Logan Cannon

Adventure Time: London, UK

5 best things about London, Logan’s list:

A few months back, Shannon and I visited Manchester, England. We had an awesome time. The food was great, and everyone thought we spoke with a funny accent. After a weekend there, we knew we had to dedicate another visit to the British Isles so we could see as much of the English capital as possible.

Overall we LOVED London…. the list could go on for a while, but here are my top 5 reasons why.

1. They speak English!

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Yeah, super obvious, but one thing that traveling and living in a foreign country teaches you is that language is really important. It connects you and your people, and you can instantly identify foreigners. While Shannon and I certainly don’t have a nice English cockney, English is more or less English. If you need to complain or ask for directions, you can easily do this in London, even if it involves using your dope American accent. Basically, it’s just comforting understanding everything.

2. Pubs, Pubs, Pubs!

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English pubs, and the accompanying pub grub, is by far one of the greats parts of any English city, and in London there certainly isn´t any shortage of quaint, picturesque pubs. I mean seriously, EVERY pub looks super cool. Imagine the coolest pub style bar you have ever seen in America and that is like ALL the pubs in London. Shannon and I spend a large amount of our time in London getting pints and sampling the eats. Like we´ve said over and over, the beer in Spain is boring and the variety offered in London is highly appreciated. We also tried our fair share of burgers, meat pies, and local classics.

3. The British Museum

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This place was up there on my list of places to visit, and it soared to the top after learning it’s a totally free museum. We only spent a few hours there, aka not nearly enough time to see everything, but what we did see was really cool. Our main goal was to visit the Rosetta stone (the stone that helped linguists understand Egyptian hieroglyphics) and the Egypt collection. There truly is a ton to see, and Shannon even told me they only display like 1 percent of everything they have. This one is a must for a first trip to London.

4. The sites

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We really only had part of the weekend to spend in London, so Shannon and I took advantage of the time by seeing as many different touristy sites as possible. My favorite by far was Big Ben and the accompanying Westminster Palace. We decided to see this place on Saturday morning, and it as a great way to kick off the weekend. It’s the classic London tourist site, and there are even some nearby red telephone booths so you can snap your classic American in London shot.

5. The Borough Market

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Saving the best for last. The Borough Market in London was by far our favorite place. It is the perfect combination of a standard farmers market (fresh produce, meats, and cheese) and restaurant stands (prepared food, sandwiches, drinks etc.) The place was PACKED with people because it was Saturday and it wasn’t unbearably cold. I think we visited almost every little booth and tried the prepared food at like five separate ones. All the food was AMAZING and it gives you the opportunity to try different local foods without the huge restaurant bill. Essentially, you get to spend the afternoon outside eating and drinking. What is better than that?

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Adventure Time: Manchester, England

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What? Manchester? Everyone knows London is THE city to go to England.  Before you judge our English destination, you should know two things.  One, we still plan on making a weekend trip to London, so don’t be worried we’re missing out. Two, Manchester is actually a fun, cheap alternative to London.

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Originally, instead of spending the whole weekend in Manchester, Shannon and I planned on taking the train from Manchester and spending Saturday in London.  However, we kind of missed our window to get the cheaper train tickets and decided it would be better to spend an entire weekend in London instead…especially after we sort of fell in love with England.

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Now down to the trip.  We stayed at a nice Airbnb really close to Manchester University.  It was a pretty central location and made it really easy for us to walk everywhere we wanted to go.  It also meant lots of drunk college students at night, but its quaint because they talk funny.

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We got in really late on Friday night, so Saturday was really our first day in the city.  We started off by getting the traditional English breakfast at a little place called Bowlers.  It consists of bacon, sausage, eggs, tomato, mushrooms, beans, toast, and coffee/tea.  I admit the beans are a little weird, but I ate it all.  I wanted to taste English culture, and evidently that means eating beans on buttered toast for breakfast. After our healthy meal, we decided to walk around the center of town for a while.  We went to see a few sites like the cathedral and a little victorian era cluster of buildings, and later stumbled onto the shopping area.  Manchester has a really good shopping district and a huge mall in the center of town.  We spent a while wandering around the Americany mall and even went into Aldi to find some real peanut butter.

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We were still pretty full from breakfast so we decided to forego lunch and grab an English pint from a cool little bar in the center.  Naturally, I chose a Sam Adams because…America. After spending some time in our room relaxing from all the walking, we found a collegy place to get dinner.  I felt like we were the only ones eating because I’m pretty sure 7:30ish is a little late for dinner for them.

