getting a visa

huffingtonpost.com
Some Would-Be Immigrants Are Lost In Limbo After Supreme Court Reverses Travel Ban Order
Monday's SCOTUS ruling has led to confusion and anxiety among some immigrant groups.

Without close family in the United States, Elly and her husband had few options for getting permission to immigrate to America from Iran. So when they won a U.S. government lottery last September for a so-called “diversity visa” allowing them to resettle in the United States, the couple was thrilled.

“Since last year, we made all the important decisions in our lives because we hoped we would get a visa,” Elly said, declining to give her full name because her visa application is still in process. The couple decided to put off having children and purchasing a home until after their move to the United States.

But the visa, which they still hope to get, is still being processed. Their attorney provided Reuters email documentation of their application to verify some of their account.

Elly and her husband are two of the many people who fall into gray areas created by Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court order allowing parts of Donald Trump’s travel ban to take effect.

While the court said it would exempt travelers from the ban who have “bona fide relationships” with Americans, the ruling did not specify exactly what that means, leaving would-be travelers from the six countries affected by the ban uncertain whether they will be allowed to enter the United States.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said Trump’s blanket 90-day ban on travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could proceed, but only for foreigners with no “bona fide relationship” with an American person or entity.

The court gave examples of what might qualify some travelers for exemptions from the ban, including close family ties in the United States, admittance to a U.S. university, or offers of employment from an American company.

Many advocates for immigrants say they are hopeful that the vast majority of people from the six targeted countries applying for U.S. visas will qualify for such exemptions.

But the ruling leaves some things vague, and has led to confusion and anxiety for those like Elly and her husband, who had hoped to come to the United States but do not fall into one of the clear exemptions laid out in the ruling.

Also in the gray area are such things as travel strictly for tourism or to attend conferences. Would-be travelers are also asking how close family members need to be, and whether traveling to see close friends in America might qualify.

DIVERSITY VISAS AT RISK

Diversity visa applicants like Elly are among those in limbo. The program grants 50,000 visas per year to citizens of countries that normally do not send many immigrants to the United States.

In 2015, 10,487 citizens of the six countries targeted by Trump’s travel ban were selected for diversity visas, according to State Department figures. Nearly half that number, 4,992, went to Iranians alone.

“Absolutely, diversity visas will be affected,” said Leon Rodriguez, a former director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. “You generally don’t even go into the diversity visa system unless you lack another pathway.”

The State Department said on Tuesday that it was trying to develop a definition for what constitutes a bona fide relationship for travelers.

“We have a couple days still to work this out and get more information,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday. “We will be looking to the Department of Justice to get more clarification on what a bona fide relationship would be.”

BUSINESSES COULD BE SPARED

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, who led the legal fight against Trump’s revised order, said the exemptions included in the Supreme Court’s order will likely spare businesses the kind of disruption they would have faced without them. Chin said his office has reached out to the federal government to try to agree on an interpretation that could avoid additional litigation.

“We are trying to look for ways to come up with a framework that everyone can live with going forward,” Chin said.

If the U.S. government bars entry to an individual because they lack a “bona fide relationship” with someone in the country, one way to challenge the decision would be for the person to file a so-called contempt motion before the same federal judges in Hawaii or Maryland who blocked the travel ban in the first place, legal experts said.

Instead of filing a brand-new lawsuit, the person could ask U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii to hold the Trump administration in contempt because it interpreted the Supreme Court opinion too broadly. Such a strategy could increase the chances of a favorable ruling for the person seeking to enter the United States, since Watson has already shown a dim view toward Trump’s policy.

Elly and her husband, who are in their late 20s and early 30s respectively and are both university-educated, remain hopeful they will be allowed to come. In May, they had their interviews with consular officials, usually among the final steps before a visa decision.

The diversity visa is a pathway to permanent residence, commonly known as a green card.

“One could argue that those winning the green card lottery have a bona fide relationship with the U.S. government that is formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the executive order,” said Shahrzad Rezvani, an immigration attorney based in Maryland. “It remains to be seen, I guess, since the language is unclear.”

