One thing I have to say up front, once I got the right paperwork in order the actual process of applying for a reunification visa to Denmark was not nearly as daunting as I expected it to be. However, getting the right paperwork was the challenge.
Tony and I started working on getting all the paperwork we would need for my visa application as soon as he came back to Kansas for the wedding. We looked on the Consulate webpage, downloaded and printed off everything we thought we would need and spent quite a long time filling in every detail with great care and, like Santa, checked our lists twice.
I had more than one copy of our marriage license, my original birth certificate, my new passport with my incredibly long married name, everything we thought could possibly be needed was in a folder and ready to go for my appointment.
I am always worried I’m going to show up late to something important so I always leave well before I really need to. I got to my appointment 30 minutes early. I walked around, went to the bathroom and finally went into the office still 20 minutes early. Luckily the appointment before mine ended early and the woman who was assigned to me let me go back early.
I want to stress something very important here, the woman I dealt with was wonderful! She was so helpful and accommodating. As we started to go over my paperwork she told me the papers Tony and I has so painstakingly filled out months before were in fact the wrong forms. I needed an entirely different set of paperwork. She said I could go home and redo them and come back next week. I was almost in tears. I explained to her that I lived in Kansas and I was just there for the day to meet with her. I asked if there wasn’t a way she could print them out for me and I could go somewhere and fill them out and we could finish this today.
She said there was no way for her to print the paperwork out for me but we would make something work. Taking major pity on me she went ahead and took all the biometrics, fingerprints and photos, and made copies of all the paperwork I had that she did need. I had taken cash with me to pay the visa application fee but I had been wrong on the fee amount. It was almost double what I expected and I couldn’t pay it in cash there, I had to pay it online.
After she did as much as she could she sent me to a local copy shop where I could use a computer and have things printed out. I used a credit card to pay the fee and got a code I would have to give to her to find my files in the computer. In less than an hour I was on my way back to her office with the correct paperwork. She had been planning to leave early that day but stayed late so I could complete my application that day. Let me say again, she was wonderful!
By 4 PM we were finally done and I had my last bit of paperwork done to finally get to move with my husband. Now all that was left to do was wait. After filling out everything the woman at the consulate had said she didn’t think it would take long to get my visa. She guessed maybe 3 to 4 weeks. I was so happy on my drive back to Kansas.
On my way out of town I called Tony’s, and now my, aunt and uncle and said my goodbyes and thanked them again for dinner. I had hoped to get back to Houston to see them again but sadly, I wasn’t able to. After leaving Houston, I called a friend of mine in Dallas, whom I hadn’t seen in about 15 years. We made plans to meet for dinner as I made my way through Dallas on the way home.
My friend Willow (I’m going to call her Willow because if I could rename her I would so give her a hippy name to fit her personality) and I met at a Japanese restaurant and sat for way too long talking. The staff was waiting on us to shut up and leave so they could close. But when two old college friends get together after so long, you have a lot to catch up on.
After we closed down the restaurant, Willow and I stood in the parking lot talking until we were both freezing and just couldn’t stand to be out in the weather anymore. Reluctantly we said our goodbyes and I started on my way home again. From Dallas the drive home to Kansas is about 5 hours. I had made that drive several times in my 20s and was determined I could make it home with no trouble even though I was starting out around midnight after a long day.
I called home and let my family know I was headed that way again and should get home early in the morning. My father told me to stop and just stay the night somewhere. I really didn’t want to pay for another night in a hotel. I had been trying to save every dollar possible for the move to Denmark when it came. My father persisted and said that he would cover the night in a hotel if I would agree to it. I made a deal with him. I would drive and if I got too tired and thought I could not make it home safely I would stop and get a hotel room. I wasn’t about to take any chances that I might fall asleep at the wheel, I mean I had just gotten married and gone through so much in paperwork, fees and solo marathon drives to get to live with my husband I wasn’t about to throw that all away because I wanted to save $50 on a hotel room. Dad finally felt better and I promised I would call him if I was going to stop somewhere.