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After that, we went to a few more places to get a couple more pints.  We had to take advantage of the good beer because Spain has like 4 types of the same crappy stuff.  I have to say though, a pint seemed like a lot of liquid after spending so much time drinking cañas (200 mL glass) in Spain.  The bartender seemed baffled by the fact that I wanted a half pint and by the fact that I asked for it with an American accent.  I get the feeling they don’t get a lot of tourists there.

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On Sunday we went back down to the center to do some shopping.  We found the Manchester Primark, and I’m pretty sure it was Shannon’s shopping heaven. To be fair, the store is really impressive.  It’s like the size of a WalMart, but only for clothes. We also went and grabbed a cup of tea and a delicious piece of cake, treat yo self – am I right?

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CAKE

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We worked up an appetite walking around the never ending land of Primark and decided to get some lunch.  We found a cool English pub with lunch deals and decided to get fish and chips and a beef pie.  They were both really good!  I’m not sure I’m among those who hate English food.

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After that we went to John Ryland’s Library to see some cool old stuff.  Basically it’s a really old library that looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie with old books and really great architecture. By the time we left the library, it was getting late, and we had to catch our flight back home.

Adventure Time: Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Hello all! Its time for part two of our Christmas break vacation. If you haven’t read it yet, check out Shannon’s post about Cologne, Germany.

Shannon was by far the most excited about the Christmas Markets of Germany, but I was looking forward to going to Amsterdam the most. We didn’t have a ton of specific places to visit for this city, so we spent a lot of our time exploring and wandering the many canals of Amsterdam.

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On our first day our only real priority was seeing the Anne Frank house (this is the canal outside the Frank museum). There is an entire museum now that takes you through Otto’s old warehouse where he ran his business and the secret annex where the Franks spent their time in hiding. I read the diary when I was in middle school, so it was really cool to see the actual diary and to be in the building where Anne wrote it. All of the furniture that used to be there is gone, but you can still see the swinging bookcase that was used to hide the secret entrance and the pictures Anne glued to her wall as decoration. Overall the museum was super interesting and worth every minute we had to wait in line. (P.S. you aren’t allowed to take pics).

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After the Anne Frank house, we walked to a quaint little dutch cafe with a view of one of the many canals for lunch. Luckily EVERYONE in Amsterdam speaks nearly perfect English, so ordering food or asking questions was never a problem. We just walked in to places and ordered in English as if it were the US. When we finished eating, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the city and wandering into stores and tourist shops.

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During our wanderings, we stumbled across this little stroopwafel shop. Stroopwafels are very thin waffles filled with a caramel sauce. This place was especially delicious because they made the waffles to order right in front of you so they were nice and warm.

 

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Later on in the evening we went out for dinner at a cool little Dutch pub and then checked out one of Amsterdam’s finest museums: the Sex Museum. In reality it was a super cheesy museum that looks like something out of a bad 80’s movie. You could say it wasn’t what we expected. We then ended the evening by walking through the Red Light District. Although it seems like it would be a shady place, the Red Light District is actually full of tourists and feels very mainstream. It’s another place where we weren’t allowed to take pictures, we even saw a lady of the night throw water on a tourist who took her pic.

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Our last half day in the city before our flight was pretty uneventful because it was Christmas Day. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed, so there wasn’t much to do except walk around and see more of the city.

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A Day in the Life: Logan

Hi Guys!  As Shannon already explained, there is a lot more to our Spanish life than traveling and generously priced food.  We unfortunately do have to work.  Now that I have my weekly routine all figured out, I think its time I share what I do.

My official job title is Auxiliar de Conversación, and that basically means I pretend that I totally know what I’m doing in front of a highly critical audience made up of 11-18 year olds.  I have exactly zero teaching experience and was pretty much thrown into it.  Essentially, they pay me for speaking English with my “perfect American accent” (their words, I swear).

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7:30 AM: Wake up and get ready to educate the future of the Spanish people.  Schools here tend to be pretty relaxed, and like Shannon, I don’t have much of a dress code to adhere to.  I can wear jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.  I try and keep it moderately profesor-y with a minimum of jeans and a collared shirt.

8:40 AM: I (ideally) leave my house for my commute.  Its a grueling 15ish minutes…foot and on the metro (aka its super close).  I really lucked out with the location of my school, and the fact that I can walk there is almost unheard of in Madrid.  Unlike Shannon, however, I work Monday through Friday.

