Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Penalized on a Technicality?

with 2 comments

I haven’t cried this much since I watched the senior citizen version of Ryan Gosling lie down next to sweet wrinkly Rachel McAdams and pass in The Notebook.

Ok, I’m not sad anymore. Not frustrated. Just infuriated. Did you know that in order for a non-Indonesian to be able to step off the plane in Indonesia, that individual must have a full empty page in their passport in order for Immigration to grant a VOA (Visa on Arrival)? I did not.

Thinking Singapore was only going to be a 3 hour layover, it has now become a 4 day nightmare. Well, I’m just being dramatic. I’m sure it’s going to be completely fine (maybe even fun if I get ahold of my friend Eric from LA or my former manager DH and his lovely wife Stella…the newest Service Source office being here).

When I landed at the Changi Airport in Singapore several hours ago, I picked up my stuff from Baggage Claims and went straight for the Departures Hall to check it back in for my next flight scheduled to leave for Surabaya around 4:30. When I stepped up to the counter and handed over my passport to the young woman, she flipped through it, a look of concern crossed her face, and she said, “One moment please.” I waited a few minutes until she rushed back and said to me, “I’m sorry, but you cannot travel to Surabaya today.” Wait – what? Why? “If we allow you to fly to Indonesia today, they will just send you back. You don’t have any empty pages left in your passport. And for you to get the Visa in your passport, they are very strict in requiring an entire page to be empty.” You have got to be kidding me. What am I supposed to do? “Let’s call the Embassy to see if they are open. You can go and try to pick up a new passport or get an emergency one extended for this purpose.” How far is the Embassy? My flight is in two hours, and it’s Christmas Eve – are they even open? “Oh yes. They are probably closed half day today. They are also closed for US holiday tomorrow. And they are closed Saturday and Sunday. That means you can go on Monday.” What about my flight today? Do I get a refund? “I’m not sure, you’ll have to find out what to do about your ticket, go to the ticketing counter and they will tell you.” I swear, when you just want some answers that are actually going to benefit you…

I ended up having to push the flight to this coming Monday, meaning I am staying in Singapore for the holiday. When all I wanted was just to hug my mom on Christmas Eve – the thing that’s stopping me is a stupid passport technicality. Ugh. Unbelievable. I wasn’t even ashamed bawling like a big baby at the airport. I walked to the payphone right after changing the flight and called my dad who sounded half-asleep, poor guy. “Dad. It’s me. I’m in Singapore…..wahhh.” What’s wrong? Where are you? “I’m at the airport. Wahhh. They won’t let me leave. Wahhhh. I have to stay until Monday. Tell Uncle Daniel to call Grand Uncle to tell Mom not to come to the airport tonight. WAHHHHHH!” Ok, don’t cry, don’t worry. Wan’t me to ask Uncle Raymond who his relatives in Singapore are and then I can give you their contact information? OK, call me back in 10 minutes.” So, I hung up, cried some more just because it felt good to, and called him back. “Turns out, they are all on holiday in Shanghai. That’s okay. Singapore is supposed to be very fun. Calm down, just find a nice hotel, no matter the cost, and just stay there and try to enjoy yourself and don’t worry. (My Dad, who is usually very stern, was so so supportive and comforting. I had half expected him to lecture me for not knowing about the passport rule, but was so glad when he didn’t. Instead he did nothing but try to make me feel better.) So get a new SIM card and once you do, call me and give me the number.” OK, I’ll call you soon. Thanks, Dad.

I have to admit, I don’t know what I went ballistic over. I think it was the fact that I had so looked forward to being with family, especially my mom, for the holidays. It hasn’t felt like the holidays for me this year at all. Ever since I got sick, I have been pretty emotional. I was watching little Cindy Lou Who sing Where Are You, Christmas? in How the Grinch Stole Christmas last night in my hotel room, and I actually cried. It’s strange how my family is split up this Christmas. My Dad in California (hopefully celebrating with my Aunt Kitty and their mom), my Mom with her mom in Surabaya, Wendy in Brooklyn with her fellow residents, and me in Singapore (on a technicality)…

Being away always makes me appreciate my family a little more when we are together. I’m not sure what the next few days will look like, but if I can’t wish you happy holidays over the phone, online, or in person – Merry Christmas. I hope you are with the ones you love and care about.

Love,
Winnie

P.S. Dave, I used to think you had some of the worse luck possible. I think you may have passed on your torch. Thanks, buddy. 😉

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Written by winniewongsf

December 24, 2009 at 8:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. All I can say is don't let The Man get you down. Merry Christmas!

    Nate Miller

    December 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm

  2. Yeah,Singapore is awesome! Head over to Newton Circus and eat chili crab, could be worse :)But I am sorry about your passport misfortunes. Good luck!

    eco

    December 24, 2009 at 5:08 pm


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