Times, they are a-changin’

23 07 2009

Already, I’ve had a change of plans. My flight schedule was just sent to me, and now I get to have a night out with my other Fulbrighters in Singapore! Getting in contact on Facebook with many of the other grantees was a great plan, since now I’m chatting and getting to know some of the people who are about to embark on the same journey as me. They’re also sharing experiences with visa applications and tips and tricks they’ve gotten from other people.

5 week countdown starts tomorrow!

Here’s a visual representation of how long my flights are going to be:Pacific Rim travel map

Off to hang out with mom and Hannah in West Linn. Softball weekend 😀


All I have to say is…

21 07 2009

something full of shouted profanities…

Especially if I see something like this pair.

I’m pretty sure I’d scream through all the “little kid earmuffs” that I’ve managed to censor myself.

Official, official, official!

17 07 2009

I got my flight itinerary today.

About an hour after receiving word of the explosions at the Ritz and another “Western” chain hotel in Jakarta. It’s on the same island, so I’m a little worried. I’m not sure what Fulbright would do if the US dept. flagged the country with a travel warning. Still nervous.

Here’s what my flights there are going to look like:

Friday, August 28th, 10:21 AM:
Portland to San Francisco

San Fran to Hong Kong

Hong Kong to Singapore

Singapore to Jakarta,

arriving at 10:35 AM on Sunday, August 30th.

I’m gonna need books and a metric ton of Sudoku puzzles.

The appreciation starts now.

11 07 2009

I have to say, I’m already loving Indonesia for the simplicity behind getting a long-term/limited-stay visa.

Let’s compare notes here, shall we? You’ve all probably heard from either myself or my family about the absolute gut-wrenching hell it was getting just a student visa to Spain. I’m about to get what equates to a work visa with what appears to be less trouble than getting just the criminal background check for a Spanish visa.

Requirements for Indonesia’s Limited Stay work visa:

  • Valid passport with at least 1 blank page.
  • Flight itinerary, estimated
  • Authorizations provided by host business (I have nothing to do with it.)
  • Letter of purpose of travel
  • Letter of invitation from “sponsor”
  • Completed application (name, address, etc.)
  • 2 passport photos
  • Self addressed, express stamped envelope.

Total processing time: 3 business days plus shipping time.

Now let’s take a look at the Student Visa to Spain… Dear god.

  • Apply in person in nearest consulate office. (In my case: San Francisco.)
  • Make an appointment with said consulate up to 4 months in advance.
  • Medical and psychological clearance sign by physicians.
  • Criminal history report.
  • Proof of support (minimum of $2200 per month. This must be notarized.)
  • Completed application. 6 pages… really?!?
  • Passport AND other forms of ID.
  • Proof of acceptance to a university or study program.
  • Proof of paid medical insurance.
  • Round trip itinerary. (But then they say don’t purchase tickets. How do you have an itinerary without tickets?)
  • 3 passport photos

Total processing time, 4-6 weeks after all documents have been submitted.

All I have to say is “Viva la Indonesia!”
Especially since most of the work is done on the administrative end, and not on my side. I appreciate that.

Paperwork is not one of my hobbies. Folding paper cranes, however, is.

Here it goes again!

10 07 2009

Mad rush preparations for a school year in Surabaya, Indonesia. I am truly my mother’s child. It’s all her fault for giving me the “wait until the last minute” genes. Lucky for me, I get the “what consequences?” attitude gene from my father. Makes for an interesting life.

I’m already seeing a slight lack of communication with my contact in Indonesia, but I’ve come to expect last minute details, especially since that’s how this whole thing came to be. I was an alternate for Fulbright to go there on an English Teaching Assistantship, but in the good old US of A, “maybe” usually means “no,” so I made plans to live in Suzhou, China, teaching in a middle school. I was STOKED to live in China. It was going to be one of those epic adventures to a socialist/communist country like those that I’ve been having and loving every minute.

Just kidding, Dani. Change of plans.

Here’s the scene:

Just after 8 PM on a Thursday. “Business hour” offices are already closed. My cell phone starts its obnoxious screaming. (That’s what you get for $10 from AT&T. A ringtone that never changes.) I had been frantically trying to reset the unpredictable wireless internet from my sister’s bedroom so that I could skype chat with “Echo”, my contact in China who had been sending my resume to schools and found me 3 different jobs. Nice to know I have options!

Anyway, teh interwebs is not always my friend. I was about 15 minutes late for the scheduled chat when the phone started screeching. Well, I couldn’t find it right away, and as I opened it, missed call and all, I saw that the number of the caller had about 6 extra digits. Definitely not American…interesting. How did Echo get my cell number so fast? Then the house phone rang. Mom answered and passed it off. I almost said “Hi Echo,” but the caller definitely beat me to the punch. “Hello Danielle, my name is Nellie and I am calling from Indonesia on behalf of Fulbright.”

I just about had a heart attack right there. Are they going to give me that “thanks for applying, but…no.” gentle letdown? Nope. Not today. I was so lucky to get the “Are you still interested in going to Indonesia?” question. Thank God for that question! Allah and Buddha, too!

Now I’ve been looking at visa stuff… hooray. As long as it isn’t like dealing with the Spanish consulate in San Francisco, which was less enjoyable than pulling perfectly healthy teeth sans anesthetic. I’m trying not to be as last minute this time. And by that I mean I’ll be leaving the country on time on this go-round.

Google search “Surabaya, Indonesia.” That’s where I’ll be for the next year. And I’m going to make it my goal to figure out what everyone is trying to say on the “official” Surabaya city government page (just try it!), and maybe send in some edits. Just ask my bosses at Kyllo’s, I’m the one who points out all the format errors on the menus.

Speaking of food… I was thoroughly distracted by that google search I suggested to you all. “Food in Indonesia” is also a good one. Some of it looks rather interesting. I must say that I’m happy to be on the east side of Java, as it mentions that West Java often cooks things in fresh blood of pigs or goats. I’m up for anything, but I might have to wait a while to try that. It took me a couple weeks to eat the whole shrimp my host mom Nané would cook in the Spanish Paella. Crunchy.

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