I arrived home Friday night and spent the weekend sleeping, but was pleasantly surprised at how fast I slept off my jetlag. Good thing, as I had an interview Monday morning. I believe I successfully transformed myself from a jean-clad travel-worn nomad into a presentable professional candidate (!) and the interview went well. I think. Fingers and toes crossed. Since then I have been following up on some other job leads, reconnecting with people, wishing for snow (yes, me, that's how strong my Olympic spirit is!), and doodling on a sketchpad bigger than a postage stamp for a change. Have been staying with a friend, and today move to another friend's place, and will visit family until I get my sublet flat on the 10th for the balance of the month.
Here is the plane that brought me home, thought it was photo-worthy once I saw it's name:
This is a piece of public art in the Amsterdam airport (Two Incredible Sitting Black Snowmen, Tom Classen, 2000). It was right beyond the passport control, within the security zone, prior to the gates leading to international flights.
Notice I said after the passport control? Yes, good thing. Means they let me out! But that doesn't mean they will let me back in. I am actuallty not joking. It seems that there is a re.striction on how long you can stay in the EU and I overstayed that period, significantly. It's funny, I tried to find this information before I left, but was unsuccessful. But the rule IS there: maximum of 90 days out of 180 days (in other words, 3 months out of 6 months). When I left I had been there a day over 7 months. Oops. The deal is that I am now considered an illegal alien in the EU (gasp!). That's apparently no problem (no fine or anything) but I cannot return to the EU without applying for a visa, which may or may not be granted. Oh my.
The pic above shows you how calm I was, as I still had the presence of mind to take this pic, once they let me through. I'd actually met a couple of Canadians a couple of weeks before who had discovered this rule, and were travelling accordingly, so I wasn't totally shocked. But there wasn't much I could do about it by then. A surpising and disappointing outcome, but, well, it wasn't intentional, and that's life I guess. I am not sweating it, and it's not worth getting mad about, it just IS. I shall be on a bit of a mission to understand this more and use my story to help others avoid the same outcome. And I shall remain the eternal optimism that is at the core of who I am, and believe that when I do apply for such a visa, it will be granted, and I will be in the EU again in my lift. And there are other parts of the world I want to travel to.
I have seriously caught the travel bug, so am looking forward to a few years of working hard and living simpler, so that I have money to make my next travel dream come true....