A Day of Firsts

After three weeks of paper-pushing, vast numbers of explanatory emails and too many phonecalls to count, my visa to work in Sri Lanka came through today.  Yahoo!  I am delighted!

The success is mostly thanks to Firasa who works in Land O’ Lakes, Colombo and who navigated through the process so efficiently.  All I had to do was show up at the Embassy a few times, and basically just sit there, reminding them we were not going to give up with our quest for a visa.

The visa stamp itself fills a full page of my passport and of all the pages they could have used, they chose the page next to the Garda Siochana stamp, approving my entry to Cork, Ireland on March 27, 2016 ….. a little over six months to the day.  Serendipitous me thinks.

There was quite the degree of excitement during the wait at the Embassy today …..

  • In the many years the Embassy staff have been working in Kathmandu, they have never had to process an Entry Visa for a foreigner.  They have processed many tourist visas for foreigners, but never an Entry Visa.  A first for them (which probably explained the slightly bumpy approval process!).
  • A guy from Himalaya Airlines was at the Embassy today finalizing the visas for the crew of their inaugural direct flight from Kathmandu to Colombo scheduled to commence on Saturday October 1.  The staff were positively thrilled with a direct flight – not only does it mean a reduction in travel time from 17 hours (due to layovers) to 4 hours flying time when they go home for a visit, they were also very excited at the prospect of frequently receiving fresh seafood and tropical fruits & veggies from ‘home’.  This service operates three times a week you see.
  • As it happens, I am on that very same inaugural flight on October 1!  And the guy from Himalaya Airlines told me I was the first member of the public to book the inaugural flight.  I suppose there are not many Kathleen Coffeys booking flights in Nepal.  But there is something about remembering the name of your first client – some 25 years later, I still remember the name of the first client at J.Rothschild International.  I know, very geeky.

But really, how’s that for synchrony?! (Peter Wing’s words).

In my book, being the first member of the public to book the inaugural flight surely makes me Special.  Don’t you think?

Perhaps they are planning a champagne reception as a surprise?  Maybe I will get free lifetime flights with Himalaya Airlines, as Cormorant Marine does for anyone born on the water taxi from Bowen Island to Horseshoe Bay??

To be on the safe side, I best get the hair as straight as I can in this humidity and the make-up perfect for next Saturday … in readiness for the paparazzi don’t you know.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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10 Responses to A Day of Firsts

  1. jgedye says:

    Bon voyage!

    PS – why does an irish citizen need a visa to get into cork?

  2. Bonnie says:

    So happy for you Kate! Hugs from Bowen Island from the Wrights.

  3. Anne Marie says:

    That’s great news Kate. Congratulations. It certainly sounds like the stars are aligning for u !

  4. Mick Canning says:

    Definitely special, Kate. Sounds like it’s all going well.

  5. Jen says:

    Great news Kate, I didn’t know you were called Kathleen! Another revelation and Johny Cash moment😜.

  6. Katherine Doyle says:

    I do think you are Special, Kate. A champagne reception is the least they could do.

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