Visa Troubles

We thought we had it all covered. We checked and double checked with multiple people in multiple offices last year before heading back to the states. They all said the same thing…”No problem.” That should have been our first clue that something wasn’t right.

We knew that our visa would expire while we were in the states. That is not a good thing to have happen. So…before we left, David went to the gov’t offices and asked for either an extension or for permission to do all the paperwork for a new visa before we left China. Everyone said those options were not possible, but don’t worry. (Travelers hint #1 – always worry when a foreign government tells you there is nothing to worry about.) We could come back on a tourist visa and change to the business visa after we arrived back in country. (Travelers hint #2 – really, really worry when the solution to your problem isn’t solved by the person you are speaking with but will take place sometime in the future with some unknown person.)

So, silly us. We came back on the visas we were instructed to come back on and when we went to have them changed…we were told that it is no longer possible. Not only is it not possible, but we should have known this before we left last year. ?!?!? We now have 48 hours to leave the country to renew our tourist visas once again. (Our tourist visas are 1 year, but you have to leave every 90 days which can get really expensive.) (Travelers hint #3 – always have extra cash on hand and paperwork ready so you can leave the country quickly if necessary.)

Thank goodness we were able to get all 6 of us on the same flight to S. Korea. Friends of ours have been trying to get flights for a smaller group for over a week and all flights have been booked. We leave tomorrow morning and return to Yanji in about 4 days. (Travelers hint #4 – travel light, be flexible, and, most importantly, keep your sense of humor. Trust me on this one, we’ve lost ours a couple of times during the past week. Not fun!)

Everyone has their backpack packed, dogs (ours and the one we are dog sitting) are at the kennel, weekend events are all canceled, meetings being set up in SK with friends, and our house is in order, sort of. Come on…I am definitely not wonder woman!

We may still be required to leave for a month to get our visas completely switched, but at least it won’t be during the busiest time of year and we will have time to collect all the documents needed to start the process over from scratch.
The greatest comfort in all of this is knowing that even when we are shocked, surprised, and unprepared for what our host country might throw at us (Traveler’s hint #5 – if you stay in a foreign country long enough, you will be shocked, surprised, and unprepared for some things that country will throw at you.), we know that our Father is never caught off guard and is always prepared and ready to help us through it all.

~ Regina

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5 Responses to Visa Troubles

  1. Oh, come one! I was totally prepared for this…you know it. 🙂

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  2. Well, I have learned that nothing surprises God, but never in such a big way! Wow…
    Isn’t it awesome that you started out in Korea, so that you have friends there still? THAT is such a ‘GOD THING!’ 🙂 He has everything in place, knows all we need and when we need it, and (yes) will put us to the test of trusting Him in those times that totally take US by surprise. What a comfort! I love it that He provided a flight all 6 of you could be on TOGETHER, when many others have had a hard time booking flights! And, though you would love to have the boys with you right now, imagine how much tougher it would have been to book for 8 of you! God’s timing is truly perfect, for He knew you would have to face this.

    I agree that you have GOT to try and keep a sense of humor about things every once and awhile. Otherwise, (at least I can) we can tend to “blow our tops!” ;p And to think that my tense day that pushed me to rely on a sense of humor was my first day of classes this week! Misplacing my thumb drive, having to drag along the laptop (and everything but the kitchen sink), having that “winging it’ feeling, and then knocking over my Pepsi all over the table 10-15 min. into my first class (last part was what brought out my sense of humor and made me just laugh at the whole thing) is NOT nearly a comparable story to yours!

    The funny thing about my tiny experience (SO tiny, in comparison to your visa troubles) is that one of the students commented, “Wow. You handled that so well! I would have been unable to keep going!” Of course, you have to keep in mind that she’s probably all of 18, a freshman in college, and may never have traveled out of state! ;p Plus, I thought it was funny that the reason I knocked over my drink was to try and figure out who a latecomer was and where he was supposed to ACTUALLY be. He insisted he was in the right room because he wrote it down. Thankfully, there is a computer in each room, and I could easily look up his course and section number to find out where he should REALLY be….while he helped mop up the Pepsi! :p

    Did I make you laugh at ALL with this story? It was kinda my goal to do so. Will certainly be praying for safe travels for all, for all of the Visa paperwork to go smoothly, and for time well spent with friends in S. Korea. 🙂
    BTW, the “lost student” left his spiral notebook in that classroom. I had to look up his class (must have JUST registered late b/c I couldn’t find his name on a student search to email him) and email his instructor to let him know where he could find his notebook. It was still in the office suite I share with other adjuncts when I went in for office hours yesterday. ;p

    Prayers and blessings to you all,
    Sherry

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    • Choosingjoynow says:

      Nothing is trivial. Each of us has our own trials and our own burdens. Each one is significant in our lives or we wouldn’t consider them trials. 🙂 Our Father gives us the strength and grace we need to face each moment. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget that His strength is available.

      Thanks for the fun story.

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  3. liberty92 says:

    I so feel your pain. My blood pressure went up a bit just reading about it! Thank you for enduring to get The Message out. Lifting up the family, K & LA

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  4. Regina,
    Noticing just how wordy I am, and how much I can ramble on! 🙂 Yes, I do know that each has his/her own tests/trials of varying degrees. So true! It was my hope that you would find it a “fun story” in the midst of your trial of frustration/chaos. 🙂
    And, I do think you are just about the closest thing to wonder woman in this scenario! 🙂
    Sherry

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