Busy day today taking care of all the last minute items before we leave on Wednesday.
Started off early, heading to North Sydney to visit the Colombian Consulate and submit our visa applications. The Consul and her staff were lovely people, one of them was actually from Cali and he was very excited that we were going there – he even knew where the orphanage was, he did his training near there apparently.
I had already contacted them last week to let them know we were coming and to check that we would be able to get the visas issued in time, and we also had to deposit money directly into their bank account for payment, which I did via direct credit on Friday.
We also needed passport style photos, although these were a little tricky, since they needed 3cm x 3cm photos, and standard Australian passport photos are 4.5cm x 3.5cm. After hunting high and low for somewhere to get these from, I ended up doing them myself, taking photos of us standing up against a white wall and then cropping the photos and creating a high quality 6″x4″ image with multiple photos side-by-side on them. I then took these images to Officeworks on a memory stick and had them printed onto good quality photo paper. Once I cut them out, they looked just as good as the photos I’d had done for my passport a couple of months back.
The final part of the visa application was the ticket details to show that we had a ticket leaving Colombia booked (standard practice for temporary visas really), and that information was sent by our travel agent over the weekend. So when we arrived first thing this morning, they checked our documents and verified that the payment had gone through already, and then asked us to come back this afternoon – all very quick and painless.
From there we headed back to St. Leonards so Leanne could submit an application for a childcare placement – just in case she decides to go back to work part-time in a couple of years time.
Next we drove to Chatswood where we stopped off at one bank to sort out some bank accounts (unrelated to the trip) and off to another bank to get a USD bank draft made up (this is the main fee for the adoption process), and get some USD cash to pay for various parts of the process while away.
After a break for morning tea at San Churros (really nice hot chocolate!), we stopped off at home to sort out a few things.
Next we drove out to Bondi Junction to see the lady from the adoption support group and give her the bank draft (she sorts that out with the orphanage on our behalf), after which we stopped for lunch at the shopping centre there.
Finally we drove back to North Sydney to collect the visas, which were waiting for us when we arrived – such great service! Certainly far smoother than my experience of applying for visas to visit China or India in the past.
So we got home around 3:30pm with pretty much everything we need for the trip ready – we just need to finish our packing and tidy up the house before our flight first thing Wednesday morning. I also have a bit of stuff for work to tidy up before we go and make sure I’ve got everything I need to be able to get my work done while away.