About a year ago I wrote a blog about getting visas to go to India. It seems like a simple thing to have to do, so why does it require a blog last year? Well you could read it, or just trust me that getting a visa last year was frustrating.
So this year, I would be more prepared. The blog last year was 4and a half weeks before the flights, this time it is 9 weeks. That is forward planning, getting myself ready with more time to spare, just in case, like last year, there are any hiccups. To try and stop any problems, I sorted my own visa before the rest of the team. This way I could make sure that everything worked before they sent them off. A trial run, just to iron out the kinks. Which was a good thing to do, as the form online had changed again. Not that 3 changes in three years frustrates me. Or even surprises me now. Having been getting visas for a few years now, they do like to keep you on your toes and change things. A bit like when they changed the place you had to go to to get a visa. Or the time they decided you couldn’t take a bag in to the embassy, meaning I had to wait outside while Cathy and Isaac queued up. Changes keep happening, this time I would be prepared.
We also changed the way we filled them in. We have moved quickly in the past 3 years, in 2009 we filled in paper copies – this drove people mad, the spaces were small and lots of people filled in more than one. In 2010 we filled them in online – I had 5 or 6 people in the internet cafe and buzzed around telling them what to put in the bits they didn’t understand. The plan for 2011? I would fill them all in online in advance of the May meeting, just requiring people to sign them.
This worked with only a few problems. Firstly my trial run did highlight a problem. Not the payment method this time, all done online with the debit card, but the photos. I foolishly sent passport photos. You need 50mm square photos. If you can’t visualize the size that is, it is a little bit bigger than a passport photo and square. Where do you get these sizes of photos from? really? A daft size. we worked around it. Take a picture, photoshop and print at the in-laws, no problem. It did of course mean that we needed to take a picture of all the team members against a plain background, but that is easy enough.
Actually getting 22 people to all sign the document they needed to and write their own address on an envelope did seem to take slightly more effort than I expected, but we all got there in the end.
The thing is about all of this, is that change happens, and we have to deal with it. Yes it is challenging, frustrating and annoying, but you can get past it. It is always more satisfying to have done something which does challenge you, rather than something that is really easy. This is what makes Chennai Challenge so satisfying for everyone involved, after a real challenge, you can see the good things that have been achieved.