Friday, May 23, 2008
NEWS FLASH: ANDRE ARRIVES TOMORROW!
PHOTO CAPTION: Newly re-elected Dominican President Leonel Fernández.
I'm still in shock myself. After spending two weeks in the Dominican Republic with Andre, hoping that would be the last two weeks we'd have to wait for his visa, I called the U.S. Consulate in Santo Domingo yet again and this time they told me 6 more weeks.
Now that was ridiculous! Andre had his interview at the U.S. Consulate in Santo Domingo on March 25. Normally, they deliver the visa one week later, but because of the mystery of the missing Haitian passport, they told him two weeks...but don't buy a plane ticket yet.
Two weeks went by, no visa. Another week went by, I called the consulate. They said one more week. I called again, two weeks more. That's when I went to spend the time with him, hoping he'd be able to come back with me. Then they said call back in a week. When they said 6 more, I called my congressman.
That was last Thursday. Bertha, the immigration expert in Sam Farr's office, asked me to fax some documents to her: the original receipt of his fiance visa application, the appointment letter, and the courier receipt. We did that and she made the call on Friday, which happened to be election day in Dominican Republic, which is a national holiday, so she had to leave a message. Leonel Fernández was re-elected president for the third term.
Monday morning Andre got a call from the consul, apologizing for the delay and promising him the visa within a week. Wednesday the courier called Andre and said they'd gotten the visa from the consulate and would deliver it on Friday, today, May 23, because Thursday was another holiday.
As soon as Andre had the visa in hand, I called American Airlines to see if we could move up the June 6 reservation I'd made. The only thing they had earlier was for tomorrow. I knew since Andre's been packed for the past two months, he could get it together in time. When I called him, he got very excited and said, okay, great, let me get off the phone so I can get ready!
His flight tomorrow is at 1:50 in the afternoon. He's planning to arrive around 9:00 or 10:00 just to be sure. It's two hours to Miami, then he goes through immigration, picks up his bag, goes through custom, rechecks his bag, finds his connecting flight, and will probably still have a couple of hours to wait, which Andre much prefers to being rushed. After a total of 12 hours traveling time, he finally arrives at the San Francisco airport at 11 p.m. (2 a.m. D.R. time). Hopefully, he'll be able to sleep on the second flight because by the time we drive home to Santa Cruz it'll be about 4:00 a.m. D.R. time.
The very next day we go to a big Mexican 1st communion party for my friend Marisela's three oldest children, which I'll be photographing. At least Andre will feel right at home speaking Spanish and he already loves Mexican food, thanks to the fajitas that our friend Gabriel made when we visited him in Uruguay.
I'll truly believe it when I see Andre's smiling face at the airport tomorrow night. This is his first solo flight and first time in the U.S., so he's pretty nervous. Stay tuned....