taxes in the US, even when you live abroad.

I was talking to a neighbor one day who asked, why Chile? (my husband is from there) Had I been there before? (yes, lived several years) what is it like? (beautiful, frustrating, it is hard to describe, but it is not a bad place to live) Then he said: "But it is not the U.S., right? No, it is not the U.S., but I don't know how to communicate, just by tone, what I mean by that. What I meant is certainly not what he meant.

A month ago, I had a part-time job offer and thought I was going to be packing up and moving quickly to Santiago. We had an offer on the house so the plan was to take the kids with me and have the hubs join us a few weeks later, after closing on the house.

When our offer fell through, I had to re-think the plan. Not knowing what was going to happen with the house, leaving early and living in Santiago, not alone, but without my husband, would have been difficult in innumerous ways. I decided not to take the job, since it was only part-time, it would not have paid enough to pay for some of the services that would have made some of the inconveniences bearable... if that makes any sense.

So, here we are still, a kind of limbo-hell in some ways, but I have been trying to make the best of it, taking the kids places, hanging out with friends, making lots of goodies so I can eat my weight in frustration. It has been hard for me to sit down and write about any of it.

While I was thinking I was going to leave in mid-July, I applied for my residency visa, so I can live and work in Chile. It was approved quickly, but my plans had already changed. There are always timelines with immigration issues. Once my visa was approved, they gave me 30 days to go pick it up. Once I pick it up, I have 90 days to enter Chile. If I don't enter within that time frame, I have to reapply, which would be mostly painless... except for the $400 dollar fee and some time-consuming documents, like an FBI report to confirm my crime-free life.

I went to the Chilean Consulate Wednesday and have a newly stamped visa in my passport and several copies to take to immigration in Chile to apply for my identification card.

So... 90 days.

I would love to think that our house ordeal will be solved by then, but nothing will shock me now. I may have to go anyway, which isn't ideal in some ways, but may work out just fine, for several reasons, if it comes down to that.


mosey said...

Fingers crossed. And toes. And a shout out to the universe for good measure.

It will be!

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I like your honesty. It's refreshing. I never enjoy all of the tasks and worries involved in such transitions, but I guess it's the only way. Soon you'll move past it all and begin a new adventure. Until then, have fun running around, eating, and spending time with your friends.

anymommy said...

Ninety days. Wow. So Santiago by Christmas or bust, then.

I'm excited for you and I'm wishing you luck, daily, on the house situation sorting itself out. said...

Annje- I know how frustrating the waiting and unknowing is, but things will work out. Is renting the house an option?
Also- you have to enter Chile within 90, but how long do you have to stay here? If things don't work out as planned, could you come for a shorter trip, as in to look for jobs and housing and then return to the US? Aside from the cost of doing that, of course, are there legal issues involved?

Also- very interesting to hear the reactions of others to your move...especially the people who think it's because you want to "escape" from the States!

Margaret said...

oops- que volada... I put the URL on the name line!

Maggie May said...

90 days, so short, so long- that is how i feel about the home stretch of this pregnancy. xo

Eileen said...

we will welcome you with open arms, no matter when you come. Don't forget, you already have lots of new blog friends, and a whole new bus system to figure out. Wishing you all the best with the house!

Danielle said...

I feel your pain! I do hope things are in order within 90 days. Wouldn't that make things more bearable just to know how long the period of suffering would be? Well, good luck. But for now, enjoy cheap tampons while you can!

Marmo said...

I hope everything works out for you and this important change.
Selling the house seems to be the cornerstone of the plan, so I wish you all the energy and patience necessary to get a good deal for it.
Good luck and success.

sarabeck said...

Visa issues are so annoying! That goes for both sides. I'm doing the fiancé visa now for L and we were literally pulling out hair out a few days ago looking at some of those forms and the rules. ARGH!

I hope things go well for you and your visa:)

Kyle said...

Can't you just enter as a tourist and then change the visa when you get here? I can tell you that it does not cost $400 to do it that way.

I can only imagine how sucky it must be to be stuck in limbo. I hate waiting for trips. The anticipation and the wait always kill me. Such a big one must be even harder!

KM said...

interesting to hear you are moving to chile...i've read your blog on and off for a while...i always mean to but then forget (short attention span, i suppose)...very interesting to hear about the reactions though i've gotta same i'm not too surprised. chile seems normal and comfy for you and for me but for most americans it's that weirdo tiny country (if they've ever heard of it)..hope all goes well now. it'll be interesting to hear about your transitioning back to chileno culture especially w/the kids. i wonder if i'll end up back in chile some day...only time will tell. good luck!