13 August 2013
Have you ever felt so defeated that you simply cannot do anything but give up? I have never felt this feeling so strong as I do now. Everything that has been possible, I have done. The process of getting a visa to Portugal has been the hardest thing to understand yet know what to do with no one’s help or guidance. Nobody from authority has tried to help in the process, nobody has told me what I need to do. Kailey, whom is an EU citizen and doesn’t need to do any of this, has been helping me day-in and day-out trying to figure it all out. There is no way I would have been able to do half of what I needed to do without her help. The Portuguese Embassy does not want to see me without everything completed “perfectly” by their judgement. They will not even talk to me to give me advice on what to do. After 4 weeks of trying to even get in their doors, yesterday they finally let me in. I was so anxious to interview with the visa lady, that when she simply gave me the checklist that I had come to get 4 weeks ago–I stared at her with shock. I wasn’t going to get my visa. Right now I am a heaping mess of tears, stress, days without showering, and the lurking thought of finals only a couple days away. I have done everything in my power to make this happen, and yet nothing has happened.
As I sit in the embassy right now with Kailey, I have one last chance to present my case. I feel like I am in the courtroom. I am either guilty or innocent–and the only person who has the ultimate verdict is the Visa lady on the third floor. The chance to study in Portugal seems miles away from where it did just a couple of days ago. I have everything (according to the disorganized checklist they gave me) I need for them to review my application except the background check results–which I will never have for at least another month. I have spent the entire past 24 hours gathering everything with the help of Kailey and Brother and Sister White. Most European study visas do not require an FBI background check and fingerprints for US citizens, but Portugal is the exception. Upon my first trip to visit them, the man at the Portuguese Embassy told me that they do everything within the office themselves, including the criminal record check. Yesterday I found out that is something I will need to get done on my own–something that has no possibility of being done in the UK within the next 2 weeks, month, of even 3 months.
I know that this may not be an important event in my life in the grand scheme of things and that God probably has a bigger plan for me. But right now, I am in complete shock. I do not know what to do. I do not know what to say when I walk up to the top of those three flights of stairs and see the visa lady with her stern voice and rigid posture. The prayer in my heart for patience and guidance has never been so strong in my life. I know I cannot do this on my own. The only way this is going to happen is if God will make a miracle happen.
My train leaves in less than an hour and I am 30 minutes away from the station, and who knows how long from speaking with the visa lady. I have class back at Cambridge that I cannot miss, and hours of studying for the final that I have not been able to do as I try to arrange all my plans for Portugal.
I walked away. Sitting on the train heading back to Cambridge my entire body is numb. In a series of a couple of days my entire life for the next 5 months has been unmistakably shook up. Am I coming back to the United States in two weeks? I cant seem to come into grips with reality. The entire summer I was not preparing to begin studies back at BYU this soon.