Friday, November 22, 2013

Jumping Through the Hoops

Today ends with an enormous Sigh.  It encompasses many emotions, including anger, frustration, impatience, worry, panic, guilt, more anger, a moment of happiness, then exhaustion.

The plan for today was this:  Go to the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) office in Markham to get the health certificates signed for the cats, come home to get more packing done, then go to a friend's place for drinks and go dancing at our favourite club for the last time before we leave.

Apparently life had other plans.

First of all, the CFIA "hours" that they have available for people to get papers signed are very limited, between 1:30-3:30pm.  The bus that goes there (for people like us who don't have a car) is a "D" bus, 24D to be specific, that leaves from Victoria Park subway station.  The regular 24 bus only goes as far as Steeles.  Anyway, unbeknownst to us at the time, the 24D bus only runs until 1pm, then doesn't start up again until 7pm.  Really, TTC?  How does that make sense?  So we get to Vic Park station shortly after 1pm.  We ended up taking the bus that goes to Steeles, then a cab to the CFIA office.  

At the office, everything went swimmingly.  The government veterinarians were very nice and they were impressed by my thoroughness and amazing skills at filling out forms.  I'm not sure why I used the word "swimmingly" just now, but it inspired me to look up the origins of that word.  This is what I found (

Given that most of our planet’s surface is covered with water, it’s not surprising that “swim” itself is a very old word. The Old English “swimman,” meaning ‘to move on or in water, to float,” was derived from a Germanic root that also produced the words for “swim” in several other European languages.
Since movement through water is generally smooth (unless one is thrashing about in panic), especially compared to the “clomp clomp clomp” of walking on land, “swim” has acquired a wide variety of figurative uses, many involving a sense of gliding or moving smoothly as if suspended in liquid (“She … swam across the floor as though she scorned the drudgery of walking,” 1888).
This use of “swim” to mean “glide smoothly with little apparent effort” gave us the adverb “swimmingly” in the early 17th century meaning “with smooth, uninterrupted progress; easily; with complete success” (“The interview went off very swimmingly,” 1824).
So after the forms were signed and stamped, the CFIA vet told me that I should double check with the Costa Rican Consulate/Embassy to find out if I need to get the papers verified/legalized by them, now that they've been signed by the government veterinarian.  I mentioned that I had checked into it, and that there was a company who specializes in import/export of pets and they told me it wasn't necessary.  The vet said I should call anyways, as policies are always changing.  So whilst waiting for our cab back to civilization I made the call.
Now, before I even made the call, I was getting angry and frustrated.  Originally I had planned it all out, timing and budget-wise, to get all of the papers signed by everyone (local vet, government vet and Costa Rican Embassy).  It was all worked out to have been completed by the beginning of this week.  But then when I was told by the "experts" that I didn't have to do the last step, I changed the timing and money was diverted elsewhere.
I called and managed to speak to a live person right away (which is unusual with government phone calls!).  She assured me that YES, I do have to get the forms legalized at their embassy.  Sigh.  Okay, I'm leaving in 5 days.  How do I get this done?!  She told me that usually people send them the paperwork and it takes about 2 days to get them back.  Umm.  It's Friday.   The weekend is a no-go for any government agency.  We leave on Wednesday very early in the morning.  Again, how do I get this done?!?  Apparently there is a new consulate office that *just* opened in Toronto this week.  But the representative there is not authorized to sign or legalize these sorts of documents.  Sigh.  My best option is to make an appointment with the embassy in Ottawa on Monday morning.  So I did.  9:30am.  Now I have to make a last minute trip, probably by bus if I can't find a ride.  Sigh.  Good news is that Dan has family there so I can go Sunday night and stay over, then go to the appointment and head home after that.
Basically I'm pretty frustrated about the whole thing because I totally actually had it all planned out correctly but then I trusted this other company.  Also I started feeling guilty for spending money on my new tattoo yesterday (which I love, btw).  I was fortunate and lucky to have gotten some donations towards my tattoo as birthday presents from friends, so that helped a lot!  I keep reminding myself that I shouldn't feel guilty because I didn't know this would happen.  But I'm always SO careful and organized, so when this happened today I was really feeling defeated:/  
After the phone call, we were still waiting quite a while for the cab to get us back to Finch station.  We decided to go straight there in the cab as there was a BMO bank and we had to deposit the "signing fee" of $40 per paper ($160 total) directly into the Consulate's bank account.  I need to bring the receipt of payment to my appointment on Monday.  
Finally on the subway heading home, my stress was levelling out into exhaustion and hunger (having not eaten all day except a small bowl of cereal in the morning).  My feelings must have been really apparent on my face.  There was a lady sitting across from us, who came up to us as she was getting off at her stop.  She had a bouquet of flowers in a small vase , that I had noticed on her lap of course while she was sitting in front of me.  She placed the flowers on my lap and said to me "You look like you need these more than I do".  I looked at her, incredulously, and managed to muster up a quiet "Thank you!!" as she left the subway.  Then I almost started crying, as this random act of kindness triggered the release of all of the emotions I'd been struggling with all day.  Kinda restores a small amount of faith in humanity.  

So now we're home, fed and drinking some wine.  I've totally lost my enthusiasm about going out tonight, so we're just staying in and watching some Netflix.  I'm sad about not being out to see friends tonight, but honestly just not in the mood to be around people tonight.  I'm comforted by Dan, the cats, and my new bouquet of pretty flowers :)

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