Saturday, July 7, 2012

An Adventure Delayed

Now that I'm on the plane, physically on my way to India, I think I have enough distance from the situation (6,500 miles to be exact) to explain what happened.

In the weeks that followed our big announcement, I was given every reason to believe that I would have a job in our office in Bangalore. Though no one ever specifically garunteed it, it seemed like a pretty sure thing. I was constantly being called into offices and being reassured that progress was being made on securing both a position and a visa. But as the days, weeks and months went by and our departure grew closer and closer, neither a job description nor a work visa had actually materialized. At some point,Tal and I realized we should think about a plan B.

I was really disappointed at first, because in all of my fantasies about what our lives would be like when we finally arrived in India, my job and my coworkers were the only thing I could realistically picture. But I was determined not to let anything get me down.  To distract myself I started to research local non-profit organizations. In no time at all I'd conjured up a whole new set of fantasies about involving myself in interesting, fulfilling volunteer work.

I didn't give up hope on my job, I simply wasn't holding my breath.

And eventually all the days, weeks and months had passed. On June 8th, we found ourselves packing up a car with the odds n' ends that didn't make it into the storage unit, and saying goodbye to our beloved Brooklyn. Though we'd filled every spare moment of the last several weeks with friends and merriment, we spent our last morning quietly wandering our neighborhood, reflecting on how much it had meant to us.

It wasn't until early afternoon when we were already in the car on the way to Tal's parents' house in New England that I even turned my phone on. Since I'd wrapped up work the day before, and all our friends and family knew our plans for the day, I didn't expect to find much of anything but junk mail in my inbox.  

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from my boss that read, 'Welcome back! We've confirmed a position for you in the Bangalore office!'.

In the initial moments after receiving the email, Tal and I were elated! How wonderful that everything was going to work out! And then we realized… I needed a new visa.  Several weeks prior, as part of our plan B, I'd applied for and received a spousal visa -but I wouldn't legally be able to work in India without different documentation.   

After several days and many, many emails with both our offices, we realized that I would have to cancel my flights and wait out a new visa from within the US.  On June 15th, a week after we left NYC, Tal moved on to London (and then India) to start our adventure, and I returned to my parents' house in Upstate New York to wait for the arrival of the paperwork I needed from my company.

After nearly two weeks and a seemingly infinite number of emails, a plan started to take shape. I was beginning to hear about deadlines from my company, instead of just placations.  It was at this point that I decide to gamble a bit.  Despite not yet having any of the documents I needed, I made an appointment for 9am July 2nd, in NYC, to file my visa paperwork. Then I booked a flight to India for July 5th.

Because we are nine and half hours behind Bangalore, I spent every single night after that waking up anxiously, hour after hour, to check my email, hoping the paperwork had come through.

At 5am on the morning of my visa appointment I finally received an email with the documents I needed to file.  At 7am I left my friends' apartment in Brooklyn, and made my way to a Kinkos in Manhattan. At 9am I was in line with 30 or so other nervous looking people, each of us hoping we had everything in order, and would be granted Indian visas.

At 9am the next day I received a cryptic text message from the consulate saying that I could come pick up my documents that very afternoon. I was cautiously hopeful that this meant I'd received my visa.

It would only be a slight exaggeration to say that that was the longest day of my life. But at 4:30pm I was ushered back up the steep stairway to the visa office and sure enough, I was handed back my passport, stamped with a work visa, valid for one year. 

"Ecstatic" wouldn't even begin to describe how was ( I am still...) feeling.

So here I am, one month after I moved out of NYC, three weeks after I said goodbye to Tal, and I SWEAR several gray hairs richer- on a Lufthansa flight to Bangalore. 

Just wait till you hear THAT story…

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