My trip to Chicago last weekend was very productive. I carpooled with two other IUer’s, one undergrad, one visiting scholar, so gas was paid for. Driving was kind of crazy as it seemed like nobody observed the speed limits and I got honked for being a good citizen and following the rules several times. I knew immediately then that I wouldn’t never get used to big city lifestyles anymore now that I’ve been living in Bloomington for more than 5 years (I grew up in Beijing, 10 times the size of New York City in terms of population). The 4-hour drive ended up being 6 hours due to the bad traffic and my GPS not recognizing the drop-off location of the visiting scholar.
The main purpose for this trip was to get a Schengen Visa from Germany, one of the Schengen countries and the one where I will be staying in for the majority of my upcoming Christmas getaway in Europe! My friends in Chicago gave me a tour of Northwestern University, which was very pretty even in winter times. I was also treated with good Chicago food, very happy.
So I got up early on Monday to avoid the morning Michigan Avenue traffic. At the Germany Missions (Consulate), I got questions like, why did you purchase plane tickets before you come to apply your visa?? I was really bummed because it didn’t even cross my mind that I might not be granted a visa. After a full round of scrutiny, I needed to submit additional materials. Germans are known for being very rigid with rules so if you are missing any of the materials they asked for, you are not getting a visa. A week after the visa appointment, I received my visa stamp in the mail. I’m so excited and I’m going to study my Lonely Planet now. 🙂