Howdy, my name is Rawhide Kobayashi. I’m a 27 year old Japanese Japamerican (western culture fan for you foreigners). I brand and wrangle cattle on my ranch, and spend my days perfecting the craft and enjoying superior American passtimes. (Barbeque, Rodeo, Fireworks) I train with my branding iron every day, this superior weapon can permanently leave my ranch embled on a cattle’s hide because it is white-hot, and is vastly superior to any other method of livestock marking. I earned my branding license two years ago, and I have been getting better every day. I speak English fluently, both Texas and Oklahoma dialect, and I write fluently as well. I know everything about American history and their cowboy code, which I follow 100% When I get my American visa, I am moving to Dallas to work in an oil field to learn more about their magnificent culture. I hope I can become a cattle wrangler for the Double Cross Ranch or an oil rig operator for Exxon-Mobil! I own several cowboy hats, which I wear around town. I want to get used to wearing them before I move to America, so I can fit in easier. I rebel against my elders and seniors and speak English as often as I can, but rarely does anyone manage to respond. Wish me luck in America!

GTA V - Deadline 2: Thin Dead Line
  • *Michael and Gavin discussing Gavin's visa*
  • Michael: How many times have you brought this up? Every year or two you're like 'Oh, I'm leaving'
  • Gavin: Funny enough, when you get one year visas, you have to do it every year!
  • Michael: Then just do it every year!
  • Gavin: I'M DOING IT
  • Michael: Then you're not gonna get deported!
  • Gavin: I mean, I don't have the decision yet...
  • Ryan: Gavin... let's fix this problem right now
  • Ryan: Will you marry me?
  • Gavin:
  • Gavin: ...what
  • Michael: You can't, Ryan.
  • Ryan: I mean, can we not in this state? I don't know
  • Michael: It's not so much the gay marriage, more that you're already married

Gomenasai, my name is Mathias-Sama

I’m a 47 year old Ishgardian Ronin (knight-errant for you gaijins). I draw Doman artwork on traditional scrolls, and spend my days perfecting my art and playing superior Doman games. (Shogi, Go, Chinese Checkers)

I train with my Katana every day, this superior weapon can cut clean through steel because it is folded over a thousand times, and is vastly superior to any other weapon on Hydalyn. I will earn my samurai soul on the 21st sun of the 3rd Umbral Moon in the 1st year of the 7th Astral Era, and I’m going to get better every day!

I speak Doman fluently, both Othard and the Au Ra dialect, and I write fluently as well. I know everything about Doman history and their bushido code, which I follow 100%

When I get my Doman visa, I am moving to Kugane to attend a prestigious dojo to learn more about their magnificent culture. I hope I can become the shogun of shoguns like my idol Legatus Xenos Yae Galvus!

I own several kimonos, which I wear around Ul'Dah. I want to get used to wearing them before I move to Doma, so I can fit in easier. I bow to my elders and seniors and speak Doman as often as I can, but rarely does anyone manage to respond.

Wish me luck in Doma!

norrihiddleskittycap  asked:

Imagine Steve in an AU where he adopts the Maximoff twins!

“So Friday tells me if you want to stay, we have to get started, like yesterday on your alphabet soup visa type applications because it can take a while and like—Friday, can you explain it?”  Tony flashed a quick smile. “Pepper usually handles this sort of thing.  Sorry.”

“Sure, boss.  Their B visas expire in approximately 4 months. They’ll need to apply for an H1-B if they want to stay.  Though, it’ll be a stretch.  I’m not sure if the government will consider what they do as ‘skilled labor’.  Worth a shot, and they’re familiar with Stark Industries sponsoring visas.  We just have to hope they make it through the lottery.”

Pietro quirked an eyebrow.  “And if we don’t?” 

“-We can find a way.  Right?” Tony glanced towards the ceiling.

We might be able to get you back on an L visa, if we can set you up in our Sokovia branch.  It’s mostly a foundation, but it’d be just about all we have left as an option.  A green card would be an option, too, but it’d take some time.  More than we have.”

After Sokovia, with the twins joining the Avengers in a not-so-low-profile move to the Tower, the government was asking a lot of questions about their allegiances and intent.  Tony had lawyers for that, but they were still working on the best way to legally keep the Maximoffs in the country.  They kept coming up short.  Tony dropped heavily onto a couch with a groan.  “Uggghhh.  This is why Pepper does all this.  What the hell.”

Or” Steve had come out of nowhere, dropping a folder onto the glass table.  “We do an adult adoption.”

“Can you do that?”  Tony sat up straighter.  

