I’ve been living overseas for half of my life and applying for visas regularly throughout that time. It never gets easier. Hell, now I have to report every ninety days to immigration (in person or by mail-in form) just for the honor of living here.
At least tomorrow’s visa run is just an hour away, in Khon Kaen. It used to be in the border town of Mukdahan (famous for peppery pork sausage and a shitty Indochinese market), and before that, the border town of Nong Khai (famous for a “friendship” bridge that Japanese engineers would scoff at, plus a shitty Indochinese market), but I suppose they got tired of dealing with so many foreigners coming from hours away.
I’ve met people that travel around to different countries just collecting stamps in their passports, and I really despise them. Collect some for me, fuckers. I’ll give you my passport and all the other shit you need to extend my visa for a year, and you go stand in line with fifty other pissed off, whiny expats that wai to office shrubbery and tow around ugly village wives picking grasshopper legs out of their teeth.
I fucking hate visa runs.
UPDATE: I’m done! Everything went really smoothly this year; the staff at Khon Kaen immigration is great and the labor office in Maha Sarakham has always been understanding, if a little comfortably-paced.
Turn up the sound, sit back (for 8 minutes), and watch this:
I hate listening to Royksopp, but I like it used in videos.
This brought back a flood of Japan memories. It’s funny how my memory has become compartmentalized by country. I have a set of memories that affects things I do every day. They pop up when I’m driving, cooking, or buying something at the store. I remember doing the same thing in different settings years ago. I can remember details like what it smelled like that day or the looks on people’s faces*. For the most part, these memories are very private and I feel like an island – but then I remember I can talk to Nam about most of it, and I don’t feel so alone.
What about the babies? They are going to grow up knowing at least two very different lands and languages. That is just their starting point – I can only dream of what the future holds for them.
* As I was writing this, I flashed back to driving in Bordeaux almost 15 years ago in a rented Opel Vectra (turbo gasoil) and almost t-boning a young guy in an VW Golf because I went on the wrong green light. It was such a bad mistake, the guy would have been totally justified in getting angry about it, but he saw I had realized my mistake and instead just nodded and gestured in acknowledgment.