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Journals from American University Center of Provence, France

2010-09-07 Visa Appointment

For most of the study abroad programs, the beginning of the journey is when you step on airplane to fly to another countries. For the French program, we have a bonus trip to San Francisco no matter if we want to go there or not. So, I finally had all the papers I needed for my interview to get my French visa two weeks ago. One of my friends who live in the Bay Area agreed to host me over for a couple days so I flew there last Friday. We hung out over the weekend and she went with me to San Francisco as my tour guide as well as my cheerleader. My schedule is at 11:30 a.m. We used BART to get into San Francisco at 10:30 a.m. My friend said, "I know where we are... let's go this way." I said, "Okay, I trust you. I also have a map but let's follow our instinct first." After walking through a couple blocks, we decided to get the map out but it wasn't there anymore. Luckily, we realized that there is a map at every bus stop in SF and found out that we had walked the opposite way from where we were supposed to be and it was 11 o'clock. So, I know our human instinct is amazing but we make maps for a reason. Let's say that the exciting atmosphere in San Francisco wasn't the right place to test it. 11:11 a.m. and three more blocks to walk plus we didn't know which part of the street the consulate office was. I decided to jump in a taxi. We almost missed it because the buildings' numbers change from 530 to 550 and we needed to get to 540. There was a French flag sticking out so we knew it was there. We got off the taxi at 11:25 and I didn't care to get my change back as my heart was about to jump out of my chest everytime I looked at the clock. The office was right on the first floor facing toward the street. It said French Consulate right in front of the door with golden letters which I found hard to notice. Anyway, I opened the door and went through the security check. There was a female officer at the front desk. She checked my appointment schedule, looked through my bag, and reminded me to turn off my cellphone. All the doors are made of glass so I could look inside and recorgnized the blue chairs for waiting and three officers behind the booth. I went inside and waited on one of the blue chairs. I guessed it would not be too bad if I were late by a couple minutes because it looked like they were doing it as first come first serve anyway. It was good that I made it there as I was supposed to and there were only three people in front of me. While I was waiting, I tried to listen to the conversation between one of the officers and a young man right in front of me. The young man looked frustrated, he said, "What! You want me to drive all the way to Seattle to apply for it, wait there for three weeks to get it and drive back here to see you? Is it a joke?". And the officer said, "It's not our fault if you misread the instruction". And the young man was asked to leave. Well yes, it is important to have all the papers with you. When it was my turn. I gave him all the paper I had. He took out those he needed and gave back the rest. He didn't even ask anything about my trip. But I had my visa right after 4 days. There's nothing else I could ask for. Mai Doan

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