I’ll have to look into it, boss. But without any living parents, provided they consent, Captain Rogers should be able to.”

Wanda smiled slyly.  “Is that why you give Vision side-eye? Do you disapprove of the relationship we may or may not have?”

Pietro laughed.  “You do a great Disappointed Dad face.  I will not call you Dad, though.”

Steve grinned.  “I don’t expect you would.”

Wanda glanced over the paperwork Steve had brought.  “Ok.  Yes. But,” she pointed a finger at Steve, “only if you promise to stop looking so suspicious of Viz.”  

Steve held up his hands.  “Sorry, ok.”

Tony clapped his hands together.  “This is great.  I’ve gotta go organize a party.  Adoption shower.  Something. There’ll be cake.  It’s gonna be great.  Friday!  Friday, take care of Steve’s paperwork.” 

Yes, boss.”

How to Become an ALT in Japan

Basic Requirements

1. A university bachelors degree
-Any degree is ok, Latin American Studies, German, Linguistics, Astro-Physics, Sociology, doesn’t matter as long as it’s at least a bachelors 

 2. A clean criminal background check
-Have you been convicted of a murder? Are you a pedo? Do you have outstanding warrants in 3 states? Did you go to jail for a hit and run? Japan doesn’t want you. 

 3. Appropriately healthy and able bodied
-If you have a something that will prevent you from doing your job well, you will most likely not be hired. For example; you can’t use stairs, you can’t stand for 45 minutes at a time, you have a severe speech impediment (I know people here with lisps), things like this prevent you from teaching at full capacity and most places don’t have the time or resources to make special accommodations for you. 

What other skills might recruiters be looking for?

1. Japanese language ability
-NOT required for most positions, but helpful for communication both in and out of the workplace. Unless you live in a metropolitan area, the average Japanese person’s English is VERY limited. I know many people who came here with zero Japanese, but nowadays there are many with at least rudimentary Japanese. People rarely come here fluent, but many people study Japanese while living here to take the JLPT and their level improves by leaps and bounds. I am not one of those people, so don’t ask me for more details lol

 2. TESL/TEFL certification
-NOT required for most positions, but some private companies are starting to lean more towards certified individuals. And honestly, those give you a lot of skills you will absolutely need when teaching English. 

3. Teaching degree
 -NOPE, not required in 99.9% of the cases. I know a few people with them who are ALTs, I’ve heard mixed opinions on how well it helps them as an ALT. Some find it demeaning to work subordinate and be given limited control/responsibilities, other find it freeing because they can spend more time teaching and less time with test related paper pushing and discipline management.

4. Good attitude, flexibility, people skills
-You need to be able to present yourself as someone trustworthy and amiable to recruiters. The environments ALTs work in are often high-paced, prone to sudden last second changes, and being able to make friends in the office and keep a happy face with students is incredibly important. 

5. Prior experience
-Have you worked in a daycare before? Have you volunteered in tutoring centers? Have you led discussion groups as a major requirement?  Have you ever studied abroad? Have you ever volunteered in foreign classrooms? Have you taken charge of a club and organized events? Did you dorm with international students in university? Have you worked for an international program before? Have you given private language lessons before? These are the kinds of things that show you have experience in things that ALTs frequently encounter.

Can I mention my love of [INSERT JAPANESE CULTURE HERE]?

Yes, but keep is professional, relevant, and brief. 

“I became interested in Japan after watching Spirited Away, the cultural aspects of the movie fascinated me and made me want to learn more about Japan.” OK
“I have a collection of anime pillow cases, my favorite is Miku Hatsune in this pose.” NO 

“I started listening to Japanese music in high school. I eventually started learning Japanese to better understand the lyrics.” OK
 "When Pierrot broke up, I was shattered that the fanfic community would move on to other ships.“ NO 

“My school offered a short course on Japanese tea ceremony, and I thought the way that it formed historically was extremely interesting.” OK
“I want to learn the way of the samurai.” NO 

“I’m very interested in Japanese video game production companies. I went to college and majored in game design and I want to further study it by living in Japan and experiencing the community in person.” OK
“I want to play Resident Evil on fiber optic LAN with Japanese players so I can pwn more n00bs when I get back to America.” NO

What kind of ALT positions are available?

