Yesterday afternoon, we received an email from the law firm representing us in our request for a visa extension that the decision has been made. Since the South African immigration department is backlogged, we had to use an attorney. If we attempted to file independently, we may never have received an answer in time and would have overstayed.
We’d be banned from the country for five years if we overstayed and subject to fines. We are prepared for this possibility. If our extension is rejected, we’ll have seven days to leave the country. If that transpires, we will head to Florida early to wait for our cruise on April 8.
Most likely, we will be approved. Why would they turn us down? We are spending money in their country and not causing any problems. We don’t use their medical system without payment, although we did receive a no-cost vaccination booster. We offered to pay, and they refused.
Friday morning at 10:15 is our scheduled appointment to appear at the immigration office in Nelspruit to each open our sealed envelopes. Once again, we’ll make the harrowing three-hour round trip drive, head to the immigration office, wait for our turn to open the two sealed envelopes, one for each of us, to see if we’ve been approved and the date we have to leave.
The last time we filed for an extension was in 2018 when we were each given different visa expiration dates. Go figure. Our applications were entered as a couple. Why would we leave on different dates? Instead, we left earlier so one of us wouldn’t be considered “undesirable” for overstaying by a few days.
I always dread the drive to Nelspruit, especially through the gorge where giant semis hog the two-lane road. Thank goodness South Africans are courteous drivers who move over onto the shoulder to allow faster vehicles to pass. We’ve never seen this anywhere else in the world. Drivers are thoughtful. We’ve yet to see any road rage. Instead, there are other issues on the roads here, such as shootings and carjackings. Then again, these have become commonplace in the US as well, including in Minnesota, where we lived.
This morning, I am rushing, trying to get the post done, and walking as much as possible. Rita is picking me up in an hour for us to have pedicures together at the lovely little spa in Marloth Park. We’ll be gone a few hours, so I will have to catch up on the walking when I return a few hours later. Right now, I have the timer set to walk every 15 minutes.
Already this morning, I folded all of the laundry on the rack, made the salad for tonight’s dinner, worked on the documents for Friday’s trip to immigration, and walked two miles in the house. Friday, we’ll be gone from 8:00 am until noon. Friday afternoon, when we return, I’ll be swamped catching up, doing the post with the outcome of the immigration office visit, and somehow manage to walk almost 4 miles, 6.4 km.
Some may say, “Give it a break! Take a day off!” But, I am doing this to save my life. There are no days off when that’s the objective.
Otherwise, all is fine. Tomorrow morning at 9:00, I am going to Stoep Cafe for breakfast with Rita. At 11:00 pm, Tom and I have teeth cleaning appointments at the dental office next door to the cafe. Tom will arrive at that time, have his teeth cleaned, and then we’ll shop at the market and pharmacy.
On Friday night, friends Lynne and Mick, whom we haven’t seen since 2019, will meet the four of us for dinner at Jabula. We have no plans yet for Saturday night, but something will likely pop up.
Have a pleasant day and evening, wherever you may be.
Photo from one year ago today, February 9, 2021: