Yes, I've been quiet here. Quieter than I wanted to be. Now I feel it's OK to whisper.
I try not to be superstitious, but I'm forever appending hopeful sentences with "knock on wood." I think it's because I've seen what can happen, just when you think things are going swimmingly. Boom! Suddenly something happened, and it's all gone. Or never even was. (Added that last one for dramatic effect.) It's a balance not to walk around waiting for the other shoe to drop but also not to take anything for granted. I like my happy balance in between the two that I've carved out over all these years of all this Maggie-ness. It's me.
You may (or may not) remember that I had to do an FBI background check for this whole moving to Japan thing and that my fingerprints for said background check were rejected because they could not read the prints. Since then, while I was in Chicago, I had another couple of sets of fingerprints done there by a guy (in Niles, IL, in the mall) who seemed to know what he was doing since in Tulsa I have only one place that will do them, and theirs didn't work out so well.
I've got the FBI fingerprint people's number on speed-dial (no, really, I do - it's 304-625-5590 since I know a search engine will direct someone here looking for info, and I hate to disappoint... or be disappointed), and I've been calling daily for weeks (takes a week after they get them to even go to processing, then 7-10 business days to finish processing) trying to ascertain whether the prints were readable this time or whether I was screwed because time is running short. Meanwhile, the Chicago consulate was telling me that it might be OK to leave on time on July 25 without the fingerprints back to them, and that my chances were better having done the JET Program in the past, but that Tokyo was being more strict this year. Terror filled my thoughts wondering what happend if my fingerprints themselves are just not very printogntic (new word I just made up for whatever is like photogenic but for fingerprinting - the FBI should totally hire me to make new words), I may never have good ones to submit and might not get to go to Japan.
When I added the little countdown thingy here a week or so ago, I really wanted to post that it was less than a month until I leave for Japan and share all my excitement about all my preparation and what all I've learned about where I'm going (it's awesomeness) since I last allowed myself to talk about it on here, but I couldn't bring myself to say it in writing here on the blog due to my worry about my silly but potentially very un-funny fingerprint issue.
Today, the woman at the FBI fingerprints phone number (seems 99% are women, and about 99% of those are actually really delightful - no, really, they are mostly sweet) at first told me "nope, not processed," but since it's already 10 business days, I told her my predicament, and she looked in another database that said they'd been processed but just not updated in the database where they typically look.
And, my fingerprints were readable. Able to be processed.
I'll whisper it to y'all, folks, that I think I'm leaving for Japan in 23 days.
Unless something really screwy happens, like the original prints I was supposed to have sent back that are still on my desk actually being an issue. I think I'll call tomorrow, just to be sure. I think it's OK, though.
Knock on wood.
(And now I'm off to Dallas for a couple of days to see old friends I haven't seen in a million years - well including the one I saw a few weeks ago after a million years - because living in the middle completely rocks.)