So, it is a Friday night and I have decided I am staying in this evening with my computer, some books and my heater and blankets for company. As you may have already deduced, it is very cold here at the moment. By my standards at least. And with similar conditions predicted for the rest of the weekend, there will be no new stories of gallivanting about the region this weekend I fear.
This morning I was most cruelly dragged out of bed at the hour of 7.45 AM in order to be at a 9 AM appointment. I was not pleased to be forced out of bed so early on a Friday, a day off, and even less pleased to get outside to find it was about 4 degrees Celsius. And I still had wet hair. But this is the price one pays for moving to the Northern Hemisphere in mid-winter and I survived. I suppose it must be considered a bonus that the sun was shining, even though it didn’t bring a shred of warmth but rather a very crisp feel to the air. Still, nice to see the sun considering how often it is cloudy and rainy here.
This offending appointment this morning was with the Oficina de Extranjería (essentially an Immigration Office) to be registered as a foreign resident in Spain and assigned my Número de Identificación de Extranjero (Foreigner Identification Number). This NIE is apparently essential for all things in Spain such as being paid and purchasing a SIM card for my phone. Welcome to Spain, please hand over your identity in exchange for a number!
Fortunately, the meeting was brief. However the process towards finalising my residency status is only half completed. I now have my NIE but I have to go back in one month to apply for a card that will show my status as a foreign student in the country, entitled to stay for one year. And then, all of the paperwork should be finished and I will be nearly halfway through my stay.
I decided to make the most of my early start by using the rest of my morning to walk around a bit of Oviedo I had not previously explored. I should say to walk very very fast around Oviedo, as it remained about 7 degrees and as clear-skied and bitingly fresh as the morning all day. Fortunately (?), Oviedo is very hilly so I warmed up quite quickly, but not enough to remove my gloves or scarf or to wish I had not worn so many layers of thermals!
At this stage my plans for the weekend are exceedingly dull – hating, as I do, the cold weather – but I will take the opportunity to add a few new stories for you and to upload some photos, as I know that’s what you really all care about!!
As the title suggests my pre-trip preparations are gradually coming together.
I found out yesterday that my visa had been processed and approved and I have now booked my return flight to Adelaide for next August. I am, of course, still railing against that stupid requirement due to the added financial cost. Also, there is the added cost of having to go back to Melbourne next week to pick up my passport and visa when I am sure the Consulate could just have easily had it sent to my via registered post or courier. I am still looking forward to going to Melbourne though, as my lovely sister will be accompanying me this time (read: a girly day of shopping) and the Disney exhibition will be showing now at ACMI.
Finally, my thesis is gradually being finished and I can feel the summer holidays just around the corner! The weather here in Adelaide is finally warming up and the jacarandas are starting to bloom, which I absolutely adore. I am hoping there is lots more summer weather around the corner before I head for Spain and the depths of a northern winter.
Back to my study now or I might just keep on reading HP Book 5… (I have been re-reading the series before I leave as I won’t be able to fit all the books in my suitcase!).
41 days till I fly out!
Yesterday my partner Kyle and I made a one-day whirlwind trip to Melbourne to hand in my application for a Student Visa at the Spanish Consulate. This involved getting up at 4.00am in order to be at the airport in time for our 6.20am flight, landing in Melbourne at about 8.30am and spending all day there before flying back at 9.00pm that same night.
Most importantly, the day in Melbourne was about handing in my visa application. What a troublesome (and time-consuming) process it has been acquiring all of the right documents to satisfy the Spanish government that I am safe to be allowed into their country. Needless to say I was therefore very pleased to be finally finished with it and to be handing it all over. Sadly this was somewhat premature. Upon going through the documents with the staff member at the Consulate I was informed that a plane ticket leaving Spain on the day after my visa expires was not sufficient proof of my leaving the country; instead I would have to provide a full return fare to Australia. Fantastic. More paperwork to organise, more decisions to make and more stress! Once I explained that I was only in Melbourne for the day the staff member told me that I could just email her with a copy of the flight itinerary rather than physically bring it to the Consulate and that she would still process the application as I had provided it in the interim. I then found out that once the visa was processed (in about a month) I would have to come and collect it from the Consulate in person. So another trip to Melbourne is apparently unavoidable!
After finishing at the Consulate by about 11.30am, we had many hours to fill before our flight back to Adelaide. Normally spending a day in Melbourne is easily filled with shopping, shopping and more shopping but, sadly, when you are broke from paying for three airfares in three days and when you are preparing to pack up and move your whole life to the other side of the world (with the aid of only a single suitcase), the accumulation of more of the beautiful material things that Melbourne has to offer is a less practical way to spend your day. So we browsed our favourite ‘regular’ shops for a good long while (in my opinion a very painful experience when one cannot purchase a thing) before seeing a travel accessory shop, a bookshop having a sale on travel guides and a few camera shops, all tying in with our travel obsession! So we perused guidebooks and tried on backpacks and compared prices on cameras very happily. After lunch, and a quick visit to St Paul’s Cathedral, we went to Federation Square and visited the Australian Centre for the Moving Image‘s permanent and free exhibition on all things film related in Australia. It is a great interactive exhibit and we easily passed most of the afternoon there, for anyone visiting Melbourne it is a great place to go. After that we were well and truly ready to head home and actually fell asleep on the bus back to the airport. We made it home by 10.30pm, safe and sound but truly knackered!
So, I’ll be heading back to Melbourne soon (all things being well) to pick up my visa and I hope to have my new camera by then so I can practise with all the settings before hitting Paris and Oviedo in January. Oh the excitement! Only 55 days to go…!