After a quick decision and 35hrs of travel time, we arrived to PDX last night.
Here is a little background:
Last May, we received 6-month Indian business and entry visas. The entry visa is for family of Indians or family of foreigners entering to India with a long term visa, so since I’m married to Josh, and he got a business visa, I get an entry visa which mirrors Josh’s visa duration. We didn’t know the visas started on the day they were issued even if a travel date is provided, so we received them too soon. We travelled to India on July with 3 months remaining in our visas and so for the last three months in India we have been working on getting the paperwork required to extend our visas. In India, everything takes forever, setting up a company took almost three months.
When the company was finally setup last Monday, we were getting ready to gather all our paperwork to extend our visas which expire on October 15. To extend business visas in India for the first time, they have to be granted by the Home Ministry Affairs in Delhi but through the regional FRO/FRRO (Foreigner Regional Registration Offices).
In India, if you intend to stay in India for longer than 6 months, you have to register at the FRO of your residence jurisdiction. Since we intended to stay longer than 6 months with a visa extension, we tried to register about a month ago at our local FRO. They would not register us because they said that it was not possible to extend business or entry visas. They were completely wrong and did not have the right knowledge, but there wasn’t much we could do. We live in a very small town, where I doubt they get any foreigners with business visas, so they never have to deal with such a thing.
Our plan was to get all the visa extension paperwork and apply for it at the FRO in Pune, our nearest big city. One of the requirements was to get a residence verification from the local police. We tried doing so buy showing our lease to the local police but they would not do it because we weren’t registered and according to them we can’t extend our visas. This was getting ridiculous. With not a lot time left in our visas and all the paperwork taking longer than it should have, we were definitely getting stressed about it. Finally, there were several requirements that we simply did not have such as business invoices and financial statements from the company we had just setup in India. Although it would be possible for Josh to generate such documents, we try to live an honest life and decided that we simply cannot go through this visa extension process, and instead we had to go back to the US and get new visas.
The requirements for getting new visas are A LOT less and easier to get than for extensions, except a lot more expensive since we actually have to go back to the U.S. where we don’t really have a home. Which brings us to: why Portland?
1. Some of Josh’s clients and partners live in Portland, so it would be a good opportunity for him to meet with them.
2. One of these persons is also a friend, who visited us in Durham, NC when we were living there and was the only person outside of Durham, who attended our wedding.
3. Josh lived in Seattle for four years and he really loves it, so we can go visit.
4. As for myself, I would go anywhere, but not only did Portland sound perfect, I also had a good feeling about it. I’ve actually never visited the U.S. Pacific Northwest, but from what I know, it sounds like the perfect place for me, and Josh says so too. I love the mountains and rainy weather, fall and winter are my favourite seasons, I also know they have cool restaurants and coffee shops (I love dining out). I just love a place where you can feel the nature around you, but you have everything you need in a city.
Let us not forget here, that Josh and I live a life trying to follow God’s orders and plans for us. So we have to listen to Him, and for some reasons, His plan for us right now is to be in Portland. In fact, on Wednesday, we booked a flight to Seattle, but it got cancelled like 10 minutes after booking it. They cancelled our reservation but kept our money. Josh spent the next two hours on the phone trying to fix this nonsense and around 3am we finally got our money back but no reservation. So we tried again, but this time following our intuition, we booked a flight to Portland and it worked. Later that day we drove 6-7 hrs to Mumbai to catch a 2am flight on Friday.
We flew Mumbai – London – Chicago – Portland.
When we arrived to Chicago, I was surprised when Josh started saying that he felt like a foreigner and was having some culture shock. I told him there is such a thing as reverse culture shock but I didn’t except it to happen that fast, especially since he is very American and has lived here most of his life. I wasn’t experiencing reverse culture shock, I was just excited to be here. In fact, I have never appreciated America as much as I do now after living in a small town in India for three months. Josh said that when we left to India by God’s orders, he wasn’t expecting to come back to the U.S. like ever again. I actually felt the same way; It truly felt like a permanent move. And I guess with this came the reverse culture shock.
To start off our trip, we booked three nights through Airbnb at a home which we share with the owners but we get our own private room and bath. So far, this has been so much better and cheaper than a hotel. They are excellent hosts and very cool grandparents. I just spent the night and am currently typing this post sitting on the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in, and my view is of the vast woods being showered by the cloudy sky. I can’t believe I have this view right now and be just a 15minute ride to the city. I can’t believe that two days ago we were sleeping on a 4inch hard mattress on the floor, surrounded by train and traffic noise, and bugs.
I can’t help but wonder why would God do this? I believe that God’s job is to reduce my desires and attachments of this world so that I can focus more on Him and become closer to Him, but bringing me here and providing me with a heavenly bed is certainly not the way to do it. I have to remember that blessings don’t usually come in the form that we expect them, and they can come in the form of suffering, and happiness as well. As long as we are doing what He wants us to do, then I am satisfied.
One thing is for sure, by surrendering to God, the adventure is never-ending.
Portland, it is so nice to meet you and can’t wait to get to know you.