In Mid-February I wrote about my little greencard-theft-desaster and the ensuing trip from hell to the US Consulate in Frankfurt, almost missing my flight etcâ€¦ Now I seem to be bound to go through exactly the same once more: The greencard, which I “earned” by being married to a Puerto Rican lady with a US passport (well, all Puerto Ricans carry a US passport) was about to expire in September anyway, and since I don’t spend enough days in the US and the center of my life is right now in Berlin, I decided not to attempt to apply for a prolongation but to give it up.
My wonderful US manager Michal Schmidt suggested we’d go with a O-1 Visa (for people with extraodinary abilities – yes, we had to twist some arms to convince the right peopleâ€¦) which would allow me to go in and out of the US without having to apply for a working visa for each concert. The decision was made well over 3 weeks ago, and in order to get it in time we paid $ 1750 to lower the time of the process from 8 months to 2 weeks. This Tuesday the approval arrived at my managers office in New York, she forwarded it via Fedex here to Berlin where it arrived yesterday.
I managed to get an interview at the US Embassy at 7:30 am this morning to have the visa put into my passport. After waiting for almost 2 hours the very nice gentleman told me he couldn’t do anything because the Department for Homeland Security had issued the 0-1 Visa alright, but not posted it onto the internet, which was essential for him to actually put the visa into my passport. He claims the delay is normal, but it means that I would have to wait until Monday afternoon to get the passport back, and our flight (JÃ¡nos and me) to Salt Lake City leaves in the morning at 9:50 am. Beside the fact that this morning I almost missed my dress rehearsal (I am playing the 2nd Saint-Saens Concerto with the Konzerthausorchester tonight in Berlin and arrived exactly 9:58 am at the Konzerthaus for the dress at 10 am, stress pure, after racing through Berlin like a madman), I will be late for my duties in Utah (Dvorak with Utah Symphony and skiing with my son and wife – what could be more important than that!!!)â€¦
I am vividly imagining another crazy ride to the aiport on Monday morning: The Embassy grants me the visa plus my passport at 9am in the morning, we jump into a taxi, dash to the airport, arrive there about 25 minutes before departure, and the feeling, once you sit in the aircraft you are supposed to sit in, is absolutely phantastic – I hope it will happenâ€¦.
But first I will try to do this beautiful Saint-Saens-Concerto justice, it’s a small, but tough cookie, I must admit, and since I don’t have so much experience with it, it’s rather nerve-racking, so I don’t need this visa issues hanging over my head.