I was doing good and was very alert until I got to Norman, Oklahoma. Here the weather had turned a bit and fog had set in. I don’t know if you, my readers, have ever tried to drive in fog when you are tired but it can be rather daunting.
I knew the fog was going to do me in and I decided to not push on. I pulled off the highway and stopped at the first hotel I found. I went in to the lobby and there was no one around. I waited for a good 10 minutes and still no one showed up. I had seen about 3 hotels in that same area so I left and went to the next one. The man at the front desk immediately greeted me and got me into a room in less than 10 minutes. Once in my room I called my Dad and let him know I had stopped for the night and would be home the next afternoon. Then I sent a text to my husband.
Laying there that night, I felt wonderful. I had everything done I could do to get my visa and move to Denmark with my husband. I just kept thinking about how I could have my visa in 4 weeks. I would soon be in my own home with my husband. All was right in my world at that moment, as far as I knew.
In the morning, I went down to breakfast but the selection was not great for a vegan. I decided to skip the free continental breakfast and instead headed over to Waffle House. I had never been to one and I figured the odds of there being one in Denmark was slim so I thought I should try it while I had the chance.
If there had been Waffle Houses in Wichita, Kansas, I think I would have gone there at least once a week until I left the US. I had a pecan waffle and grits. Now, I know this seems like a very simple meal but dang if it wasn’t fantastic. Even now writing about this months later, I really want Waffle House again. (On my last trip to Wichita, I did score me a waffle and grits at Ihop but while it was good, it’s just not the same.)
After eating I filled up the car, posted about the wonder of Waffle House on Facebook, and headed home. I made it home in good time and had the rest of the day to relax before I had to go back to work the following day. I didn’t mind work as much when I thought I would only be there a few more weeks. I patently waited the 3 weeks for my visa but nothing came. The lady with the consulate had said 3-4 weeks so I hoped it would come the following week. Still nothing.
I waited a 5th week and still nothing came. Tony and I stayed in constant contact. He was talking to people in Denmark who were trying to help with the process. I finally called the main consulate in NYC and spoke to a lovely lady there. When I told her I was checking on my visa she looked me up in the computer and said my paperwork was on schedule and I should hear something about 3 months from when I filed it. My heart sank. I told her I had been told in Houston that it would be 3-4 weeks. The lady in NYC laughed and said,”Oh no. It will be months, not weeks.” At this point I actually started to cry.
One thing you should know is, I am not usually a crier. I hate crying, it gives me a headache to cry. I would rather wet my pants in public than cry in front of people. But when she told me I would have to wait another two months, being on opposite sides of the planet from my husband, working at a job I had come to despise with at least two people I was beginning to hate with a passion, and I try to never hate anyone, well, I just lost it.
This poor woman really didn’t know what to say. She did try to tell me it wouldn’t be so bad. I was already past the first month and almost halfway through the second month and soon I would have my visa and I would be on my way. I told her thank you and hung up and finished my crying and contacted my husband. I admit I started crying while talking to him too and said he would contact people in Denmark and see if there was anything that could be done there. There was someone who had promised to try to push things through in two months and for a few weeks I had renewed hope, until the second month passed and still no visa.
In the end it did take the full 3 months but to be honest it seemed longer just because I kept getting false hope and would make plans only to have to push everything out again. Part of my frustration in all of this was I kept having to put off quitting my job.
When I had started at my job in 2011 I was thrilled to be working for this company. It was a health-food store that had great ethics and treated it’s employees and customers great, at first. By the time I was married and looking forward to quitting many things had changed. Where I was once a proud employee I couldn’t wait to walk out. I was counting my days until freedom.
Finally, After 3 months I got my notification. My visa had been approved. I was moving to Denmark. In my 46 years of life I had never lived more than 3 hours away from where I was born in Wichita, Kansas. Now I was going to the other side of the world where I knew two people; my husband and a friend who had been a foreign exchange student at my high school my junior year, we had kept in touch all this time and now I was going to move to her country. It’s amazing how things happen.
Next up: closing up my life in the USA