Thursday, December 23, 2021

I wish I was a bird...

Then I could fly on my own. I won't need a plane or a boarding pass. I could certainly bypass the visa requirements and security checks.

I would not have to deal with unnecessary and cumbersome regulations. Stifling laws and changing policies would not ground me. 

Too chunky?

Alas I am not a bird. And we are in the middle of a pandemic...which is not going away anywhere for a long time. So here I am, in spite of doing all the things I thought I had to do, still grounded.

On Sunday, December 19, 2021, after Paul dropped me at the airport and I had been in the check-your-bags line for an hour, some official checked my passport/visa only to tell me that my visa is no longer valid. I could not fly home to see my mom.

Me: I have a multiple entry visa that is valid till 2026.
Official: All those visas have been suspended.
Me: What can I do?
Official: You have to apply for an e-visa. You could get it in two days if you hurry and fly out on Wednesday. Of course there will be charges.
Me: I understand there will be visa application fees.
Official: Yes, but also flight rescheduling charges.

Fighting tears and suppressing rising sobs, I called Paul to pick me up.  Then I called mom to cancel the taxi she had ordered to pick me up from the New Delhi airport. 

Once home, I called the airline to reschedule the flight for the following Sunday, adding few days to be on the safe side.  While on hold I navigated to the e-visa application site and began filling out the online form. While I heard Covid safety guidelines on the phone in a loop, the e-visa site rejected my application because my passport validity was less than six months.

Forget the visa and the flight, I must apply for Passport renewal first. Of course rapid services are available by telephone appointments only - Monday to Friday, 8:00AM to who the hell cares by now!!!

Even if I got a rapid passport renewal, followed by a rapid e-visa, and a rescheduled flight (with charges of course), will all those things come together magically by Sunday?  Further, I would have to adjust my return date too, which had its own ramifications for work. 

It was still mid-morning and Paul was taking a necessary nap after two unnecessary airport trips. 

In that moment, I felt alone and wept. If only I was a bird...

Too flat?

Adding insult to injury, the airline kept me on hold so long that the call timed out. THRICE!!!  Finally, Expedia called confirming the cancellation and refund minus cancellation charges. It may take 8-12 weeks, she added. But I bought Travel Protection, I insisted. I should not have to pay cancellation charges. The Expedia representative was kind and supportive. She suggested that I reach out to the Travel Protection agency to file a claim against cancellation charges.  

That was Sundaze. Welcome to Mondoom.

On Monday, I tried to make an appointment for an expedited passport renewal. 
Agent: When are you traveling?
Me: As soon as I can after my passport is renewed and I can get a visa.
Agent: I need an itinerary number, confirmation number or ticket number.
Me: But how can I book my flight if I don't have a valid passport or a visa.
Agent: Those are the rules ma'am. Please call us back once you have a booking.

So I make a booking, buy travel protection, cross my fingers (and toes) and call back, all in the next 20 minutes.
Agent: When are you traveling?
Me: December 28, 2021
Agent: I need an itinerary number, confirmation number or ticket number.
I do as asked.
Agent: The next available appointment is January 3, 2021.


It took me two hours to cancel the just-booked December 28, 2021 flight.  
Eventually I accepted the fact that the universe did not want me to travel to India at this time.  
Why could I not be a bird?

I like this color

Paul: You should unpack, babe.
Me: That is difficult - like taking apart my dreams
Paul: Then just take out the cake and cookies.

I eat too many cookies.

Wednesduh :-(
I go to CVS for a new passport picture.  
The first one was horrible - I looked murderous. 
I tried to barely smile in the second one. It was barely acceptable. 
I showed it to Paul. He laughed. 

Paul: You look pissed but trying to hide it.
Me: You know me so well.
Paul: So what is next?
Me: I apply for passport renewal tomorrow.
Paul: Perfect. That's my girl.
Me: I love you.
Paul: I love you too.

Fly home, little birds

And here I am Thursday morning... writing this blogpost.   Thank you to everyone who wished me safe travels and a fun trip. I wish you an "uneventful" holiday season and a happy new year.


  1. How absolutely disappointing and infuriating! I hope all will work smoothly from this point so that you can get to your mother sooner rather than later.

  2. Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. Flying internationally is very frustrating even when all your ducks are in a row.

  3. Oh so sorry to hear of all your flight woes!! Darn old Covid strikes again!! Despite all this, I still wish you a Happy Holiday..
    Hugs Julierose

  4. Oh my goodness! I would have been screaming profanities so loud my mom in India could have heard me by now. Never mind my mom only lives like 50 miles from me for reals, it would have been that loud. I'm so sorry. This is so ridiculous. I understand the need for new rules, but to change them so frequently and make them so convoluted is just ridiculous. Maybe in the long run you'll see that fate knew better than to let you travel, but I have a feeling few events will be significant enough to make you feel appeased. It is so good you have a hobby to pour your emotions into, even if it is so stupid that you got to that place of needing it. I'm sure your family is equally upset and I hope that all the hoops you will need to jump through in the coming weeks will be fruitful and you can make a belated trip to see them all. Hugs!

  5. I'm so sorry you are going through this - it sounds like it was absolutely frustrating. You will try again later!

  6. Oh, honey! How incredibly frustrating and maddening. I wish I was there to give you a big hug and some tea. I'm so sorry this happened and I hope it works out early in January. Meanwhile, you and Paul enjoy your vacation time together. (I love the blue bird. Not flat at all.) <3

  7. I'm so incredibly sorry, Preeti. How disappointing and maddening. I'm glad you have Paul to hug you and cheer you a bit. Your little bird blocks are delightful.

