My wife, Son and I applied for an extension of our visas today. Coincidentally, today is also the four year anniversary of our marriage.
If you had told me on our wedding day that four years hence we would be living in a foreign land, with an infant son in tow, I would have promptly asked you to leave. Our wedding was dry and, clearly, you would have been drunk.
And yet, sometimes reality is even stranger than the fictions we create. So, here we are, sitting in an outdoor cafe, enjoying blue New Zealand skies, while Clark enjoys a bottle. Not only have we been away from America for six months but we have just applied to remain away longer – and during football season to boot.
If there’s a comfort to be had in our absence, it’s that the public sector services here in New Zealand are just as dreadful as they are back home. There’s no more depressing place in earth than your local DMV. The same can be said for the New Zealand Immigration Office, Hamilton Branch.
I won’t get too much into the weeds, except to say that only the government would make paying fees a fiasco and couple this inanity by referring patrons to a call centre rather than addressing questions in person – the presumptive point of having an office in the first place.
Contrast this with my experience at my local (viz., private) bank in the same building only a few floors below. Prompt, courteous service. Happy to answer any questions Dr. Fodder. I’m not even the kind of Doctor that helps people and the staff was still deferential and unfailingly polite.
All the same, it’s been a consequential four years to say the least. A good four years. And that’s not ever an easy or glib thing for me to say. I am blessed.
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