After a few months of stress, multiple phone calls to the FBI, and four visits to New York, I now officially have my visa to legally go to Chile.
I took the train up from Trenton and arrived with plenty of time to take my time walking from Penn Station at 7th and 34th to the Consulate at 1st and 48th. I stopped in at a Chase bank to close my old account since there are none in South Jersey, and it was just my luck that the gentleman helping me was originally from Germany. We chatted about life in the States and there and made other small talk.
Then I asked him the question I need to ask every native German I meet: der, die, oder das Nutella? (For those of you that may not be familiar, German has three words for "the". Nutella is an incredibly delicious chocolate spread in Germany, and it does not exist in any German dictionary. Therefore its article is up for debate.) His answer was das. I should really keep a tally of what each native German tells me just for fun.
I then made my way to the consulate. I arrived about half an hour early, but I figured it wouldn't hurt. After about 15 minutes I was called back to go over my paperwork and get a thumbprint taken. Then I sat for about half an hour, feeling anxious about not having my FBI Clearance and if they would grant me the visa or not. I then heard a woman calling me from the back: "Mr. Gum! Mr. Gum!" I walked back, and she handed me my passport with the visa inside and my copies of the paperwork I signed.
I was so relieved that I didn't know what to say. I could tell that I was beaming though, and I just thanked her and shook her hand.
I'm now at a Starbucks near 7th and 54th, and will shortly be making my way towards Hell's Kitchen to meet up with a friend I haven't seen in about 10 years.
Countdown to departure: 21 days