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I finally got my visa on Thursday, after 6 visits to the Mexican consulate. I was sad that I would not see the receptionist and the two security guards anymore; they were always very sympathetic each time they saw me turn up at the door looking both helpless and exasperated.

Today’s my last day in Oakland, and maybe in the U.S. I might not be able to come back to the States when I’m done with my internship in May. I’ve been thinking about the 3.5 years that I’ve spent here. I have changed so much and yet I am still the same person. I still feel many things that I felt when I first left home and came here the summer of 2005. But this may be something that I can better think about when I’m in Mexico.

Anyways, it has felt real good to have something to look forward to so that my days wouldn’t feel so pointless. Over the next few months, I won’t have to worry about how to occupy my time every morning when I wake up. I have so many plans for Mexico, to work hard, to meet people and get to know the city, to live on and only on the $500/month stipend, to have my friends come over to visit, to hopefully find a Bharatanatyam class, etc.

Mexico, here I come.

so it doesn’t work.
the Paris consulate no.
the Marseille consulate no.
Zajel said up front that they would not be able to help. FFIPP confirmed that they were aware of the situation but never followed up.
Friends no
Couchsurfers no
the only thing that i didn’t do was go to the local synagogue. but who’d have the guts to go begging people they don’t know, especially when it’s such a weird request? i know i don’t. although the people on couchsurfing that i asked were basically strangers as well, they belong to a certain kind. well, they’re not humans. who would be stupid enough to put up stranger and treat them like old time friends? oh, maybe they’re humans, and they’re among the best.
to Israel/Palestine, all i can say is maybe another time.

Up to this point, the only time that i’ve felt thankful to my vietnamese passport was when i went to Algeria. French nationals have to pay 30 euros; i got it for free (plus a handshake from the guy). Never before had i felt so welcome, but they didn’t cut me any slack either.

Other than that, it always make me want to cry…
Except for ASEAN countries, no matter where i go, i have to scramble around, going through all the hassle, and paying a not so insignificant amount of money. Perhaps partly because tourists from other countries (a.k.a. U.S. and Europe) don’t have it that easy with Viet Nam either. It’s not like Latin America or North Africa where they can just lug their suicases/backpacks up to the border (or airport) gate, get a stamp, and they can good morning Vietnam.

I’ve always been against the whole visa thing for ideological reasons but i’ve never been more frustrated than recently.
For a tourist visa to Israel, the consulate requires that i have a carte de séjour valid for at least 6 months after the date of return. I’m simply here for a semester and my visa lasts until the middle of june. I’ll peace out and I’m not coming back. I tried to explain that i’m done with France but apparently, that was not good enough for them. I “terrorize” them almost every day with phone calls. They must find me really fucking annoying. I can’t get hold of them anymore and they don’t even care to return my messages. Don’t know if i should be sad or angry.

In necessity, invent! Well, “invent,” (i’m not much of a creative person). I thought about going to one of Israel’s neighboring countries (there are 3 of them: Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan) and once I was there, I’d try to apply for a visa saying I was traveling in the Middle East, hoping that it’d look more legit. Un petit problème: Vietnam is among 20 countries (out of 200?) whose citizens need a visa prior to their arrival. And the guy i talked with at the Israeli consulate said that even if i got to the border, no guarantee that it’d be easier. How pathethic is this?!

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