This period between New Year and Chinese New Year always feels a little strange.
Work starts to pile up as folks return from a long Christmas and New Year break.
There are many things going on at home too, with springcleaning, buying new year goodies, buying new year clothes for everyone, planning how much money and how many notes of which denomination we need for the angbaos, on top of the day-to-day duties of shower, bedtime, grocery shopping.
To top it off, I’d just gone to / returned from a business trip to Mumbai last week.
It was a nail-biting experience for me because I discovered on Monday morning that I needed a visa to India.. when my flight was at 745am on Tuesday.
Hence I frantically searched for an agency who could process urgent e-visas, found one, and frantically applied for it, paid a whooping SGD210 in the process, and frantically checked and chased for status updates every other hour.
The first update was at 1030pm SGT. No approvals.
I packed my luggage anyway.
Woke up at 430am to check again. No approvals. Was told that they could only update again at 1030am.
Called the airline to change my flight to the evening one. Paid SGD370 for the change. Stayed wide awake the entire morning. Finally got the visa at 1030am.
Left for the airport. Called my FIL who was at home with the girls. Boarded the plane. And the flight was thankfully pretty uneventful except for a screaming kid.
Chaos at immigration. No one really knew where to queue. My colleague (fellow Singaporean who also did not know we need a visa 😂) and I got directed to another line. A very, very, very long line.
Finally after more than an hour of queuing, I stood in front of the immigration officer who looked at my visa letter, looked at me, looked at my visa letter, typed on his computer keyboard, looked at me, looked at my visa letter, typed on his keyboard again and said, “Cannot find your record.”
He then got up and walked out of his counter and I stood there waiting.. thoughts that went through my mind included:
1. Oh dear! I got a fake visa??!
2. Would I be forced to take another 5.5-hour flight back to Singapore?
3. Would I be thrown into jail for #1 – fake visa?
I glanced at my colleague who was also stuck at another counter, and shrugged.
Finally the officer came back and it looked like the visa issue had been sorted out.
But for the life of me, I just couldn’t get my finger prints right. It became almost like a physical training where the officer was shouting repeated instructions at me to, “Wipe! Rub! Press! Press hard! No! Again! Wipe! Rub! Press! Press hard!”
I did the finger and thumb prints almost 30 times before I got them right.
We spent TWO HOURS at immigration.
It was freaking late by the time I got to my hotel room – some 12am India time and 3pm Singapore time. Couldn’t sleep because I had gastric / stomach pain.
Thankfully I brought along the meds my FIL gave me. Thankfully the rest of the trip went ok.
Caught up with the rest of the team the next morning. Did all the research as planned. The trip wasn’t very long but the days were. I barely had 4 hours of sleep each day, sleeping at India time but waking up at Singapore time to call the hubs and the girls.
So this week I’ve been feeling tired from the trip, lethargic from the time of the month, and yet having to keep up with things at work and at home while my mind feels so distracted by everything happening at the same time.
Next week’s another busy week but I’m looking forward to celebrating our wedding anniversary and Chinese New Year!