ENTRY 1254 | February
to Ireland took off from San Francisco Airport twenty minutes ago
(as I begin writing this), but as you might guess, I'm not on it.
On February 13 I
received a letter from the British Consulate in New York asking me
to send a new photo for my visa, which I did the same day, sending
it via an overnight letter from the post office (with postage of $19.95).
I also enclosed, as the consulate requested, a money order to cover
the expense of their overnight letter to send my visa back to me.
There have been 15 overnights since then and I've waited each following
morning for my visa, including this morning (I could have left for
the airport as late as the noon hour) but it has not come.
And the visa
is a stamp (I'm presuming) that the consulate rubber stamps into my
passport, so for that reason I also had to send them my US passport,
and without your passport, you can't board an international flight.
I've tried calling the consulate but the machine that answers calls
to the "published" number informs callers that no information
about visa applications being processed is given out.
Which is whyeven
if that explanation raises more questions than it answersI'm
sitting in my livingroom writing this blog instead of getting ready
for an early dinner on the overnight flight to London (and then on
to Dublin, and then overground on to Belfast). Though my travel agency
and airline will give me a credit for the ticket I had to cancel,
they charge over $300 for doing that, plus any additional cost for
the new ticket they will issue when I have my passport and visa in
hand. And lest you think I was too hasty in booking my flight before
getting my visa in the first place, your arrival time in the UK is
one of the questions you have to answer when applying for a visa (visas
are required for longterm workeven unpaid volunteer work like
minethere, though advance visas are not required for American
tourists visiting the UK; British agents stamp your tourist visas
into your passport when you go through customs).
I waited until
it would have been impossible to get to the airport in time for my
flight before canceling my reservation, not believing that this was
happening. But especially in consideration of my reason for flying
to Ireland in the first placeto do missionary work in writing,
teaching, and web development in Belfastall I can say about
the disappointment and the additional cost is, "Glory to God
for all things" and all the money is His, not mine to worry and
fret about. I expect it will be at least several weeks before I can
get on a substitute flight, and by that time I expect to be, literally,
after realizing the cost and responsibility of maintaining my home
in San Jose while away would be my greatest expense and frustration,
coupled with the realization that when I do return (if that's in God's
plan) I'd rather be living in a senior housing apartment like the
one my brother lives in a three-hour drive north of me than in my
present house, and that not having to pay monthly rent for my space
in the mobile home park would greatly enhance my disposable funds
in Ireland. So, after asking around and finding that selling is not
only feasible and that I could probably get more money for my unit
than I would have guessed, three weeks ago I put my mobile home up
And last Saturday
I received an offer too good to refuse and a down-payment check several
times larger than I'd expected. On Tuesday we (my daughter Chris,
who has done most of the work of making my house saleable and who
agreed to oversee the sale in my expected absence) opened escrow and,
presumably, if the buyer qualifies for residency in the mobile home
park (which I expect he will), I'll be without a place of my own in
two weeks. Most of my stuff has already been moved out. But a good
friend and his wife have already offered to let me use their guest
room, so I'm not in the market for a pup tent.
my parish gave me a great send-off, so it's going to be really embarrassing
to show up there again this Lord's Day (not to mention all the send-off
lunches and other meals family and friends have given). Someone suggested
I announce my arrival next Sunday with "just kidding!"
§ § §
If you missed
my earlier entry about my new venture in Northern Ireland, check it
Webmaster Jon Kennedy