vineri, 12 octombrie 2012

One step closer

In case you thought I was kidding in my last post, about moving to India, I wasn't!
So, now I'm in Romania, finally home - in Sulina. I say "finally", because when I left USA my plan was something like this: arrive in Bucharest on the 19th, at night so that I can be at the Embassy gate at 10:00 a.m. next morning, with all the necessary documents for the visa. The visa process will take 7 business days, during which I will enjoy some time with my family, home, in Sulina and maybe get tanned a bit, because the weather is so nice.

But, things didn't go according to plan: Except for the one way plain ticket that I bought from Bucharest to Mumbai, all the other documents did not meet the requirements of the letters from AIESEC Iasi were scanned and printed, all the documents from TCS were e-mailed and I did not have the contract between me and AIESEC Iasi (it wasn't necessary - the purpose of the AIESEC Iasi letters was to certify that I was a member and that I am going on an internship, in India). Also, the "nice" lady that I talked to (unfortunately, despite what you might think she is Romanian) told me they needed the plain ticket for the return flight, even though I had a letter from TCS which clearly said that the company will provide it and the health insurance! Can you even buy a ticket a year ahead? And if you can, who does that?!

So, I took a long walk trying to get back from the shock I was into...because when I left the apartment in the morning I had a smile on my face thinking how lucky I am that I got back while it was still summer...I sooooo didn't see what was coming!
And I want to explain myself, so that is clear why I was in shock, when you might think "How could you NOT see this coming when you didn't have the original documents?!". First of all, on the Embassy website it was not specified whether they wanted the originals or not and the lady that answers the Embassy phone (the same "nice" lady) told my mom to check on the web site and hung up! Also, inside the Embassy (which is not like the US Embassy) they had this information papers on the walls... on one of them was the list or required documents for the Business visa (that I'm applying for) and it was written back on white: all this documents can be sent by fax or e-mail, original documents are required only in special cases. (I guess I'm officially special, right?)
And the thing that was most shocking was the fact that when the lady gave my documents to be checked (after she gave me back some of them), they came back with the note "Incomplete documents" not "Original documents required" or something like that...and SHE WENT BACK to the guy and asked "But don't you want them to be originals?" !!! Guess what he said...of course it was "Yes"...

So, I went back to the apartment trying to figure out how to get away without the original documents from India! I e-mailed TCS and told them about the problem, called my mom and told her to send me the contract that I signed  with AIESEC Iasi and talked to the International Exchange VP of AIESEC Iasi to send me the original letters...Thinking that I'll give it another shot with the original documents that I have here, hoping that Monday there would be another lady that wouldn't care so much about my case.

So, the company called the Embassy trying to negotiate with them, but it didn't work, they still wanted the originals. Also, AIESEC Iasi was at a conference and nobody could send me the documents until Monday morning. But, I had another idea - have the documents signed and stamped at AIESEC Romania - and that worked out.

So, Monday morning I had the contract, the original letters, the plane ticket and the e-mailed documents from TCS. But I was out of luck, again, - there was the same lady - this time she was actually nice, but she remembered me and didn't miss the fact that the TCS documents were not original.
So, I went back to the apartment with my tail between the legs...and decided to get other things done while I was waiting for the papers from India (which, despite what I thought, would get in Bucharest in 2 or 3 business days).
So, I went to a Clinic specialized in tropical diseases and got my shots done. Also, I got a great news: I am hep A&B free for the rest of my life!
After that, TCS sent me an e-mail saying that it will take longer for the documents to arrive because AIESEC India had to sent one of them to the TCS headquarters...In the mean time I discovered that it wasn't mandatory that I was the one to submit the documents!!! So...I asked someone I trusted to submit the documents, once they arrived, and went home after spending 9 days in Bucharest and one in Tulcea.
(To be honest, when I started this post I was home, but now I'm back in Bucharest to pick up my passport.)

So, if you  are a Romanian or Moldavian AIESECer going to India, make sure that all the documents from India are originals and that apart from what you can find on the website, you also need to have the contract between you and AIESEC (in English), before you get to the Embassy to apply for visa.

And now, for something completely different:
 Edvin Marton - Victory