January 22, 2016
Last night we returned from our overnight trip to the Ecuadorian Consulate in Chicago.
It was a great test run with the kids, to learn just how well they will travel and also how much we can or can’t do without as far as necessities on the trip to Ecuador.
The drive to Chicago, including stops to eat & use the restroom was about 5 hours. Our flight from Chicago to Quito will be 9.5 hours in total (Including a 1 hour layover).
We were actually surprised with how well they did, we made two 5 hour drives within 36 hours. We are confident that they will do great with the flight next month!
As much as we dislike the city… the sights and sounds of the hotel, highrises, and and bustling street life were amusing and exciting for the kids. They really enjoyed people watching from the hotel window, their first taxi ride, and especially the thrill of lunch at The Rainforest Cafe`. If they had this much fun in the Windy City… we can hardly stand the wait until they see Ecuador 😀
The visit at the Ecuadorian Consulate went well and we were relieved to only have spent the better half of an hour in their offices. The kids and I even enjoyed a mini – cultural experience in the waiting room (which of course was full of Spanish speaking Native Ecuadorians). We even had fun on a sort of Spanish scavenger hunt while trying to find the bathroom in a place with only Spanish signs… and not a single available person to ask for help!
Upon leaving the office, Carlos filled me in quickly, that will be returning in a few weeks with the hopes that the children will travel with Dual Citizenship passports and me, with an extended stay Visa. This will require a lot of paperwork and a good amount of money to pull it off in time, but will ultimately be better option that wait to apply for citizenship/residency after arrival. We have 2 things on our side that just might make it all possible: 1) Carlos is a returning Ecuadorian born citizen… which gains our children automatic Citizenship after application. And for me, as his wife… I am allowed to apply for Citizenship now and will hopefully be granted a longer term Visa and/or permanent resident status.
All of this will dramatically reduce and possibly eliminate the chances that any of us will need to leave and re-enter the country upon the expiration of a traveler’s visa.
2) by some impossible twist of fate, this person in the Chicago office has some underlying knowledge of Carlos family. Because of this formerly established relationship, he seems to be going out of his way to help ensure that all of this is handled correctly and will prevent us from any hassels later on. Can we say, “WOW!!!!”. I mean, this is like stuff from the movies. It just doesn’t happen. So it’s either one incredible stroke of good luck….OR its some kind of proverbial nod from the universe, as if she’s saying “Yessss!Goooo and don’t look back. THIS is your path in life! ”
So, here we go… all in a mad dash, rush, and hussle to make the possible.. well, possible!
Below: some photos from Chicago Trip #1.