Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Nothing We Can Do, But Pray
Today has been a difficult day. Let me give some background. We got our court date and travel information last Tuesday. I put our visa application in the mail on Wednesday. It was going to the Russian consulate office in Houston via a processing agency in Houston. We live in a tiny town. We do not have FedEx offices or UPS offices. We have a post office. In general that is not a problem. In fact I have known our postal workers all my life and I trust them completely. They said the express mail could not be guaranteed overnight to Houston, but it could arrive on Friday. That was plenty of time. Friday I checked the tracking number and it showed an attempted delivery on Thursday. "Great!" right? It was ahead of schedule. Then no more action happened on the tracking number again. Yesterday I started by calling the visa processing place in Houston. No package. Then I tried the postal service 800 number. Maybe it was being delivered, but I could schedule a redelivery for today, Tuesday. Then I tracked down the actual post office in Houston where the package was sent. Call back tomorrow and we will find out for you. This morning at 9:30 the package had still not arrived and nothing was updated on the tracking number. I called the post office again. The package was not in the office. It might be on the carrier's truck. They would call me back. By this point I was panicking. I had a field trip and needed to leave in about 10 minutes. I gave JJ all the phone numbers, but before I left the post office called back. Our package was in the truck and was on it's way to be delivered. That crisis was enough, but it wasn't over. The nice lady, and she genuinely seems to be nice, at the visa process center informed me that the consulate was not processing visas in the previously offered 3-day "hurry up this is an emergency" mode unless it was truly an emergency. She didn't think we could get our visas back on time. With all this happening I left with 18 preschoolers to sing at a nursing home and eat at McDonald's. JJ carried the burden for most of the day. I came home to find no change. He could not get in touch with the right person at the consulate. The only positive thing that occurred was our agency sending a fax to the consulate to verify our "emergency" status. I was able to speak with someone at the consulate who told me if we had said fax sent that yes we could get our paperwork sped up and completed by Friday. Oh, why not Monday? Because Monday is a Russian national holiday so nothing will happen that day. It has to be done by Friday! We are flying out Tuesday morning at 5:30am from a town that is a four hour drive from our home. So, we have nothing to do but pray. Which is actually the most powerful thing we can do. Please join us! I will try to update tomorrow when we know more.