Picking Up Our Visas

Written by Karrie
12 and 18 August 2017

The process of picking up our visas was so unique that it warrants its own post.  We were lucky enough to live in one of two cities (Seattle and Anchorage) that have Honorary Consulates of Spain through the San Francisco consulate.  This meant that we could have our visas (attached in our passports) mailed to the honorary consulate, and we could then arrange to pick them up locally, rather than having to fly down to San Francisco to obtain our passports containing our visas. 

After waiting only a few short weeks, we were notified via email that our visas were ready to be picked up at the honorary consulate, from Mr. Luis Fernando Esteban Bernáldez.  Now maybe I am naive or just picture things very differently than reality, but I honestly pictured going to some old, fancy building that looked how one would imagine a consulate looking in order to meet “Fernando” to get our visas.  I could not have been more wrong. 

Fernando had emailed us to meet him at a Starbucks in a strip mall outside of Seattle.  (So not a beautiful building.)  Since E and I were in Washington D.C. visiting our friend, Sarah, on August 12th, we did not go with the guys to get our visas.  E and I were very eager to hear how the pick-up went and told the guys to let us now as soon as it was done.  After some prank-texts about how shadily the deal went down, they finally told us how easy it was and what a sweetheart Fernando was.  Fast-forward about a week, and E and I go to pick up my visa.  (B was able to pick hers up since they are married, but E wanted to meet Fernando!)  After realizing we were at the wrong Starbucks, (in the right strip mall mind you—only in Seattle), E and I finally got to meet Fernando and he did not disappoint!  He is an older gentleman who sat and chatted with us for at least 15 minutes, all about Spain, Logroño, our professions, the work we’ll be doing in Spain, and most importantly vineyard connections.  Fernando informed us that it is important to have a vineyard connection in La Rioja, since it is wine region.  He told us about a man living in La Rioja who will be starting a winery in Walla Walla, WA next year and said he would connect us.  We had no idea how this would happen, but we had faith in Fernando!  (Read all about how this did end up happening here!)

After arriving in Spain and getting settled in Logroño, we had forgotten about the vineyard connection and were just focusing on our day-to-day lives here.  B and E needed to furnish their whole apartment, so naturally a trip to IKEA was needed.  They decided to rent a small cargo van.  During the interactions with the person at the rental car place, they discovered that this person was the VINEYARD CONNECTION!  After chatting with the person, they all realized that Fernando had told each couple about the other couple and somehow his Fernando magic connected them together.  I am sure there will be more stories to come once the vineyard connection is solidly established! 

A vineyard in Logroño

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