India Visa

Four days before my trip to India, I realized that I’d need a tourist visa to enter India. As a Malaysian, I didn’t need visa when I traveled to Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore. Even Australia, I just applied tourist visa online. Somehow I assumed that I don’t need visa to enter India as well. WRONG!

Needless to say, I freaked up when I found out about the visa requirements, at 9am Thursday night. The visa requirements are so strict that as if India government doesn’t want anyone to visit India. I only had two business days to obtain the India visa. >*<

I could either apply via mail or in person. Due to the time constraint, I had to apply in person, at the nearest India visa center, which is located in Chicago.

The Consulate General of India outsources the visa application collecting and delivery to Travisa Outsourcing.

See: http://www.indianconsulate.com/6IndianVisa/IndianVisa.html

and https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/homepage

America outsources work to India and India Consulate outsources visa application collecting work … weird.

Thank God I was able to make an appointment online with Travisa for Friday at 10am.

It’s about 5.25 hr drive from Fairfield (Iowa) to Chicago. So, between 9pm and 4am, I had to prepare the documents for visa application and handle my dog situation.

Thanks to Radim for printing my passport photos. :)

I thought of taking my dog with me, but wasn’t comfortable leaving him in the car since I had no idea how long the appointment’s going to take.

Somehow in my heart I had faith that I’d get the visa approval the same day. So, I didn’t take any extra clothes with me and I left my dog at home. Clara promised that she would go over my house to feed my dog and let him out to pee pee and poop poop.

I was so confident that I would come back the same day that I let Clara left her dog at my place before she left for Wisconsin at 4pm.

Well, long story short. I got to the visa center on time and submitted my visa application.

(Tip: No handbags/shopping bags/phones are allowed in the visa office. If you have no one to take care of your bags during your appointment time, please remember to leave your bags in the car/hotel. I had to run back to the parking garage couple blocks away, 7th floor up to put my handbag.)

10:15 am, I was told to come back at 5:45pm to see if my visa application was approved.

Between 10:45am and 5:45pm, I wasn’t in my best mood, but managed to “enjoy” some food therapy and retail therapy just to kill some time.

So sick of the wait, I went back to the visa office at 5pm to try my luck. “No”, I was told. I must wait since the passports hadn’t been delivered.

While waiting, I heard terrible stories from another India visa applicant that she has applied her visa a month ago and it still hasn’t been approved. Her situation was even worse than mine. She has to fly to India on Monday to attend her only daughter’s wedding.

My name was called first at 6:15pm. The answer was: “Sorry, your passport wasn’t returned.”

OMG! I didn’t expect that answer at all.

I felt crushed!

The officer at the visa office said she would mail the passport to me on Monday (if approved) and I’d would to pick up the passport from Fedex office on Tuesday (the same day my flight to India).

I didn’t want to take any chance. The only way to feel secure is to have my passport in my hands before I left Chicago. So I asked the officer if I could file an emergency case with the Consulate tomorrow (Saturday).

Officer whispered to me: “Yes, you can.”

Not sure why she had to whisper. My guess is that she doesn’t want everyone starts going to the Consulate and filing emergency cases.

So, with a dead and disappointed heart, I left the office. A soft voice in me asked if I could go back and request the officer to double check if she has my passport. I ignored that voice.

The next half hour was the worst time of my life. I had to figure out my dog situation and my overnight accommodation, Consulate office hours, and all that. I didn’t have time to think of “what if I don’t get the visa tomorrow”? I like to stay positive even in the worst situation.

After I’ve made all the arrangements, at 7pm, I received a call from a number that I didn’t recognize.

“Where are you?”

“I am in Chicago.” I replied.

“Come back! We have your passport!”

“Are you serious???” I replied with disbelief.

I think God just played a joke on me. He was testing my faith.

That was one of the best moments in my life. I can only handle so much emotional ups and downs in a day. :)

Overjoyed. I drove home the same night, to be with my dog. :)

1 sunrise. 2 Red Bulls. 1000x times Rabbit! songs. 10 1/2 -hr drive. 9-hr wait later…. I got my India visa.

Cheers to another “great” adventures of mine. Happy go lucky. :)

Although living on the edge makes me feel alive, I will definitely apply for any visas much earlier in the future! :)

I am super excited now. India, here I come!

Happy Birthday

11/9

Happy birthday to me! :)

I’ve grown so much last year (well, not taller physically). I got to know myself much better and am more at east with my true Self.

