The Airport (Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself)

So, after a 6+ plus hour flight with a child screaming 90% of the time, an older man and young man almost coming to blows over whose arm was touching whom’s on the armrest, I arrived in London.  Tired cold, but belly full:-) Changed in London for my 2 1/2 hours flight to Madrid. More food and more anxiety.  I am concerned about what is going to happen when I get to immigration.  Will I be like be looked at suspiciously, asked about my “documentation” and when I stutter, thrown on the marble floor, handcuffed put on the next flight leaving for the US or disappeared into a Spanish jail.  I think I have seen too many movies or heard stories about this happening to people trying to get into the US without proper documentation.

As these things ponder my mine in my long travels to the immigration checkpoint I become distracted from my worries by the beautiful Madrid airport, its clean environment and the beautiful Christmas tree.  Heck, by the time I got to immigration 1/2 hour later I had almost forgot I was suppose to be nervous.  I watched the African in line in front of me get given the once, twice and three times over. Trying to answer questions he apparently barely understood. I lost track of what happened to him as I was signaled to leave the “non-EU” line I was in to come over to the line for citizens of the EU. I was called up to the counter.

I presented my US passport and … Nothing, Nada, no questions about how long was I going to be in Spain, what my reasons for coming where. AS I walked away from teh smiling immigration officer I wondered: “Is this what being free is like???”

Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Visa Saga

I have come to have a profound respect and deep sympathy for those who jump through all the legal hoops to come to the US for a visit, tourism, school, work, or just to be someplace different then where they are.  I have been trying to process paperwork for three weeks for my sabbatical.  Every time I have been to the Spanish Embassy-traveling to Washington, DC from Leesburg, VA– there is another form or another piece of paperwork I need.  This does not include the wrong form sent to me before going in and finding out that was the wrong form. So let’s go through a brief list:

Financial Statetments

Medicial Clearance

Police Good Conduct

Proof of Health Insurance

Invitation from university In Spain

Did I mention that all this had to be translated in Spanish?

After being translated into Spanish the English and Spanish versions had to be notarized.

After being notarized they had to have a “hague apostille” seal

Did, I mention all this cost money to do?

And since I am taking my daughter this all has to be multiplied by two, plus permission from her mother to take her to Spain.

And as difficult as this process has been, it is more arduous for those trying to come to the US.

If you have come to the US from another country please post your comment about what it took to get to the US.

Published in: on December 5, 2009 at 7:27 am  Leave a Comment