I got a visa to Cuba.
I got a visa to Taiwan.
What the hell is wrong with the European Union and their Soviet Union style visa application process?
I've been in contact for about 4-5 months with a woman here in Prague who works for a company called EasyVisa. This is hilarious. EasyVisa must be some sort of sick joke that the owners came up with over some beers. Let's tell everyone how easy it is! HAHAHAHA!
I sent all of my documents to Prague in June, as asked, to get the ball rolling. Normal. Police report, college degree, passport photos, the whole shebang. I thought I was old hat, but of course, the world is full of surprises! This part was easy.
Arriving in the Czech Republic was when the easy ended. I learned that I would have to pay for myself to travel to (first Slovakia, then Berlin, and finally Vienna - the appointments kept changing for no obvious reason to me) - THREE times, during the week, during work. 10 hours total on the bus or train each time. I would have to go without assistance and face the scary Viennese consulate employees, who would go on to reject my long term visa application due to lack of a proper stamp on a Taiwanese document.
My first trip, last Tuesday, was a trek upon treks. Luckily I had two co-workers with me to soften the blow, unfortunately one of them dealt with the difficulties of the day by having a few too many Czech/Austrian beers and coupled with wearing high heels, made walking around a good combination of funny and uncomfortable.
And so it turns out, I am swinging in the sad, cold balance of post-communist bureaucracy that somehow doesn't deem me a safe person to work in the Czech Republic. I wonder if they found out about my parking tickets from high school...
The Silver Lining:
The Czech Embassy in Vienna is right next to Schonnbrunn Palace, which is gorgeous and free to roam around. I have never seen a more beautiful outdoor garden! And in the hour we spent sitting in the park, I couldn't help think, where else but Europe can you show up to a giant garden, hundreds of years old, and sit and talk about your favorite TV shows?