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9:00 AM: Start working.  Everyone at my school is amazing and the teachers have made me feel like a part of the team.  Everyone values the work I do, and it is really nice to feel like I belong.

I am mainly responsible for conversing with the students.  This can range from just asking them questions about their lives to creating vocabulary worksheets.  I do some lesson planning, but it is all based around conversation stuff and never anything like grammar.

11:00 AM: Break time.  I just go to the teachers lounge and hang out and practice Spanish.  I normally have between 1-3 classes between this break and when I start at 9.

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11:25AM-End of day.  My end time varies a lot more than my start time.  Monday-Wednesday I finish around 2, and Thursday-Friday I finish around 5.  I have anywhere between 3 and 6 classes each day, and I am anywhere between 50% and 100% worn out when I’m done.  Its not that the job is hard, but I spend most of the day on my feet using my “teacher voice.”

Tuesdays and Thursdays I also have private lessons that I do on the side.  I don’t really love doing them, but the money is good and I enjoy teaching the students.  Overall, its not too demanding, and I am enjoying things here in Spain.  I hope you enjoyed learning a little about my life here.

Besos y abrazos,

logan

Adventure Time: Segovia

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*Click to enlarge photos

Shannon and I have officially passed the one month mark here in Spain. That is just enough time to start to get the hang of things around here.  We have our work schedules down, we’ve figured out how to order food in a restaurant, and we know where to go when we need to buy something.  With the basics of Spanish life covered, we decided it was time to start exploring.  For our first trip, we decided to start small: Segovia, Spain.  Its only about an hour bus ride from Madrid, so we thought it would be a good first traveling experience (you know, less opportunities to get lost).

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Segovia is a smaller Spanish city with lots of history.  It has been around since Roman times, and at one time was the home of Isabel of Castile (do a wikipedia search).  The biggest attractions in the city are the Aqueduct, the Alcazar, and the Cathedral. The city center is very walkable, so Shannon and I were able to visit all three sities.  When I say walkable I still mean like 2 Kilometers between sites…I guess thats really dependent of your definition of walkable.

The Aqueduct was very impressive.  No one knows exactly how old it is, but about 1,500 years is the rough estimate they give. The whole structure was built without mortar and is held in place by precisely cut stone.  It was really cool to see and touch something that was constructed way back when.

Next stop was the Cathedral.  We didn’t actually go in (because it cost money), but we walked around almost the entire thing. I’m no architect, but I’m pretty sure this church is an engineering marvel and a work of art, especially when you consider its age.

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Last stop was the Alcazar.  While I’m not exactly sure what Alcazar means, I can tell you the structure is basically a castle. (Maybe Alcazar means castle? I don’t know, the dictionary is so far.) This was by far my favorite part.  It looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, with a draw bridge and tower included.  Shannon and I decided it would be fun to take a risk and climb the tower despite the tourism warning that it includes 152 steps and “is only for the healthy.” To get to the top, you have to go up several sets of staircases that are made of hand-cut stone and very narrow.  The main staircase is cylindrical and you half expect to find a princess who has been locked away at the top.  When you finally reach the top, there is an amazing, 360 degree view of the city and countryside (last picture).

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Overall, it was a great trip, and an awesome way to kick off a year of exploring!

Logan

 

 

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times: Part 1

If you’ve been following any of our social media accounts you would think living in Madrid has been nothing but sunshine, rainbows, and happy feelings. But obviously reality is a bit different. While we do love Madrid, there are just some things that get on our nerves.

Peeved:

1. Cash Moneyz 

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Everyone knows Spain uses the Euro. And thats fine, the Euro is great.  My only problem is that €1 and €2 are coins, not paper. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when I give someone a €10 bill and get back 3 lbs of change, it makes me a little upset.

2. Light Switches

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Why are they so big?! Its like the country is full of people with poor vision.  Also they put the bathroom light switch on the outside of the bathroom…call me American, but that does not seem ideal.

3. Power

I just feel like it would solve a lot of problems if everyone just followed the same system.  Then you wouldn’t have to buy these stupid things to make your electronics work.

4. Nutrition Labels

EVERYTHING is per 100 grams.  Thats fine if you are looking at something like meat, but terrible for something like salsa.  NO ONE EATS 100 g OF SALSA!  The entire jar is like 70 g, so why would the nutrition label be per 100 grams?!

5. Hard to get around (crazy street layout)

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I guess this is also part of Spain’s charm, but when you are trying to get somewhere for the first time, the winding streets are mega confusing, especially in comparison to the good ol’ Chicago grid system.

