I know this sounds dramatic. And despite my best efforts to play it cool, and go with the flow and that sort of nonsense, getting kicked out of Norway has been uncomfortably dramatic.
For the first time since giving up my lease in July of 2017, I had unpacked and was planning on spending a cozy winter in a lovely apartment with a beautiful view, with my boyfriend.
Then the visa thing happened and it turns out, I will be not be doing any of the above.
In fact, I will likely be spending a cold winter living in AirBnB's.
We thought we had everything to qualify, we thought this would work.
But it didn’t.
So I must vacate the country and all countries belonging to the Schengen Area which is basically all of Western Europe by October 30th.
Now, I’m not a stranger to dealing with visas, a lot of places I’ve visited require them.
I waited in line for days in Vietnam, hoping the Chinese embassy would grant me a visa. I wore my backpacking finery curry favor. I met a celebrity there,
I showed people my bank account, my social security number, my passport. Honestly, I would have shown them my underwear if they had asked. They did not care to see them.
I have spent hours at the Egyptian visa desk past midnight waiting for them to glue a stamp of approval on my passport and I’ve also gotten rejected for a visa to Brazil not once, but twice. That’s two cancelled plane tickets! Why? Because Brazilian visa officers were so overwhelmed by both the Olympics and the soccer World Cup that they went on multiple strikes for the following two years.
My point is, I’m not a novice when it comes to these things. And we thought this one would be a breeze.
We were wrong.
It has been a dramatic roller coaster of a week. First, we thought I’d have to leave, then we thought I could stay. Then they said they needed original documents of EVERYTHING including my birth certificate and college diploma. My sister miraculously found them for me in my storage space back home.
Then we never even bothered to send them because by then, we knew it wasn’t going to happen.
On the bright side, my sister said I was the most organized person she’d ever seen. That was awesome. High point of the week right there.
I got the news on Tuesday that I would have to leave. That was the low point.
Here's the thing about visa low points, they just feel like a lot of bureaucratic paperwork and checked boxes that are somehow suddenly given the authority to determine your fate.
Like if your printer suddenly started up and spat out a paper that told you to move to Istanbul.
It's a very sterile, humanless, high stakes game to play..
This forcefully having to leave my new home, my boyfriend, and any semblance of normalcy suddenly and certainly has been such a downer.
I had started believing I was really free in the world and then a government stepped in and said, “Not until we say you are.”
And in Norway’s defense, the US is much, much more stringent around these requirements, so Norway was our best chance.
But either way, I don’t like the feeling of a government making my major life choices.
Unfortunately, that is what I signed up for when dating a foreigner.
I am stressed, my body feels like it’s been hit by a truck and I’m not sleeping well.
Where should I go? Somewhere near so maybe we can see each other on long weekends? It can’t be a neighboring country though, they’re all part of the Schengen Area.
I hate long distance. We both do. And we both said going into this we didn’t want to ever do it again.
And for how long will we have to do this?
At least three months.
That’s just you know, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, both our birthdays and some random uncelebrated presidents days away. February is practically just around the corner, right?
So now, my life looks mostly like that of the Dr. Seuss book “Marvin K Mooney Would You Please Go Now!”
Just replace Marvin K. Mooney with Rachel S. Walla.
This is basically the Norwegian government’s stance.
“Rachel S Walla would you please go now!
The time has come.
The time is now.
I don’t care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
Rachel S. Walla would you please go now!”
And following the footsteps of Marvin K Mooney, “The time had come, so Marvin went.”
The time has come…