Visa Stress

My gosh, I don't think I've been this stressed since I had a proper job. And that was over two years ago. I'm talking about applying for Schengen visas. Who knew it could be SO stressful? I didn't know, since I have the good fortune of being in possession of both an SA and an EU passport. Thanks, Dad, for being born in the snow in the midst of World War II. It has been immensely valuable for my overseas travel. But now I no longer have to worry about yours truly alone. Now there's The Princess and she needs a visa to travel to Europe. As does her nanny.
After sleepless nights worrying about missing documentation and how to get it, the time came this afternoon for The Princess' appointment with the visa peeps. The call centre told me I didn't need to bring in my 4 month old baby, but their website said otherwise and I wasn't taking any chances. So off we went. When we arrived, I strapped her into her Baby Bjorn pouch on my chest, facing outwards – she LOVES looking at different people, she's absolutely fascinated. We arrived in the reception area with our stack of documents and a sample of blood (well, almost – it certainly felt that way) and the ladies at reception went absolutely BESERK over The Princess. They started coo-ing and ah-ing and exclaiming and talking in baby voices. And right on cue, The Princess flashed them a HUGE celebrity smile. Of course, she had her back to me so I couldn't see her smile, but I was willing her to be nice to these people who held our holiday fate in their hands. Fortunately, she knew exactly what to do because the next thing the ladies were beside themselves:
"She just SMILED! Oh my goodness!"
That's my girl! The Princess had lightened the mood and made such a good impression that the rest of the process went so smoothly. Now all we have to do is hold thumbs that the "7-15 working days" they need to process the application is more like 7-10 working days because we only have 11 working days until we fly…
As for The Princess' nanny, her appointment is tomorrow and we can only hope that the visa powers-that-be look kindly on her application…
On the dreaded weight front, I managed to survive another 7 days of eating about half of what I normally pack away and it has paid off. I nipped into Weight Watchers today to be weighed and I've managed to drop 0.8kg. So that's 2.8kg in total and still tons more to go but it's a start. Another 1.6kg and then I will have earned my first incentive: a manicure and a pedicure. I am really looking forward to it and so are my toes.
Besides my stomach, my toes are probably the part of my body that are the worst off from pregnancy and post childbirth. All that swelling in my feet eventually gave rise (quite literally) to ingrown toenails. Charming. I went to see a podiatrist who told me that they may "never go away". That will only mean there will be about 30 beautiful, dainty, pointy pairs of shoes in my closet that I will never, ever be able to wear again. It's too heartbreaking to think about. This is the same podiatrist who tortured me so badly while trying to cut my toenail that I screamed blue murder because of the pain. When I asked him to please stop, he said the following:
"Stop it. You're getting yourself worked up for nothing."
I wanted to jump up, grab his giant pair of toe clippers and show him just what "nothing" felt like. And then he had the nerve to phone his receptionist while I was busy paying, to check if anyone in his waiting room had heard my screaming. I wish they had. That would teach him to torture his patients.
Anyway, let's hope that in 10 working days time, I'll be collecting two times French visas, be 1.6kg lighter and be getting my toes painted a suitably summery colour for poolside lounging in Provence. Can't wait!