There are many people in this world who have had or will have a huge impact on my life. But actually, I will never meet many of these people. From politicians and celebrities, to the people who invented the equipment I use everyday at work, right down to the people who assembled my car to keep me safe. Last week a group of people helped me set out on a new adventure.
Someone who I will never meet or know approved my entrance into the UK. Someone else scanned my photo into a computer program. Someone else affixed the visa to my passport and sealed it with a fancy consulate stamp. I don't know them, but I'm so happy that they do their jobs. Like so many times, it's the people you don't meet that matter.
I came home from work and saw the overstuffed, battered envelope that I had meticulously filled with a ridiculous number of official documents waiting for me. I had received no word from the expediting service, only found that they had charged my credit card their fee. I hadn't even gotten tracking emails from the shipping service.
Not knowing what to expect, I pulled out my knife and carefully opened the envelope without even taking it into my apartment. I dumped the contents out on the floor and sifted through, looking for something official. I picked up my passport and gave it a quick flip through. Something caught my eye, and I went back to the completely random page where THE VISA is affixed, or rather, my "UK entry clearance." Aside from the shiny sticker and official stamp, I think I could have printed this out from my home computer. But I don't care. This is the golden ticket, and now I can really freak out.
I didn't come with any explanatory documents which I found kind of surprising. But thanks to the power of the internet, I still don't really understand the purpose of visas. I can come and go from the UK as much as I want in that year period, much like I could now. But I have to be gone from the country by the first of November 2010, sadly a few weeks before graduation. But when can I return? Could I leave the UK as a student on October 31st, and return on November 2nd as a vacationer?
I'm sure that all these questions will be answered. Today I applied for a credit card without foreign transaction fees. Next week I have to tell someone official that I got the visa, apply for housing, and buy a plane ticket! Woah, that is real.