Los Angeles six hours from Arizona; home to the consulate that I had to go to in order to get my VISA. Getting a VISA is a new level of stress that can’t be explained. There are so many pieces of paper that you must get together along with the little specific nit-picky things that need to be completed. I went through the list and each document several times.
I felt that the best thing to do was go the day before and leave from a hotel in the morning. Now of course my mom is the most amazing person ever told me she would go with me to L.A. So, we reached out to some family friends who were on the way to L.A. We met up with them at lunch the day before my appointment, we saw the new house and a new baby, and spent a few hours there before continuing the drive to the heart of L.A. but before we checked in to the hotel, we drove by the Consulate to scope out the building and the parking. It helped with the nerves.
The hotel we stayed at was super cool. It was a bit on the pricey, but I got a discount on Hotels.com. It made it totally worth it. It was in a nice area only 20 minutes from consulate. The inside of the hotel was beautiful. With multiple floors of what appeared to be an old shopping center, and a beautiful fountain right in the center of the lobby. There was a valet service, that unfortunately it was not optional, and was an extra fee, but it was fun to leave the car at the hotel and just walk around LA. Our room was on the 20th floor of the hotel and let me tell you the most unique thing about this hotel. The elevators had been used in movies. There was a plaque near the elevator about the movies it had be used in as well as a row of movie posters that had filmed there.
We had dinner at a little restaurant that left much to be desired, but we had snacks at the room and there was a little gift shop we were able to get chocolate from to munch on while we watched HGTV (the thing to watch in hotels). In the morning we walked to get breakfast at this cute little café, but it was such an adventure to get there! I guess L.A has street levels? I am not 100% sure what they call it, but we got lost so we asked this lady for directions. She told us that we had to go up in one building across a bridge, then up an escalator, and through another building. We met a very nice lady in the elevator of the first building who was going the same direction. It was very interesting to talk to her about what it was like to work in LA.
I am glad we drove by early because the consulate was this tall black building with just an address over the door. There is one road off to the right of the building that has parking and another to the left that is a dead end with no parking. I met a few other people while waiting who were also going to Spain. No, I wasn’t the only one who traveled with their parent, they do preferer to have only people with appointments inside. (My mom waited outside with a good book the whole time). The appointment itself was a quick and easy process. It took no longer than 15 minutes to get all the information imputed and pay the 160-dollar fee. The wait for them to call my name however was a long process. My 11:30 appointment which I arrived early for turned into an hour wait with my name being called at 12:20. The man at the window checked each paper, taking my application and the copies of like everything. He stamped the apostille and the translation and asked for copies of both documents. In the end I had everything I needed, for the application and I was given a receipt for the VISA, as well as a paper for the T.I.E. I received the apostille and the translation back and was told I would need them to take with me to Spain. Now I just must wait to go back and pick up my VISA when it is ready.
My stressful journey to get a VISA turned into a fun little vacation for my mom and me.