I just wanted to make a special shout out and give a big thank you to Stefan for thinking of me when he wound up with an extra ticket to the FC Barcelona vs Milan game the other day! By convenient timing everything worked out and I got to see, in person, BCN whoop on Milan in the presence of some 100,000 enthusiastic fans. The energy was excellent and it was everything I hoped it would be…and more…much like everything else has been since I’ve arrived here. So, thank you again Stefan, looking forward to meeting up with you again sometime soon – I still owe you a drink or two! Oh, and by the way, big thank you also to Keith, InternationalStudent.com president, for giving me the heads up on Stefan’s offer! Would have been clueless had you not stepped up and shot me an email, so thank you for being proactive!
Ok, now to change the subject, I need to provide a quick update. Blanca became a citizen two weeks ago and applied immediately for her passport. Some of you (not sure who makes up most of the audience here) may know about the mess/joke that the US passport process has become as of late. If you’re not familiar, basically homeland security decided to implement new laws affecting US citizens that require us to have a passport when traveling to areas that previously hadn’t required one. They decided to push this new law without ever taking the time to calculate the increased demand (which has nearly doubled) and see if they even had the staff in place to absorb such an increase. Heaven forbid they take such petty thoughts into consideration, but alas, the result has produced tens of thousands of horror stories, no doubt.
What happened was, as passport applications picked up speed, the people processing couldn’t keep up. This created a backlog, pushing normal processing times back from 1-2 months, to 2-3 months. Seeing this, most people then began applying for an expedited passport, which used to take only 1-2 weeks. Now that everyone essentially stopped applying the traditional way and has begun to only apply expedited, that process has also slowed to an average of 2-6 weeks…additionally pushing traditional processing back even further to 3-4 months. And all this just in time to catch Blanca when she needs her passport processed ASAP.
So, just what is my “New Quick Update?” Well, I don’t know if I need to attribute this to divine intervention or what (much like Blanca being allowed to take her oath of citizenship the day she took the test) but her passport processed, amid all this mess, in eleven days and she received it on Tuesday! How that happened, again, I don’t know, but we are oh so grateful that it did and now it is time for her to apply for her Spanish visa. I will provide another update after her appointment Friday, hope it will be a happy one!
Ok, thus concludes my “quick” update!