I am definitely at a much better place than 10 years ago and I feel very blessed for that.

not taller, but fuller in heart :)

not taller, but fuller at heart :)

birthday flowers

birthday flowers and wishes were special delivered to me :)

I had a lovely lunch with the girls + Gabriel. xoxo

I had a lovely lunch with the girls + Gabriel. xoxo

5-Star Oatmeal Cookies by Laura

5-Star Oatmeal Cookies by Laura

For dinner, a girlfriend invited me over to enjoy my one of my favorite noddle dishes and to spend time with her little boys. It was very satisfying.

I am such a home girl! Keeping it real. :)

Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes and friendship.

Big hugs and love,
OuOu

OMG! I Won!

September 3rd, 2010

I have been checking my Blackberry every hour for a winning notification email from Delivering Happiness Book team. No news.

Seriously, there are tons of amazing entries for “Win a Spot on The Bus” contest (see http://deliveringhappiness.ning.com/), do I stand a chance? You know, I would be genuinely happy for whoever won this contest. Of course, I would be happier if I won. :)

I came home from work at around 4pm, and I thought I would check my Blackberry one last time. I wasn’t really expecting anything, but I saw this:

Winner notification from Alana

Winner notification from Alana

OMG. I do know who Alana is. She is one of DHBus’s team members. My heart went “BA BUMP“! Should I pinch myself or my dog to make sure I’m not hallucinating?

If I was sitting on a chair, I would have fallen down to the floor, for sure!

I shouted out, “OMG! OMG!

I’m definitely not OMG kind of girl. But there wasn’t any word that I could think of except OMG!

Then, I shouted OMG 100 times more while running around the dining table with cell phone still in my hand.

If that wasn’t enough, I went out to my backyard and shouted another 1000 times.

My dogs thought I was a mad woman, but I didn’t care. Haha. I was happy to share one of my happiest moments with them.

Now, what exactly did I win? See below.
=============================================
Prize: One (1) prize will be awarded, consisting of the following: A three (3) day, two (2) night trip for two (2) (winner and one (1) guest) to join the Delivering Happiness, LLC Bus team members on tour in one of the following cities of winner’s choice: Los Angeles, CA; Orlando, FL; or New York, NY. Prize includes round-trip, coach class air transportation for winner and guest from the major airport nearest winner’s home (as determined by Sponsor) to the city chosen by winner, and three (3) days, two (2) nights accommodations (one room, double occupancy) at a hotel of Sponsor’s choice. The dates of travel will differ based on the chosen destination.
==============================================

The biggest prize is not the free air tickets and free accommodation. Anyone can buy a ticket to L.A., but not everyone has the opportunity to tour L.A. on the Happy Bus with all the wonderful DHBus team members! We’ll meet entrepreneurs, visit great organizations, and help delivering some happiness along the way!

To read more about Delivering Happiness book, written by Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos), go to http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/.

“In DELIVERING HAPPINESS, Tony reveals the secret to his success at such a young age: leadership in culture and happiness.”
—Lance Armstrong

Delivering Happiness Book team is going on a 20+ city bus tour (they are in Chicago today, should be heading out to New York soon). Here are their city stops: http://www.deliveringhappinessbus.com/stops, and I just won a spot on the bus!!

Note: This post was written on 9/3. DHBus is now in Providence, RI.

Happy Bus

Happy Bus

If you see this baby blue bus winking at ya somewhere, be sure to blow it some whistles and fly it some kisses.

Later that day, I went to take some photos to send to DHBook team. Of course, living in the “SillyCorn Valley” of the Midwest (Fairfield, Iowa), I couldn’t help myself but took the photos in a corn field just two minutes away from my house. Haha. I love the big blue sky and the no man’s land feel. :) I was so excited that I forgot to take the book with me the first time, so I had to go back and get it!

My precious Happy Book

My precious Happy Book

A dose of happiness for you

A dose of happiness for you

Me & Da Happy Book

Me & Da Happy Book

Chilling

Chilling

What's the secret to happiness? You gotta read this book!

What's the secret to happiness? You gotta read this book!

One with nature. Being with nature makes me happy.

One with nature. Being with nature makes me happy.

Me doing WOW

Me doing WOW

Big sky & corn fields

Big sky & corn fields

Now what? I need to pick a city to join the bus tour. I’ve never been to L.A., so L.A. it is! Also I need to come up with my Happy Bus bucket list. That’ll be my homework for the next two months. :)

I would like to thank the whole DHBook team for this amazing opportunity. I feel so honored to be selected. See you guys soon, on the bus!!!

See me on Delivering Happiness Bus website @ http://www.deliveringhappinessbus.com/contest.

Happy Bus & Me

I am so happy, happy, happy, happy, happy!

If you have any questions that you want me to ask the Happy Bus team during my trip, let me know by posting a comment here or twitter me @ououborneo.

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