Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night, this is all that I have left before leaving for Amsterdam on Wednesday… Or at least so I hope.
I was actually planning on leaving Hong Kong a few days ago, which would have allowed me to spend Christmas in Muiden, a small city outside Amsterdam, with my girlfriend and her family in their super cosy family home.
Unfortunately my dreams of pyjamas, cuddles, Christmas treats and hot chocolate was stopped dead in their tracks before they could ever realise due to a delayed visa.
Actually it was not delayed at all, in fact it was processed in record time but in this case record time was just not fast enough.
About one month ago I was hired by Beerwulf (the lead online craft and speciality beer retailer in Europe) as a senior frontend developer, this was amazing news.
The process would most likely have been a breeze had, I been an European citizen, but due to my South African heritage, Beerwulf had to sponsor me with a higher skilled working visa and this naturally takes some time.
The process was started a few days after I signed my employment contract and then it took two weeks for the Dutch government to grant me my work Visa. Once granted by them, I also had to follow several steps to get the process going on my side.
I immediately started with process. The first thing that I needed to do was to apply for an appointment at the Dutch Consul in Hong Kong via their online scheduling system and to my horror, the earliest appointment was for the 31st of January 2018! Off course this was out of the question as I had been planning to start my new employment, bright eyed and bushy tailed, no later than the 2nd of January.
I immediately called the Dutch consul and after several conversations, emails and a lot of pleading, I was granted an appointment 09:00AM the next morning, this was Monday, a week before Christmas.
The following morning I was there with all my documentation, passport photos and the pleading eyes required to get the necessary assistance. In my heart I knew it would be a stretch, I mean just the fact that I was already granted an earlier appointment was already a stretch but alas, upon leaving the Dutch Consul after handing in my completed paperwork, I gave Tracy one more teary eyed look and mumbled something about Christmas alone in Hong Kong. This would surely do the trick, I naively thought.
The big thing is that they need ones passport which I handed in my passport at Tuesday 09:00AM, it then had to be shipped to the back office in Beijing, there it had to be approved, processed, examined, fraud checked and then shipped back to Hong Kong and in order for me to be in the Netherlands for Christmas, this had to happen before Friday, so like I said, “This would do the trick, I naively thought”.
After handing in my passport, I called the Dutch Consul several times over the following days, even my girlfriend called them trying to speed up the process. On Friday they informed us that my passport has been mailed back to Hong Kong but it would not be here before Christmas 😦
In defence of the Dutch Consul, they were always super helpful and super friendly but unfortunately all our calls, tears and prayers (yes we did pray) did not increase the speed at which the government official graced the pages of my passport with their tired stamps.
Hence this post and hence me still being in Hong Kong for Christmas.
So is it disappointing to still be here?
Well I did have my hopes up about spending Christmas with my girlfriend and her family and about making the big move to Amsterdam (I am packed and can be at the airport in 45 minutes) but actually it is ok… I have been invited by my (ex) manager from Palo-IT to spend Christmas with her and some friends, which I am really looking forward to and I also have time to say farewell to Hong Kong and all that goes with it.
It can be easy to forget but Hong Kong has been great and it has also been great to me and it will stay in my heart forever. ❤