Friday, January 29, 2010

Tentative Departure Date: February 20th

Okay, now I'm getting very anxious.

USIEF, administering Fulbright-Nehru in India, are arranging our initial transportation. They plan for us to leave Chicago on February 20th. Now all is becoming too real. And we're talking about only 23 days!

There is so much to do, both to get ready and to prepare here for being away for so long. I am overwhelmed... and excited, but mostly overwhelmed.

To calm myself, after napping, I did a not-entirely-necessary India-related task and added the map you'll see at the bottom of the page. Though I can't promise to update it - I'm not entirely sure I understand how or the time necessary - I'll do my best.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And the countdown continues: Visas

Just got an email saying C's visa has been approved and is on it's way home. Mine arrived last Friday.

For me to do my project in India, I needed a research visa. The paperwork for this is pretty amazing, took several days to get it all together. Then there were the nine copies of everything, plus the original. Amazing volume of stuff. But I don't really know how these things are done.

C needs an entry visa, rather than a tourist visa. This is only possible for Indian nationals or dependents accompanying family holding a longer visa (i.e., research, employment). Though we applied for both visas simultaneously, C's was "put on hold," pending my approval.

I'm so impressed with the service that has been contracted to process visa applications for the Indian government. Travisa Outsourcing, based in Chicago, not only processed the visas thoroughly efficiently, but when I had a query, someone answered the phone after only one - count 'em one - menu item.

Then there are the Chicago Embassy folks.  When there was a question about my application, a gentleman called me to clarify. (How many times have you had complex forms returned when a simple question would have taken care of the matter? I can't count how often it's happened to me.) Now there's a courtesy one doesn't see every day. I was so stunned by the call, I forgot to ask the gentleman's name. I'd like to thank him again.

The Countdown Begins

Things are coming together - though there are still so many things to do, so many things to decide, so many things to plan, so many things to be approved, so many details, so many things to do, so many things ....

Imagining M & C beginning the adventure