Thursday, May 31, 2012

and from left field, Plan C succeeds!

Plan A: From the beginning this one was the least desirable. It involved an airplane taking off on Monday, June 11 with Xian and Krista while Sage and I hung out together at home. Then, whenever Sage's passport + visa came through, we would hope to find a plane and join them in the States.

Plan B: Try to sneak Sage into AIT (US not-an-embassy in Taiwan) with Xian and beg for a 2-for-1 special on visas. AIT has lots of guards outside that require appointment papers to get in.

Last night at 8:00 Plan B was our best option though Plan A was more probable even though Sage's passport had been processed in record time. $30 (US) put her passport in the express lane and it was returned to us in 24-hours.
Passport Photo
The US visa system in Taiwan is a money making machine. Every 15 minutes, there are 150 possible appointments. Do the math if each visa is a bit more than $150...An appointment system constantly shows available slots. After racing home with Sage's freshly printed passport, we logged on to the system and snagged the soonest possible date: June 6. The anticipated wait time for a visa was posted as nine business days. Plan A here we come.

A bit disappointed, we schemed the possibilities of Plan B while constantly checking the appointment system. Suddenly, it popped up. An appointment for tomorrow morning! Click, click click and the slot was ours - 8:00 in the morning. Xian's appointment was scheduled for 9:00 am, which gave us enough time to take the high speed train to Taipei from Taichung. The first train gets into Taipei at 7:30 so the 8:00 appointment was just too close. We had to drive.

The buzzer at 3:00 am seemed to come a bit early this morning and Audrey looked especially disgruntled on her short walk. We packed the sleeping girls into the Freeca and after a few groans peaceful slumber resumed. The drive north was uneventful and quite quick. We arrived with plenty of time for a walk and some breakfast before joining the queue in front of AIT.

Tucking Xian's appointment behind Sage's, we got both girls into the building and through the multiple paperwork checks. Once inside, AIT representatives were quite friendly and often pulled us up through the line. A bit nervous, we finally approached the interview window. Would we be told that our June 11 flight was a dream? Krista had done an amazing job getting all of our paperwork in order and we were soon being told that the courier service would have the girls' passports returned (with visas!) by next week.
Woohoo! We're heading home!!!

In other exciting, but unrelated news, Xian is working on her teeth. They are already quite sharp!

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