Immigration news…New photos of us and Bob…

Our kindly and thoughtful landlord, Bob with Tom.
We returned from the Manly Ferry and bus ride back to our holiday home at around noon. It’s a bright sunny day without a cloud in the sky and we’re on CLOUD 9!!!

We’re no longer illegal immigrants!  No words can say how happy we are to have this dreadful, worrisome situation behind us. The staff at the Australian Immigration Office couldn’t have been more helpful. 

In only took about 30 minutes to receive a new Bridging Visa that will last until April 22nd when we’ll board the ship that will hightail us out of Australia and bring us back to North America for our upcoming Alaskan cruise and nine weeks visiting family.

We were happy to have photos of Bob with each of us.

This morning at 7:45 am we met Bob at his door ready to go. He drove us to the Manly Ferry and only five or six minutes later we boarded the ferry to Circular Quay in Sydney, a 30-minute ride.

No doubt, both of us were worried about the outcome of our 10:00 am appointment, but we both attempted to remain upbeat and hopeful. I continued to take photos on what proved to be a sunny day, the first we’d experienced in the past two weeks since our arrival in Sydney by cruise ship.

Once we arrived at Circular Quay we took a taxi to immigration, a traffic-congested 20-minute ride in Monday morning rush hour traffic at a cost of AU $17.50, US $13.33. We arrived with an hour to spare decided to head to a local coffee shop for a cup of tea for me and coffee for Tom.

We sat outdoors at this cafe sipping coffee, tea and chatting with an American couple we met.

The instructions for our appointment clearly stated we were not to arrive any sooner than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment. With comfortable seating at an outdoor cafe, we met a wonderful retired couple from the US and the lively banter began. 

Before we knew it, it was 9:45 and we needed to make the short walk for our appointment. I felt my heart rate increase in worrisome anticipation of a poor outcome. In no time at all, we were seated in a waiting area on the fourth floor where others with similar immigration status were also waiting for the outcome of their situation. 

Our ticket number was 001. Surely the wait wouldn’t be long. Moments later, we heard our number being called to find the kindly rep who’d worked with us the first time we arrived at immigration almost two weeks ago in an attempt to sort this out.

Within 15 minutes, we were told with smiles on their faces that they’d provide us with a new Bridging Visa and within 30 minutes, we were out the door with documents in hand giving us an extension, good until midnight on April 22nd.

Tom and I with Sydney behind us on another cloudy day., taken a few days ago.  Today, finally, we have sunshine!

Thank goodness, the upcoming cruise didn’t include any Australian ports of call. Had that been the case, we may have had an even more serious situation. Luckily, this particular cruise itinerary didn’t include any stops in Australia. We were good to go.

We thanked the rep and her assistant profusely. Tom even put his hands together and bowed as he’d so graciously done time and again in Bali, in gratefulness for a service well provided. We both chuckled over the fact that some habits are hard to break, especially one as special as that bow.

Now, back home after a pleasant outdoor ride on the ferry and a quick bus ride, I began today’s post excited to share our good news. Once I wrap this up, we’ll get back to work on ordering Tom a new laptop we found online with expedited international shipping.

Now, we can go back to thinking about our missing shipment from Nevada that included all of our tax documents, our two new driver’s licenses, my new phone, and a variety of other items we’d included in the package. One thing at a time, please.

Thanks to all of our wonderful readers who sent us good wishes for today’s outcome. Your concern meant so much to both of us! Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 26, 2016:

Taking photos of the two pink cockatoos at the alpaca farm in New Zealand through the narrow chain link fence was tricky.  This unedited photo illustrates the tightness of the fence and the beauty of this pink bird.  For more photos, please click here. 

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