Love:

1. Madrid’s Metro 

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Everyone loves Chicago’s el, but the Metro here wins by far.  Its fast, efficient, and clean (none of which can be said about the el).

2. Tapas/Cheap eats

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In no other country do they give you free food with a €1.5 drink.  You don’t really get to choose, but its guaranteed to be Spanish food…and that means its going to be good.  Plus the drinks are  €1.5.  Thats like 1/4 the cost in Chicago!

3. The people

People here are great and love to meet new people. When introduced, you exchange a quick kiss on each cheek.  It really feels much more personal than the standard handshake back home. (when 2 men meet they still shake hands, aka no kissing)

4. Language/// Idioma

I studied Spanish so obviously I like this part of the country.  Its pretty much the reason we’re here.  Also tapas…that’s the other reason we’re here.

5. Architecture/History

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Just google image Madrid and you will see what I mean.

 

How We Spent Our Summer

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Now that Shannon has introduced you to our new blog and explained exactly what we are doing in Spain, I wanted to talk a little about the process we went through to get everything ready to go.  This is our story of everything that went wrong and the few times things went right.

The entire process is simultaneously easy, hard, and stressful.  Right now I know that makes close to no sense, but by the end of this post I think you will understand what I mean.

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The Application

The very first step after finding the BEDA program was to apply. Shannon and I submitted our applications almost immediately after the application period opened in late January.  This part of the process was fairly straightforward and just like any other job application. After applying, we had to wait about 2 months for the application period to close to hear back from the program coordinators about interviews.

The Interview

So after 2 long months of freezing winter and anxiously waiting, Shannon and I were both emailed about setting up an interview time!  The interview itself was really casual and only lasted about 15 minutes.  We were interviewed by coordinators from the BEDA program and asked fairly simple questions about why we wanted to teach in Spain.

This is a good time to introduce the theme of things going pretty well for Shannon and…well, not so well for me.  As I said, the interview was simple. What was not simple was figuring out what was wrong with my computer’s mic after starting the Skype interview. I could hear the interviewer, but she couldn’t hear me.  I know, worst case Skype scenario, right?  Through hand gestures and head nods, we agreed upon a new interview time where I could prove that I am actually a competent, capable person she should hire.

*** Despite my technological issues, and after anxiously waiting for what seemed like forever, Shannon and I received the email on May 9th telling us we were HIRED!  ***

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We had pretty much bet a good job right out of college on this going to Spain thing, so this was a huge relief for us knowing it was worth it.  We were obviously extremely excited about this, but little did we know it marked the official beginning of the most stressful summer ever.

 

The VISA (aka the reason for the stressful summer) 

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Now that we had been accepted into the program, Shannon and I had to apply for student visas.  We won’t really be students, but this is what the program requires.  Applying for a student visa is actually relatively easy…and hard.  What I mean is, if you have the documents required, show up to the consulate, and give them the required documents, you are essentially guaranteed to have your visa approved.  The hard part comes from getting all those documents in time to go to the consulate…

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These are all the required documents for a student visa at the Chicago consulate:

(I know most of you probably don’t care, we just want you to know how much work it was…)

  1. National visa application form
  2. Passport and ID
  3. One recent passport sized photo
  4. Original hardcopy acceptance letter
  5. Planned roundtrip itinerary
  6. Evidence of funds
  7. Proof of health insurance
  8. (step from hell) Recent conviction information request form
    1. From the State OR
    2. From the FBI (if you have lived in multiple states)
  9. Apostille for Recent conviction information request form
  10. Proof of health insurance (I know, they list this one twice…your guess is as good as mine).
  11. Medical certificate
  12. Self-addressed express mail USPS envelope (if you want the passport mailed to you)
  13. Money order for the processing fee ($160, for what? Who knows)

I will go through the steps and talk about why some sucked way more than it seems it would.  Here again Shannon had a lot more luck than me…go figure.  It’s also important to know every Spanish consulate has different requirements, so it’s not like you can get help from just anyone in the program…they have to be going through the same consulate for their advice and experience to be relevant.

National visa application form

The national visa and application form is actually easy.  You just fill it out and glue the picture from number 3 to it.

Passport and ID

Again, this part is easy since I have a passport, and because Shannon got hers renewed a while back.

One recent passport sized photo

Getting the passport sized picture was a little annoying because we had to go to CVS to get “professional” pictures, but whatever, not hard. (and by professional I mean some random employee took my picture with a point-and-shoot type camera in a small corner of the store).