First and foremost: READ AND RESEARCH

If you do not do your own intensive research, you can get taken advantage of. You hear horror stories from people here all the time, and those mostly come from people didn’t research what they were getting themselves into. I cannot make a comprehensive guide to the THOUSANDS OF KINDS OF ALT positions across the country, this is only an overview. Look at that link, and always do extensive research of the companies/programs you’re interested in working for.

1. Government
 AKA JET Program
-The JET Program is the only government ALT program. It makes the Japanese government the middleman in your arrangements, which takes less money from your paycheck and gives you a more trustworthy means of income. It’s very competitive and the application process takes about 6 months. They only hire once a year. It’s arguably the best program, as it pays well, you have a lot of guaranteed vacation time, and they pay for your flights to and from the country. On the downside, you don’t really have a lot of say in where you are placed. Also, you cannot get a transfer unless VERY specific requirements are met. Also some prefectures/localities are nicer to their ALTs than others, but if they try to fuck you over you know you have the Japanese government backing you and they will keep you from being taken advantage of.

 2. Private Dispatch
examples: Interac, AEON, Borderlink, JIEC and MANY others
 -These are private companies that workplaces hire to provide them with ALTs. Workplaces do this because some of the intricacies in hiring an ALT and getting them a VISA and housing are really complicated, and they’d rather pay a middleman than deal with it. Upsides, you get a little more wiggle-room with being transferred. Downside by far is the pay. It depends on the company, but that middleman definitely takes a big chunk of your pay. If you work for a place like this, you need to VERY carefully read your contract. Research dispatch companies carefully, check their ratings online, see what former employees have to say about them. 

 3. Private Hire
 AKA working directly under the local government office, a private company, or even one-on-one’s in wealthy households
-These are places that will directly hire you without a middleman. Obviously, you need to look carefully at the details of your contract before working privately. Most local government places won’t hire you without prior ALT experience in Japan. Private English Conversation Schools (Eikaiwa) have non-9 to 5 working hours to provide for business workers and students. They sometimes require you to already have a VISA prior to being hired. Private Hire really is outside of my experience, but from what I understand they can pay as well as JET, but don’t usually have as many perks.

Where do I look for open positions?

GaijinPot is the website I’ve heard of the most. Check there and research research research. There are scammers, be careful. 

JET hires once a year starting around September or October. It’s available online on their official webpage.

There are a bajillion different dispatch companies. I couldn’t possibly name them all, I don’t really have a lot of experience with them, and don’t know which are particularly good or not. Check Google-sensei for their applications, websites, and reputations.

Other than that, please be wary of Craigslist. Although legit job openings do show up, there are scammers. If it’s someone looking for a “private female in-home English tutor from ages 19~25” or something like that, don’t be dumb. Many will require you to have a VISA with a minimum of 1 year on it already. Many will require you to already live in the area of the position. Research everything carefully.

Words of warning

If you think mental health issues are stigmatized in your home country, oh honey you ain’t seen nothin` yet.

If you have mental health issues, Japan may not be the place for you. You may think going to Japan, being surrounded by your hobbies and interests, and just “getting away” will make things better… IT WON’T.

Please be aware that you most likely will not be able to get your meds over the counter in Japan. And it’s not uncommon for your meds to be banned entirely even with a prescription. Bi-polar, anxiety, OCD, depression? Your meds might not be available here. Oh and having people send them over from home by mail can get you detained and deported if you’re caught.

You’ll also be leaving the support of friends and family by coming to Japan. The ALT community is pretty cool, but people come and go so quickly, it’s hard to find groups of people that will stick together through really tough spots.

Supervisors and coworkers aren’t much help either. In Japan, people don’t talk about mental health issues at all. If you take meds for anything other than a physical illness, you do it in private where people can’t see you. If you see a psychiatrist, you do it in a different prefecture, where no one can see you. It’s not uncommon for Japanese people to be asked to leave their jobs because their boss or coworkers have suspicions.

If you self medicate with something like marijuana, be aware that recreational drug use here is VERY VERY VERY illegal. Marijuana use is treated with the same seriousness as crack cocaine. You WILL be caught, you WILL be detained, you WILL be tried without a lawyer present, you WILL be held in solitary, you WILL be convicted of drug possession, and you WILL be deported.

