Getting my visa

Chicago Travel Blog

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Hyatt Regency O'Hare (as seen from the tollway)

In August, I went to the Polish Consulate in Chicago, to submit paperwork in order to get my visa for my entire stay in Poland (18 months). On my walk there from the train station, I watched 3 or 4 Navy (or Air Force, or something) jets zip all around Chicago's air space at super fast speeds. I also walked past many many trailers & equipment trucks for the filming of "The Dark Knight" which is the new 2008 Batman film being shot in Chicago.  Whether these two thing had anything to do with each other, I have no idea.  Anyway, I had a letter from Jagiellonian University, stating that I was indeed admitted to their program, and I had all the paperwork filled out correctly (so far as I knew).

The line at the consulate was horrible! But, oh well, governmental bureaucracy is the same all over, eh? After three hours of standing in line in the sweltering August-in-Chicago heat and humidity, I finally made it to the single open window, and when I tried to slide my paperwork and passport through the slot under the window, the man shook his head and said something very quickly in Polish that I was unable to understand, then in English he added, "15 minutes.  Lunch".  Oh well, governmental bureaucracy is the same all over I guess ... this entry is actually supposed to be about me GETTING my visa, not submitting the paperwork for it.

So, one month later, I can finally pick up my passport with my Polish visa.  Remembering how long the line was in August, I prepared myself for a long day, I even requested off from work that night (as I was a couple hours late on that day back in August).  I was driving to the train station - by the way, I should mention that at this point, I was living about 90-100 miles from Chicago ... usually about a two hour drive or less, depending on traffic, but I was driving to a train station to catch a train into the city, so as to avoid traffic and parking fees, this station was about 45 miles from where I lived.  Anyway, en route to that station there is a stretch of road for about 10 miles where it is one lane each direction, without really any possibility to pass.  A landscaping truck pulling a trailer with faulty brakes pulled out right in front of me, and drove SO SLOW!  Every time he put on his brakes, even quite gently, the wheels on his trailer locked up, sending up puffs of black smoke, and a not so pleasant odor of burning rubber back to my car.  I'm assuming this is why he was driving so slowly, but whatever the reason was, I lost a lot of time by sitting behind him.  As I was pulling up to the train station, the train was pulling away!  Oh well, I guess I had to drive into the city after all, as the next train didn't leave for another hour.  But of course I was many miles off course, and no easy path back to the expressway.  Anyway, I did make it, and grand total it took me over 2.5 hours (so, if I would've just driven normally, and not tried to get to the train station, I would have made much better time).  I got in the back of the line and was soon talking to a girl from Poznan (if I remember correctly).  We waited & chatted for about 15 minutes, the line hardly moving at all, until somebody said something so quickly to her (in Polish) that I couldn't understand ... but apparently there was a different line if you were picking up, we were in the line for dropping off...  At first my heart dropped, thinking I'd have to get in the back of yet another horrible line, but then I noticed that that window didn't have almost anybody at all waiting.  Ola (the girl from Poznan ... maybe ... or was it Nowy Targ?) walked up & got her documents, and I did likewise, no problems at all.  Now I almost wished that I had waited for the next train, and relaxed a bit more, oh well.  It isn't a 100% happy ending though, as they messed up the year of expiration.  They listed March 2008, but it was supposed to be March 2009!  This means I'll just have some headaches coming up in 2008 when I try to renew the visa... grrr.

Anyway, seeing my day was done so quickly, I stopped by my sister's house.  While I was holding my niece Meghan, I noticed that my arm was getting particularly wet - though not from where he diaper would be.  I couldn't see, but asked my sister and she started laughing & grabbed my camera to take a picture, Meghan was drooling so all over my arm. :D

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Hyatt Regency OHare (as seen from…
Hyatt Regency O'Hare (as seen fro…
125 km (78 miles) traveled
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photo by: mahoney