Bombed By Bureaucracy
Our family holiday plans are in tatters. Darling Man’s Schengen visa application was rejected.
We don’t quite know what to do next. There was a note stuck to Darling Man’s passport saying he needs to apply for a Schengen visa in his home country. We are not even sure if anyone looked at his application, or just saw the colour of his passport and sent it away.
What kind of madness is this? Isn’t the local French Embassy the liaison point of the French government, no matter where you are from?
It’s bureaucracy gone mad. And it smacks of racism.
As a result of this blind unfairness, we’ve had to cancel Darling Man’s flights and book him on a plane back to Vietnam. He will reapply for a visa there and hopefully we will be able to reunite as a family somewhere in Europe.
But the holiday I have been dreaming of and planning for more than a year won’t happen.
The holiday was supposed to be Darling Man’s reward for his house-husbanding efforts of the past two years and my reward for setting up location independent work. It was supposed to renew our romance, in the cobbled streets of Paris and along the backroads of Provence as we cycled past Medieval villages and fields of lavender and sunflowers. It was supposed to be a wonderfully bonding family time.
And it seems we are powerless to make that planned holiday happen. Even though things were organised and booked and paid for.
I will take Miss M to France, with a two-night stopover in Cairo. There will be no tag-team toddler wrangling on the plane. There will be no one to watch Miss M while I catch up on sleep, because I can’t sleep on planes and I am a MONSTER when I don’t get enough sleep.
I am scared about the flights, about arriving in Cairo exhausted and battling the touts and scam artists at the airport. I dread Miss M’s tearful pleas for her daddy. I am going to be so lonely in our home exchange villa near Marseille. And I am not sure I am brave enough to tackle our planned month-long cycle tour without the designated mechanic, who also happens to be my best friend.
I don’t want to go to France alone. But if I don’t go now – and take the chance that Darling Man can join us – I’m not sure when we will ever again have the opportunity to go. Darling Man wants to go back to work, a desire that will give him the standard Vietnamese 10 days of annual leave a year.
This visa problem is also bloody expensive. Excuse my French. But we were already on a tight budget and now we have lost money on his flights to France – we don’t know how much yet – and we have the extra expense of Darling Man’s flights to Vietnam, and then if he is able to get a visa, the cost of new flights to Europe. And then there’s the cost of reuniting once he’s in France.
We can’t actually do anything now. We are hard up against Songkran, the Thai New Year holiday, as well as the rest of the world’s Easter break. (There’s no Easter eggs in the shops here, so I only have a note in my diary to remind me it’s Good Friday this Friday.)
If we somehow do manage to pull off this European family holiday, at the end of it we will be flying back to Asia separately.
I really need to get over this self-pity and start looking forward to what I am determined will be a wonderful adventure. Just not the adventure I had planned.
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12 years ago