  8. I hope your charming birds will help make up for the frustration you've had this week!

  9. All I can do is send my sympathies and hope Paul finds a way to cheer you up a bit.

  10. Oh Preeti!!! My Heart is breaking for you!! That is so frustrating and the runaround is so ridiculous!!! Sending you hugs....

  11. Oh my - I'm so sorry about your cancelled plans. I can only imagine the frustration levels!! I hope you do manage to plan a visit to your mom that can happen without more changes. Hugs to you!!

  12. Oh, that is too, too much.
    I am so sorry this horrible mess happened to you.

  13. Oh, I am so sorry to hear about this head- and heartachingly bureaucratic frustration you have had to go through. I'm glad you are still moving ahead to update everything and hope you are able to find a time you can reschedule to see your mom soon. Sending you so much love.

  14. Love your birds. Sorry this is happening, here is a hug, it isn't much but hugs, even virtual one might help.

  15. I'm so sorry you're going through this, Preeti - so frustrating. I hope your sweet birds are providing you with some fabric therapy, and that a rescheduled trip is in your near future. Hugs!

  16. Oh I'm so so sorry about all your travel troubles Preeti. I love that you had the sense of humor to write about it though. Wishing you a lovely holiday wherever it might be. Blessings for the new year too.

  17. Thinking of you. Hope you manage to get things sorted and your much anticipated visit can happen soon.

  18. Leave it to the government to cancel or change things without cause and expect you to know it intuitively. Leave it to the government to force you to put the cart before the horse and then tell you there’s no room at the inn when you do. After learning to fly, you should probably take mind-reading lessons and a course to help you see the future. But until then, my dear Preeti, dry the tears. Make plans, jump through hoops and enjoy your Christmas with Paul. A year from now you will look back with fond memories of your later-than-planned trip to India wherein you had fewer crowds to fight and a more relaxed time to visit with your family. xo

  19. Oh my gosh trust officialdom to cause a problem. I am sorry to hear your holiday home has been delayed. Hopefully you can go soon. Your birds are cute.

  20. I am so, so sorry. On the first day of this month, the Oregon DMV went far out of their way to get me a renewed drivers license, so I could fly to the funeral of a lifelong friend (more of a brother). It was not their fault that I had to make the decision not to make the flight due to Covid and my autoimmune diseases. Nor is it their fault that my drivers license photo, taken the first day of my grieving, shows exactly that. I will be living with this stark, sad photo for another 8 years, reminding me of that day with its mixture of personal sadness and the kindness of strangers who tried to make it better. I wish you had received the same kindness from people who could have made a difference.

  21. Oh Preeti, I am so sorry. Soon the beloved hug to your mother will happen.
    Till then, your little birds will help you to fly away towards the dreams to distant lands.

  22. Ugh!! I wish you could be a little bird, too. So sorry for you travel woes, Preeti!!

  23. My heart is breaking for you. I wish I could be your wings. What a frustrating week for you.

  24. I feel your pain. I know your family was so looking forward to seeing you just as much as you were them. Think of the bright side, you have a trip coming up in the near future. You will go another time and celebrate then. This Covid journey is annoying, frustrating and head spinning...but you are alive and well, that's a good thing. Let's all hope that next year's holiday vacation will be much smoother!!

  25. Well that totally sucks! I'm so sorry you're stuck there despite doing everything right. In your shoes I'd be using extremely salty language, so you have much better self control than I do. Not much consolation, but you're wearing this with dignity, and karma will bring your turn for the good stuff in time.

  26. I am so, so sorry you didn't get to fly and couldn't visit you Mom! I hope you can schedule a flight soon, even if it is not for Christmas. Big squishy hugs - and more virtual cookies - you can not eat to many during such hard times. xo Melanie

  27. Oh, what a horrible, horrible time. We traveled, all vaxxed. Son got sick, so far no test result but I am sick about being with people with my son who may have been contagious. Damn this covid. I am so so sorry, and hope by now you have some resolution and are traveling soon.

  28. I'm heartbroken for you to hear of your problems. Damn red tape and damn inflexible processes. I hope things are looking up by now....

  29. So, so sorry to hear of your frustrations and disappointment over the problems with travel. I do hope that eventually everything resolves for you so that you can make the trip before too long. And I hope sewing, Paul, cake and cookies help take out some of the sting.

  30. OMG, Preeti! That is the saddest story I've heard, I believe. I am truly sorry to hear all this but maybe Easter might be a nice time to visit? Whenever you finally make it, it will be that much sweeter to see your Mother. Peace to you.

  31. girl, I would have been spitting nails. may be time to whip up a little Faceless Bureaucrat pin cushion doll to take your frustrations out know how some folks say everything happens for a reason? Yeah, I'm not one of those folks - that was a dumb, infuriating sequence and it shouldn't have happened at all. Sorry, friend!

  32. For Pete’s Sake! I would not have been able to handle such frustration! That just stinks! I hope that you will be able to make your trip home sooner rather than later! We are all keeping our fingers crossed! Hugs!

  33. What a nightmarish ordeal. I'm sorry you couldn't travel to India as planned. I hope you can plan a visit soon, and that it happens in a smooth sailing kind of way. I wanted to also say thanks for the beautiful cat wall hanging pattern. I made one for my daughter for Christmas and she liked it very much! :)

  34. I'm so very sorry Preeti. I know how horrible this kind of paperwork is. Sending you love and light.

  35. Oh dear, my head would have exploded. Paperwork, rules, sometimes they are all insane. You are a saint to even have the energy to write this and tell us all.