Original hardcopy acceptance letter

The original hardcopy letter was mailed to us from Spain.  Mine came pretty early in the summer, but we had a little scare with Shannon’s.  A few weeks after mine came we started to worry because she had not received hers.  However, all was well a few days after contacting the coordinators because her letter finally arrived.

Planned roundtrip itinerary

I don’t even know why the planned flight itinerary is included on the list.  Shannon and I bought flight tickets in advance, so I brought a print out, but no one ever asked for it.

Evidence of funds

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The evidence of funds requirement is a little confusing.  We will technically be on a student visa, so they want some type of proof we will have money for like eating and stuff while we are in Spain.  Fair enough, homeless, starving students aren’t good for a country’s image. The problem is the consulate requires students to have an income of $2,000 each month (remember how we aren’t even students?)  Since Shannon and I will make a little less than this, we had to get our parents to sign a letter saying they will pay for us to be in Spain.  Oh, and the letter had to be notarized.  Because having my mother sign some stupid letter was just a little too easy.

Proof of health insurance

Proof of health insurance came in 2 parts.  One part was in the acceptance letter, and the other was a separate email sent to us during the summer.  We had to submit both to the consulate.  Your guess is as good as mine as to why it’s not just all in one place.

Recent conviction information request form

We thought we were good to go, that this part would be a breeze.

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But we were wrong.

To be fair, we probably made the background check harder than it had to be.  The consulate offers two options.  Get a background check from the state, or get one from the FBI.  Shannon and I went to school in Wisconsin, so we were not sure if we would need a background check from Illinois AND Wisconsin, or just from Illinois.  We decided it would probably be safer to just go ahead and get the FBI background check.

To get a basic FBI background check, you have to get fingerprints taken at a local police station, fill out the proper paperwork, then send the packet into the FBI.  We sent these off one week after we were accepted into the program in early May because the FBI says it takes 6 weeks for the background check to be processed.  So after sending the paperwork off, Shannon and I waited patiently anxiously throughout the summer for our background checks to arrive.

True to their word, the FBI took exactly 6 weeks to process her background check.  Shannon’s was mailed to her home and she received it about 6 weeks plus 3 mailing days.  Mine, however, did not come.

I waited, and waited, and waited more…for 2 weeks.  Finally, I called the FBI to find out what was going on.  They told me they had no way of tracking the background check and that I had to wait 3 weeks to send out another one.  At this point I started to panic.

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Shannon and I Shannon’s sister, Kayla, found REALLY good deals on a flight to Spain on August 31st, so we had already bought our tickets.  The Spanish consulate says it takes 5 weeks to process a visa, so I had to have all my paperwork ready to take to the consulate 5 weeks before the flight on the 31st to guarantee I would get the visa in time.  I did the math on how many weeks I had, and it wasn’t looking good.  My mind obviously raced to worst case scenario, so I got on Google to look for alternative methods to get a background check fast.  I found a company called an FBI approved channeler.  These are basically companies that also do FBI background checks, but cost more money and do it about 1,000,0000,0000 times faster (aka 72 hours).  I decided I was running out of time.  I needed to buy another background check so I could get step 9 done in time to have a visa appointment 5 weeks before my flight on the 31st.  Sound like a lot yet? More on step 9 in a bit.  As it turns out, we should have gone with the channeler all along.  It cost about $17 more to get in 72 hours what the actual FBI couldn’t get me in over 6 weeks.

So, after over 2 months of waiting for the FBI background check, I finally had one in hand.

What happened to the original FBI background check I sent for in May?  Turns out it was marked as undeliverable and sent back to the FBI.  On top of this, the FBI takes forever to process things, so I didn’t get the call telling me this until I had already bought the other background check.  I did eventually get it…just after I moved onto step 9.

Apostille for Recent conviction information request form

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Now that I had my long-awaited background check (plus 1 more), I needed to send it off to the state department to have it legalized internationally. Evidently, documents from the government aren’t recognized internationally (i.e. in Spain) until they have an Apostille from the state department. Now I know what you’re probably thinking.  How does one federal government department make a document more legal than a different federal government department when it’s the same federal government?  Honestly, I don’t know.  Those are just the rules, man.

Naturally, this step could not be complete without some sort of problem.

