Saturday, October 29, 2011

Road Trip!!

We have waited on Elizabeth's social security number for about 5 or 6 weeks now. Though we applied no more than we got here, there have been problems and delays since her citizenship paperwork was so slow to process. We are STILL waiting on her social security number--due any day now! Originally we thought and had been told that we needed it before we could get her US passport, so we waited....and waited...waited some more till I couldn't stand it any longer!! That's when I went directly to our local passport office and asked "Do we REALLY need to have that social security number BEFORE we can apply for her passport???!" When she said yes, my heart sank knowing we'd be here for another 4-6 weeks or longer. That's when I poured out my heart and told her our situation and our desire to leave for China asap. She said to wait and she'd go check more on it. I was ELATED when she brought back a piece of paper, their official document, that made an exception allowing us to put 0's in the box and go ahead and apply!! I just wanted to kiss her--though I didn't--I simply told her how grateful we were for her help. She asked me how fast we wanted to leave and I told her we wanted to leave last week when the rest of our family left. She then told me that it'd take 6 weeks to get the passport--knowing it'd still take another week or more for the visa. I asked about expediting it and thought it'd be a week, only to be again dismayed to find out it would be 2 or 3 weeks. Then she said I could drive to one of the passport agencies and obtain one the same day!! She also gave me a phone number to call and verify what she told me and obtain all the details. Immediately we went home and I called finding out to drive there for the appointment, we had to have airfare tickets in 2 weeks or less. Long story short, we made all the arrangements and hit the road in 2 days for the nearest passport agency processing center in Chicago Illinois. It was a 9 hour drive one way (with an hour for lunch, which we chose not to do on the way home, we ate in the car instead to shorten our trip). Then we stayed the night in a hotel close enough to walk to the facility as it is in downtown Chicago where parking is a nightmare. I know this cause it wasn't the first time we've had to go to Chicago for an expedited passport. Needless to say, we were successful and left that day with her US passport. Now it is off getting her a visa, which is supposed to be done on Friday. Our plan is to leave the US on the 3rd arriving in China on the 4th--that is assuming all goes well with her visa but don't know why it wouldn't.

Here we are in front of the Kluczynski Building where we obtained her passport.

And here we are standing in front of the headless angel (don't know what that is all about!) in one of the store fronts.

Then this picture is taken of Elizabeth and my sister, Theresa, who was kind enough to go with and help navigate.

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