Walking the walk.
So my guy friends have arranged to be in South Africa, in Johannesburg specifically, for the first few weeks of World Cup 2010. I don’t have time to be annoyed that they didn’t remember my plea back in 2008 to include me in plans. I just know that I can’t pass up on this opportunity. That I can’t live with myself if I don’t deliver on my promise to myself. You know at some point I had told myself that going to the World Cup in 2010 would be a gift for surviving the rigorous training of medicine. I deserve this. When else am I going to go to a World Cup? When I have a husband and children in tow? I think not. This is THE ONE!
Leaving things until the last minute is not my cup of tea. However, in this case I did not have much of a choice. I put on my planning gear and get to work.
- Get an NVARS appointment at any Canadian based US consulate
- Go to the Canadian consulate for Canadian visa
- Now get an NVARS appointment at the closest US consulate in Canada – this was easier said than done. I spent weeks checking the site morning, afternoon, and evening waiting for a slot to open up.
That last part was the most frustrating. Again it made me rethink plans. It wouldn’t be that bad if I were to be alone this summer in my tundra would it? Well, seeing how I don’t really have time, I decided to proceed with the other steps.
- Get a FIFA account and apply for tickets. At this point it is Phase Four of FIFA ticket sales – first come first served! Can I just say that FIFA is like a sketchy Mafia gang or something. Tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable, must be picked in South Africa with your passport and credit card. You therefore need to be pretty sure you will be there! My guy friends had TST-Ghana and so I ordered the same. It was a harrowing few days but I got that email confirmation and with that a true sense of excitement mixed with disbelief. It was on!
- Accomodations were another matter. No space at the inn my guy friends told me. I was on my own. So I started contacting anyone who may know anyone in Johannesburg. This was not going to be easy. At the same time, I had called my uncle in London to just catch up. I told him of my plans for the summer and he stated that his son was going for the world cup too. Oh my goodness! What luck! And, apparently I have a cousin who lives in Johannesburg who could offer me use of the guestroom. SCORE! Things are going swimmingly well. But you know, in my family news travels like wildfire. Next thing I know my father is in contact with me asking “what is this about you going to South Africa?” Ummmm, I’ve only been talking about this since 2006!!!! After wrangling three weeks of away time from folks at work, I offered to visit my father in Ethiopia with one of those weeks. Matter settled! Tickets bought. Considering that I’m going US->Johannesburg -> Addis Ababa -> US, $2800 is not bad right?
Drive to Canada (yay, they let me through), go to US consulate (yay, they reissued my visa stamp), drive back to the US (yay, the visa actually works). What a breeze, and I got to visit family in Canada as well that I haven’t seen since 2004.
So now, there’s just a little more than over a month before the official opening ceremony of the bestest and hugest sport event in the entire universe. I received my FIFA confirmation packet in the mail and have secured my South Africa visa as well.
It is finally real. It is really happening. I’m still alternating between total excitement and disbelief. I can’t believe I’m actually going to FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.