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I (foolishly) used the USPS to submit my paperwork to the state department to be apostilled.  At first things went fine, but around 11:30 pm, I got an email saying there were no updates for my package.  This basically means the USPS has either delivered the package into oblivion, or forgot to scan it when it was delivered at the location.  I did what any reasonable person would do and called the local post office in Dulles Virginia.  I called about 20 times over 2 days and no one answered…ever.  I called the office that does the apostille and  was told they did not have it…or that it was with security.  At the time, I didn’t really have the luxury of waiting around for my background check to probably maybe be processed soon.  Remember the whole flight the 31st plus needing all the documents 5 weeks before the flight to get the visa?  I was still working under that deadline here…very stressful.  So I again started to panic thinking I did not have time to wait around.  I went to the Google again and did some research for other options.  I found a company that walks your documents to the apostille office and submits it in person, thus getting it done much sooner.  By this time I had received the background check I originally sent for, so I decided to FedEx (by this time I was pretty tired of USPS, they are #dead2me) my other background check to this company to have them submit it for an apostille in person.  As it turns out, this was probably what I should have done all along (see a theme here?).  This company had great customer service and submitted my documents and mailed them back in time for me to have an appointment at the consulate about 5 weeks before my flight on the 31st.

What happened to my original apostille?  I’m not really sure what the problem was when I called the office, but I did eventually receive my apostilled document…about 2 days after my consulate appointment for my visa.  Just my luck.  So I now had not only 2 FBI background checks, but 2 apostilles as well.  Great.

For Shannon the office that does the apostilles was true to their word and took exactly 5-7 days to process plus a few days for mailing and a national holiday.  Lucky her.

Proof of health insurance

This is where it mentions proof of health insurance again.  It’s the same requirement as number 7.  I guess they just really want to you know you need health insurance. Either that or they need a new proofreader…

Medical certificate

The medical certificate wasn’t hard.  Shannon and I just went to a doctor and told them what we were doing and that we needed a statement on the clinics letterhead saying we weren’t going to infect all of the Iberian peninsula with the next bubonic plague.  It was something else it had to say, but basically the same idea.

Self-addressed express mail USPS envelope

Shannon and I lived in Chicago so we just had to hop on the el and go downtown to pick up the visa instead of having it mailed by the worst shipping company to exist.

The Appointment

As I said before, the actual visa appointment at the consulate was very easy. You just wait for your turn and give them all the documents plus 1 copy. Shannon had her visa appointment before mine because everything went relatively smoothly for her.  My only issue was again with timing.  My appointment was on the 28th of July and my flight was on the 31st of August.  If you count the weeks up, it was 1 day under 5 weeks.  Remember, the consulate says it takes 5 weeks to process student visas.  I asked the consulate worker if he thought it would be done in time for the 31st, and he was pretty sure it wouldn’t be a problem.  He then gave me the best instructions of the whole process.  He said “if we don’t send you an email that your visa is done, come to the consulate the day before your flight to pick it up and it should be here.” I put that in quotes because that is exactly what he said (he did sound a little like Antonio Banderas, but that doesn’t change anything).  I almost laughed, but he was totally serious.  I took his statement as good news, but I really couldn’t be sure until I had the visa in my hands.

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There is good news and bad news.  The good news is that Shannon’s visa took just over 3 weeks to be approved, and it only took about 2 weeks and 5 days for mine.  When I got the email I actually hugged my brother, Mason.  He wasn’t very happy about it, but I didn’t care.  It marked the end of the most stressful summer for us both.  I immediately called Shannon and she was equally excited.  So what’s the bad news?  Well since it only took 2 weeks and 5 days for my visa to be approved, it means I actually had time to wait around for all my documents to take their time in getting to me and didn’t need to buy extra background checks and apostilles plus shipping costs…lucky me.  But it doesn’t matter.  I would do the exact same thing again.  I had no way of knowing how long it would take to be approved and it’s better to be safe than in America when your flight leaves for Spain, forcing you to pay hundreds of dollars in fees to change your flight date.  Not to mention the fact that Shannon and I would have to fly separately and be left to navigate Madrid alone.

Overall, we are just happy to have our visas and everything ready to fly out on the 31st…except packing; we still need to get on that.

procrastinating

Besos y Abrazos,

Logan

 

***After going through all this, I am pretty much an expert in getting a student visa for Spain through the Chicago consulate.  I got various documents in multiple ways from different government departments.  If you are applying for a student visa and have any questions about the process or how much time it takes, please send me an email, and I will do what I can to help out.  I would love to help as many people as possible avoid going through what I went through.