Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Peachtree Street Shuffle

Okay, so I finally made it to the consulate in Atlanta, after my original plans were delayed by the Murray incident (not Murray the Cop from The Odd Couple, no, but you knew that). There was no specific appointment and no great hurry, as I did not need an interview (I suppose because it's an SMOE job), and was told by every source the process should take a week.

I found a parking lot with spaces three blocks north of the embassy building, International Tower, in a huge plaza on Peachtree Street, about 30 feet from a MARTA subway stop. I am ashamed to say in never occurred to me to use that method. To be fair, I would have to drive 10 or 15 miles to get to a bus stop, which an hour later would get me to the south terminal subway station.

So I was stuffing the parking box with money when two young guys walked by, staring at me. Turns out to be one of my favorite old students and his younger brother--one of the hellion twins during that era at my old, old school. Small world, huh? Yeah, as I always say, but I wouldn't want to paint it.

Blake has graduated from law school and on his way to an Army reserve appointment--one of the top five or so students I've ever taught, as a total package. Got a 5 on the AP Enviro Exam the second year it was ever offered (first time I taught it). I'm kicking myself I didn't think to give him the blog address.

I make my muggy, sweaty way along the city streets to the International Tower, fifth floor. A few other people were sitting in the office waiting area, at least two of which had to be fellow NSETs; they didn't seem to want to chat, so I filled out the form, etc.

There is some little difficulty over the SASE, self-addressed-stamped-envelope, that I brought. The young lady I talked to on the phone did not mention that it needed to be a Priority Mail envelope. Well, turns out I didn't even need to bring one, since she had one right there, in exchange for USD 7.50. This might not be the case at all consular offices. Eventually got it all squared away.

She tells me they'll send it out tomorrow. We shall see, eh? After it was clear all I had left to do was leave, I said chong mai kam-sa-hamnida, which drew a smile from the girl behind the glass and delighted laughter from an older couple who had come in behind me. I asked them if I got it right, and the man answered, "Yes. Perfectly." Of course it's just four words.

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