Perhaps at earlier point in my life I could only dream about travelling to different countries without knowing that dreams do come true.
Everyone knows that it requires rigorous effort and God’s will in order to achieve something. But let’s skip the bleeding part and jump right into the beginning. Well, it contradicts earlier statement. So let’s call it the beginning part two.
From my memorable days attending classes in International Relations UGM, especially EU-related class, I and my classmates are familiar with the concept that is Schengen State. A generous decision by at the time six countries to open their respective borders with the sole purpose to appease the mobility of goods and people which lead to the favorable condition of regional economic integration.
Three years ago was my first contact to such implementation of the Schengen Agreement which under the Treaty of Amsterdam had included 15 EU and non-EU states under the agreement. It was on the beginning of summer 2008 according to Northern Hemisphere season; four students of UGM including myself were intended to make our debut in at that time increasingly popular international program call Model United Nations. The four of us had the chance to participate in the program organized by students of University of Groningen, The European International Model United Nations.
To make a long story short, our inquiry for Schengen visa via Embassy of the Netherlands in Jakarta was approved in a reasonable time considering how concern the EU states about the security of its external border (the perimeter line linking all the EU member states under one not-a-perfect-circular-line of border). To recall the day we received our visa, we strongly believe the dream that is an integrated Europe.
Enough of the past romanticism, I was and still am rather disappointed by the things turn out during my visa application process to the Embassy of considerably economy declining country; Portugal. I do not know whether it’s the practice of extraterritoriality or simply lack of good public relations of the embassy. And to think that it’s the latter, disrupt the whole idea of establishing a foreign mission in another country, yes?
Thanks to my background working in an international office of a reputable university and powerful suggestion from supervisor and colleagues, I strategically react to the unexpectedly bad experience dealing with an EU country. Our two indirect contacts and one straight call were proven effective to obtain the information needed though it’s lacking in ignite the spirit of local staff of the Embassy.
Without solid information of when and how to get what (visa-red), I gambled on put on expenses to travel to Jakarta to reclaim my dignity (read: passport). And perhaps, the universe was just trying to see how strongly I pursue my goal; I run to the Embassy!
Well, it’s not from Jogja of course. I run because I had to act outside the box (read: bajaj—a three wheeler public transportation in Jakarta) to defeat Jakarta’s severe and chronic issue of traffic jam. That day it’s no longer jammed, it’s stuck!
Since I was not to meet the ambassador himself, I figure that appear in sweat to the Embassy was not inhumane, so there I was sweat dripping when knocking the steel wall of a security post by the entrance. This somehow exaggerated story of disappointment ended with insincere, or perhaps it’s-not-my-fault-smile from the embassy staff who handed me my international ID book.
Perhaps the lesson learns here was not at all about the lack of communicability of an embassy. I’d say the lesson learned was the chance to jog in Jakarta. When else can I do that, right? With visa obtained, I can happily board the plane the next day. No.
This moment turned out also become the crossroad of my scholarship application too. Filled with questions which wring my brain out, I was just hope that I can postpone my exchange staff experience to Porto for another day or two.
So, again, there I was sitting in my chair at OIA UGM, filling out my application with great anxiety of whether I am going to meet the deadline or blow it. Surprisingly, I am the person who happened to able to perform quite unexpectedly (in a good way) when it comes to meeting the deadline as in working in the near-to-death situation. Okay, that was exaggeration.
Surprise, surprise! Apparently, the scholarship application was not the only thing in my one month program’s need-to-be-done-before-depart list. There are other things were on that list which I might or might not share with you. In the end, time defeated my list by avoiding me to perform the last item on that list (this is a form of denial).
Eventually, whether ready or not, we are going to start whatever thing destined to us. This time, is visiting the country which first appear in the history of Indonesia colonialism (under colonized); Portugal