This post deserves some background music. So, click play below, adjust the sound to 1/4 full volume, close your eyes, and count to twenty to set the mood. Then open your eyes and read the post.
The Stein-Ross family recently managed to pull off a minor miracle.
October 6th marked the beginning of a veritable montaña rusa of emotions. The ups and downs went something like this:
What’s taking the passports so long? The Brasilian visa process take a week! — Yes? It might be possible to get Kat’s and Graham’s visas to Brasil in time?! — No, there is no way the Jabba the Hutt Venezuelan bureaucracy will release our passports in time to apply. — Yes? It actually might be possible?! — But just for Graham, not for Kat. — Wait, Kat as well? Awesome, hope anew! — No, definitely not a chance. — Oh well, we’ve already come to terms with losing the $788 dollars spent on the apartment in Rio. So no biggie, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. — But wait, you say we might get the visas still?! You sure? We’ll see.
By Thursday we were kind of numb. We didn’t know what to feel anymore. But in the end, it is that numbness that likely allowed us to get on our flight…
…Because no family of three that includes a five-year-old who needs to poop can pick up a visas from the Brasilian Consulate in Altamira at 4:30pm, drive to their home in Valle Arriba, and while packing for a week-long trip in Rio, arrange for the building’s conserje to care for pet hamsters and find a ride to the airport, and then drive back to Calle la Cinta by 5:30 on the dot, all on a Friday afternoon, unless they are numb.
For those who have lived in Caracas the last few years, you may gently close your jaws and stop reading, for that last sentence is all you need to know.
I barely remember the ride to the airport.
Throughout the whole passport/visa kerfuffle we thought our flight was leaving at 10am on Saturday. If we knew it was actually scheduled for 10pm on Friday we would have completely given up; we wouldn’t have taken a shot. We wouldn’t have held on to the splinter of a hope that kept us going back to the school office time and again to pressure the staff to get our passports back from the Venezuelan SAIME office. We wouldn’t have believed that “first thing Tuesday morning” meant anything other than waiting for two hours in front of the school for the motorizado to not show up until Wednesday, late morning. We wouldn’t have then made last second sub-plans so we could go to the Brasilian Consulate on Wednesday to turn in Graham’s visa application even though Kat’s was not yet released from the SAIME office. We wouldn’t have waited until 5:45 on Thursday night for Kat’s passport to arrive to school. We certainly wouldn’t have made more sub plans to go back to the Brasilian Consulate office on Friday morning to submit Kat’s visa application hoping they could do in seven hours what usually takes seven days. And ironically, most importantly of all, we wouldn’t have checked our flight times before leaving the Consulate to find out that we had been mistaken all along and needed to be at the airport within a few hours.
The angels in this miracle deserve special thanks:
Shayne and Diane — for being on the same flight as us, letting us park in their building and join their ride to the airport. (Why Shayne popped into my head as the first person to call, I’ll never know, but God damn I love serendipity.)
Mestre Chocolate and Lotaçao — for dropping the right name (Sra. Rincón) to expedite the Brasilian visa process. It couldn’t have happened otherwise.
Leilany — for finally getting our passports out of the SAIME office.
Carolina — for covering our classes.
Cameron — for being supportive and being cool with us leaving school so often.
Ms. Gladys and her Pre-Kinder class — for “praying to the Universe” about our cause during circle time.
All the people who listened throughout the week and sent positive energy our way.
And finally, thanks to the guy checking us in for our flight — for looking at Kat and Graham’s visas and telling me with a bewildered look on his face, before checking with his supervisor, “These were issued today.” “A la última hora,” I replied. “You know that’s a Venezuelan saying, right?” “Yes, I know,” is all I could say.