Third time's the charm, right?
In my last blog post, my fingers were crossed, hoping that my FBI background check would come back from the FBI-approved channeler in time for my proxy's consulate visit on Wednesday, August 9th.
CONSULATE VISIT: ROUND 1
I received an email from the channeler at around noon on Monday, August 7th, with the FBI background check, printed it out on tamper-proof paper, and rushed to the UPS store to overnight it to Utah, where my proxy was at the moment. The "next day air" truck had already left for the day, so it was impossible to get the tamper-proof copy to my proxy on time. (If I had shipped it with next day air on Tuesday for a delivery time of 8:30 am on Wednesday, the cost would've been $70, too steep for me and cutting it way too close. The consulate appointment was at 9:40 am.)
I then asked my Tzell agent if it was absolutely necessary for the FBI background check to be printed on tamper-proof paper. She said it should be acceptable if it was printed on regular paper.
I attached the FBI background check to another email to my proxy on Tuesday and hoped they'd get it printed in time.
On Thursday, I asked how the consulate visit went. I received a reply back that the proxy didn't go. I still haven't been told why.
CONSULATE VISIT: ROUND 2
My district's outbound coordinator started contacting Rotarians in California to see if they'd be willing to act as my proxy. A gentleman in Fresno said he could do it, but he was on a strict schedule and could only do it on Wednesday, August 16th, at 9:40 am.
I sent the FBI background check, a new proxy permission slip, and the consulate visit receipt to him on Monday with Next Day Air delivery. It arrived on 10:30 am on Tuesday, in time.
The proxy from the August 9th consulate visit attempt still had the bulk of my visa application documents. I gave her the address of the new proxy and she shipped the documents to him via FedEx on Monday, with an expected delivery date of Tuesday, at 10:30 am.
On Tuesday, I received a vague email inquiring as to why my passport wasn't in the packet I shipped. It never was supposed to be in my packet. It was supposed to be in the FedEx packet the old proxy shipped. It was past 10:30 am on Tuesday, the FedEx packet was supposed to have been delivered to the new proxy already, but he'd never received it.
My passport and all my other papers were lost.
They wouldn't confirm it. If the passport was indeed lost, I'd have to apply for new one and wait another 2-3 weeks to get the new one back. They wouldn't confirm that my passport was gone, but I jumped to the conclusion, and my brain went into panic mode. I decided to sleep on it.
The next morning, after my brain imploded from worry, and the adults made calls to FedEx to try and find my papers, a FedEx package arrived on my doorstep.
Inside the package was the now slightly-beat-up manila envelope I had originally given to the August 9th proxy. All of my documents were in there, and most importantly, so was my passport.
CONSULATE VISIT: ROUND 3
Now we're up to speed. They have found another Rotarian willing to act as my proxy. I sent her all of the paperwork today. The delivery date is Tuesday, August 22nd. After she gets it, she'll schedule a consulate visit that works for her and deliver the papers.
After they've been delivered to the consulate (we've never been able to make it this far, the third time's the charm, right?) the papers will be processed and the visa will be issued or denied. When it is ready, someone (not me, probably the proxy again) will have to pick it up and ship it back to me.
As soon as that visa is in my hands I will shoot an email to my Tzell travel agent and she will book my flight to Brazil.
The worst part about all of this is that the other Alaskan outbounds from my district are already in their host countries. Brazil exchange student inbounds were expected to be shipped off considerably early, compared to other countries, but I guess I'm a little slow. It has been cool talking to the outbounds that are already in their host countries though. They are seeing the world and we are casually chatting about it. It's the new normal for me, and I love it.
Every day I'm in Alaska is one less day I get to spend in Brazil...which sucks.....a lot.
My inbound coordinator emailed and said inbounds can stay in Brazil until June 30th, which means even if I leave on September 1st, I will only be in Brazil for 10 months. So much for a year long exchange.
School has started again. It started on the 14th. Everyone my age is starting their senior year of high school.
I'm trying to make the most of the time I have left in Alaska. I've been on road trips, spent time with some good friends, and I'm going to my high school's football game tonight at 7pm.
I'll be here for the Alaska State Fair. I'm excited for that.
As with anything, there are ups and downs.
I'll appreciate every second I'm in Brazil.