Finally. We have our visas.
Things seemed pretty certain for the last few weeks, but we knew from past experience that what seems certain isn’t necessarily certain. For our first visa we got a call telling us the letter was written and ready to be sent; somehow they failed to tell us the letter denied our visa. I didn’t want to repeat the emotional roller-coaster of waiting for a visa for a year, feeling certain you have it, and then losing it. From a lack of faith I decided not to get my hopes up until I saw the visa in the passport; sounds a little like my brother, doesn't it? Well, it’s a curious thing, holding an answer to prayer literally in your hands.
Dad bought some mitthai (sweets) and took them to the visa man for their last conversation. Don’t worry. He wasn't bribing, but was giving a normal gesture in this culture. When Mom got pulled over for driving a man car (don’t ask) the policeman asked if he could come over to our house and have chai. Since friendship is more important than tasks Dad definitely did the right thing when he brought mitthai and later, when we had the visas, he bought the man a shirt for his services. Well, that was the plan. But at the store the man casually observed that he needed a pair of thick pants—after all, he planned to take his kid to the mountains so that they could see snow in person. Dad asked the man if he needed some long underwear as well. So in the end Dad bought the man his long johns, and his pants, and his shirt, and went home with our four passports in his pocket.
So many blessings are packed in this one little piece of paper that I can hardly verbalize it all. The most immediate one is that we can all unwind a little; after all, not being certain where you’ll live in the next month—fairly certain, but not completely certain—can drive a man crazy. The next most immediate blessing is that we all get to go to T-land so Mom and Dad can get to enjoy a well deserved holiday (my bro and I get to enjoy it too, but we don’t deserve it as much as they do). Mom’s excited that she can get on an airplane for the first time in three months, and I’m not sure whether I should be excited about the trip or disturbed that three months without travelling is an unbearably long time. Going to T-land won’t prevent us from enjoying Christmas here, however. Dad’s already invited some of his friends to come over this week and celebrate a premature holiday; next week we get to celebrate with our friends in K-city. Then we'll flight out on Christmas day and spend three fat lazy weeks in T-land.
For me this visa provides an extra blessing. When I'm in college I get to go to my parent's house two times a year and never have apply for an additional visa. And if I feel like it, I still have a year after college that I can spend in South Asia. Of course that's still quite a while away, but because of God's perfect timing it's definitely possible.