Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Visa Catastrophe

In my GYLC blog, I mentioned an incident that I have dubbed ‘The Visa Catastrophe’ and promised that I would post a full blog on it soon.

The time has come, young ones.

Warning: The following story is an entirely true account of the events of Friday, 20 June 2014. Content may be stress-inducing to those who are about to travel/are currently travelling. Stay safe.

My parents are probably going to hate me even more for posting this, and the people who know us personally may, too, because I swear my mother has told the account in excruciating detail to every single person we know. Multiple times.


The Victim's Account:

It is the morning of Friday, 20 June 2014, and a teeny tiny piece of poo hits the proverbial fan in my house when I wake up in a frenzy, having realized that my American visa should and would still be in my old passport. It is the day before I am scheduled to leave for GYLC, and I have planned everything down to the last band aid I might need if I happen to get mauled by a rabid squirrel (you never know). I have no idea where my old passport is, but this is largely due to the fact that my parents (ironically) insist on keeping all of our passports in case we lose them. Ha. That turned out well.

Fifteen minutes until I have to leave for school, and we still haven’t found it. I am close to tears, the house is a mess, my dad is throwing a fit, and my mom decides to come in with the only piece of calm advice that I foolishly trust and allow to subdue me by a fraction.

“Don’t worry, sweetie. It must be somewhere, because I checked your visa when you asked me to.”

So I am hauled off to school, still slightly freaked out and tearful and ready to climb back into bed. It would be just so fitting that I have an English unprepared speech and a Maths test scheduled for that Friday, and the frame of mind I am in doesn’t exactly help me with mentally preparing for either of those very well.

Fast forward to 10:00. At this point, a slightly larger piece of poo hits the proverbial fan. It’s the end of tea break and I’m about to walk into my Maths test when I see my dad’s car in the parking lot. Not good, for two reasons. Firstly: my dad never comes to our school during the day. Ever. I think it has something to do with him being freaked out by education in general. Secondly: on the odd occasion that my dad did decide to come to my school in the middle of the day, it would probably be because I was in trouble. Of course, the second option is extremely unlikely, seeing as I pretty much have a the reputation of a nun at school, but it still didn’t fail to cross my mind that maybe I’d been expelled for something. I don’t even know what I’d be expelled for. Like I said before: nun status.

Anyway, my dad found me right before I went into my test, and decided that just then was the perfect time to tell me that they’d found my visa, but it had expired four years ago. Four years.

Flashback to that morning: “It must be somewhere, because I checked your visa when you asked me to.”

Flashback to December: “Mom, please check that my visa will still be valid.”

Flashback to January: “Mom, you said my visa’s valid, right?”

Flashback to February: “Amy, for crying out loud, I said I checked your visa! Stop being paranoid!”

Flashback to March: “Amy, I swear if you ask me if I checked your visa one more time I’ll send you to an orphanage.”

Flashback to April: “Amy, I’m going to send your visa through the shredder if you ask me to check it one more time.”

Flashback to May: “Amy, I’m sending you to a psychologist if you don’t stop being so paranoid. I said I checked your visa.”

*sound of a nuclear explosion in my head*

*cue the waterworks*

Turns out that my mom actually just checked her own visa instead of mine, and assumed mine would also be valid until the end of 2015… Not so much.

(I got out of my unprepared speech, for the record, because I was in ‘an unfit state of mind’. Shoutout to my spokesperson. You know who you are.)

Fast forward to 14:30. Elephant poo gets chucked at the proverbial fan continually for about forty-eight hours straight. I get home, climb out the car, and pretty much don’t stop crying until Monday morning.

A Happy Ending:

For the whole of Friday, my parents were on the phone to the American Embassy trying to get me an emergency appointment for an emergency visa. Eventually, my dad got hold of what he assumes was actually the C.I.A. and begged them to get me an appointment. I received one for Monday morning at 7:30.

The appointment was literally fifteen minutes. I walked in at like 7:10, went through a bizarre security check, got my name called at 7:30 and talked to a really nice woman for approximately three minutes. She told me to collect my visa that afternoon. I hopped on a plane that evening, and made it to GYLC by lunchtime on Tuesday.

Lessons I learned from this experience:
  1. 1.     Always check your own visa.
  2. 2.     Paranoia is always a good thing.
  3. 3.     Crying gets you everywhere in life.
  4. 4.     Don’t try and take an mp3 player into the American Embassy. They will assume it’s a bomb.

Plus side to the Visa Catastrophe: If I want to run away, I can go to America first and it will take my parents months to be able to follow me because I am now the only person in my entire family with a valid American Visa until 2024. Also, given my family’s apparent unpreparedness for even the most planned-for situations, it will take them years to be able to catch up with me anyway.

(Note: Please don’t think I hate my parents. We’re on good terms now, especially seeing as they righted everything that went wrong. They’ve also done a lot of sucking up since… Also, I’m now semi-officially the new leader of our house. And they’re paying for my new band merchandise because they feel guilty. It’s been a great life since I got back.)


  1. :D Love it Amy!!! So cool to hear your version of events! :)

  2. Trust me, Amy I heard this story in great detail, but your version is far more entertaining and amusing (not that it was an entertaining ordeal to endure). Well done for surviving and writing such a great blog. Love you.