One warning for all those that think this trip is really cool, and perhaps consider doing something similar: you need strong nerves. Or at least be willing to train them. And to push limits. Take punches. Bare insecurities.
Early this week I found out that the Indonesian visa procedure for foreign researchers changed drastically. From “we will arrange this for you in Indonesia, don’t worry!” it was reshaped into the following scheme:
And this does not include the 4-page Word-document that lists all the requirements for this permit. Needless to say, I panicked (thank you all those that bravely endured my whining), as the day of my departure was less than two weeks away. Also needless to say there is no way on earth I would be able to go through this procedure in two weeks’ time. I even doubt you’d get it done in two years’ time for Pete’s sake! But I simultaneously learnt that each time bad luck occurs, a new opportunity arises. You know what they say: you never live your life as you planned it. You live it whilst you are planning it.
Same goes for the new passport I needed to apply for. The staff at the city hall assured me I could use the visa in my old passport, and get the stamps in the new one. They turned out to be wrong. Consequently, I am rushing all around Brussels once again to get all the right visa back into my new passport. It costs me money. Lots of it. And time. Even more of it. But all that is always a better option than being stopped the border. Moreover, this visa hunt has brought me to places in Brussels I have never been to before. Such as Uccle, where the roads twist and twirl between English cottages and ecclectic mansions; and moves up and down through patches of what once must have been a gorgeous forest. Places I would never have known if it weren’t for these crazy visa requirements.
So, my dearest Franz Kafka, you were a great writer, but you can