Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Aller guten Dinge sind drei!

... three is the charm apparently. Funny how that translates into other languages... la tercera es la vencida in Spanish too... Anyway, I'm getting off topic. After coming to the Russian Consulate three times in a row, I succeeded today in getting my passport in and will hopefully be able to pick it up next week! I still can't believe that this is happening so fast, there were a many bureaucratic regulations that are suddenly less important than they were - but I'm not complaining. In fact, I got an e-mail last Tuesday from my prof with a copy of the invitation letter I've been anticipating so much as jpg attachment. I think she talked to the Vice-Dean of Petersburg State and he worked his magic with the administration gals. Well, so of course I make all my copies, fill out the right document, get a mail order from the Canadian Post and turn up to the Consulate. (#1) However, the public servant (such a word - he certainly wasn't that servile, rather pretty haughty and unhelpful) insisted that a copy of the letter was insufficient and that I needed the original (which needs to be sent over from St. Petersburg). Oh, and also I needed another photocopy. Okay. Once I made the other photocopies, I e-mailed my prof and asked her to please put pressure on the ladies in Russia so that they send it as soon as possible. No answer for a week. However, on Tuesday I hear back that apparently another prof talked to the Consulate and we do only need the photocopy (he has connections.). Random - but again, not complaining. So this morning I went to the Consulate again (#2). The clerk was very aware once I mentioned that I was going with McGill and didn't ask for the original again, which was great. However, he filled me in that the study visa was more expensive than a tourist visa and the amount that I had gotten the money order for (the price indicated on the internet) was $17 too little. Oh, great. I'm sure he couldn't have told me that the last time. Then I speedwalked down to the post office again (at the train station) and up again within 25 minutes so that I could catch them again before they closed at noon. And at attempt #3 he finally accepted all my docs, took my passport and said 'Eet vil take tree days. Come back on Monday.' So... I'm guessing I'll come back there on Monday or Tuesday and see whether that was actually that easy. The nice thing is that even if there is more administrative paperwork to do, I have plenty of time to do it.
Also, my books from Amazon finally arrived yesterday after I played tag with the UPS guy. Well, more like - I go out to school - he comes by. I come back - he left a funny sticker saying he'll drop by tomorrow when I'm in school. The next day he came by when I was in school and left a funny sticker saying that the last attempt would be the next day when I am in school again and after that it would be sent back to the sender. Like, what? Do they expect people to be at home all day? Why can't they just initiate an evening service? I called the automatic-voice hotline and made the UPS guy come around on Tuesday when I am at home (normally) all morning and afternoon until 3:30. When did Mr. UPS come? 3:36. So I was late for class, but at least now I have an awesome small phrasebook, large travel guide, and innumerable tips for living in Paris.
In other news - my Russian and Soviet Politics roleplay happened tonight. It was great. Although I believe that Putin and Medvedev didn't seem too keen on my coalition's proposal to take over the Crimea...

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