Some ALTs will replace their marijuana use with alcohol. That goes about as well as it sounds :|

For LGBT, if you’re used to a very supportive queer community, it’s not the same here. Japanese people are extremely closeted and unless you live near a large metropolitan area, getting into the gay scene is nearly impossible. I’m fine because I was never in the gay scene back home, but for some people it’s very hard.

If you’re trans and want to come here to transition, please reconsider. I would suggest not coming to Japan as an ALT if you intend to transition in the immediate future. If your gender dysphoria is pretty bad, you’re gonna have a bad time. Gender segregation and enforcement of gender roles will probably seriously affect your mental health. The paperwork for transitioning is even harder from overseas and lot of things need to be done in person so you’ll have to fly back and forth from your home country a lot (which is damn expensive and needs vacation leave). Even if you do get everything done, there’s no telling how your work will respond. They won’t outright say they’re firing you for your gender identity, that’s illegal, they’ll come up with some other reason.

People who come here with a goal like paying off college loans or wanting to experience another culture usually have a better time that people who come here because OMG I JUST LOVE JAPAN. Please keep that in mind.

Gomenasai, my name is Sadik-Sama.

I’m a 47 year old Thavnarian Otaku (Doma fan for you gaijins). 

I train with my Katana every day, this superior weapon can cut clean through steel because it is folded over a thousand times, and is vastly superior to any other weapon on earth. I earned my sword license two years ago, and I have been getting better every day.

I speak Doman fluently, both Kugane and the Yanxia dialect, and I write fluently as well. I know everything about Doman history and their shinobu code, which I follow 100%

When I get my Doma visa, I am moving to Kugane to attend a prestigious School to learn more about their magnificent culture. I hope I can become an Samurai to fight by the Warrior of Light!

I own several kimonos, which I wear around town. I want to get used to wearing them before I move to Doma, so I can fit in easier. I bow to my elders and seniors and speak Doman as often as I can, but rarely does anyone manage to respond.

Wish me luck in Doma!

You were wrong | Sherlock x reader.

“I had a plan, you know? Get to Europe, make a european fall in love with me, get married, get a visa. Is that a bad plan?”

Sherlock rolled his eyes. Americans, he thought. 

You were laying on the flat’s floor, kind of drunk. Really drunk.

It had been a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. A bad everything.

You felt so lonely, but you’d never show that. Sherlock would only see how cheerful and gleeful you were. You knew he needed that in his life, even if he didn’t know it. But lately, you were the one that needed that. Of course, Sherlock didn’t notice, because he couldn’t read you and because he was, after all, Sherlock.

He was sitting in his chair with his eyes closed trying to get into his mind palace, but you were too distracting, all drunk and talking about your life. Normally, he would tell you to shut up. But not tonight, no. 

Tonight, he could see it in your eyes. You were going to start crying any minute.

You kept quiet for a second and the alcohol was working on making you fall sleep even when you were resisting it. Suddenly, you felt someone laid on the floor next to you. You opened your eyes to see Sherlock looking at the ceiling.

“So how is your plan going?” he asked. You looked at him confused. “Your plan on getting your visa” he reminded you.

“Oh, that” you whispered “I haven’t made any european fall in love with me yet”

You were so wrong in that. Sherlock thought and smiled at you.

Originally posted by detective-from-221b

Gif not mine.

REQUESTS ARE OPEN

So it’s eastern week so I’ll have little time to write a little more. I havent been active lately, so sorry! Thank you for the support to my little stories.

Today in Politics: March 6, 2017
  • President Trump has a new, revised executive order which bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas. It won’t affect current visa holders and unlike the previous ban, it excludes citizens of Iraq. The executive order will be phased in over the next two weeks. (NYT)(WP)(ATL)(Raw Executive Order- White House)
  • The Supreme Court decided to not hear the case regarding transgender bathroom rights after the White House’s reversal of position, even though they agreed in October to hear the case. (NYT)(CNN)(WP)
  • House Republicans released the Affordable Care Act replacement bill called the American Health Care Act. The bill replaces federal insurance subsidies with a new form of individual tax credits and grants to help states shape their own policies. The bill would also allow insurers a charge on people if they have had a gap in their health coverage. The GOP bill also includes a provision to strip all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. (view bill)(WP)(CNN)(FOX)(NYT)
  • Today Ben Carson made some of his first remarks to Housing and Urban Development. “That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,“. This comment, which compares slaves to immigrants, has been criticized by numerous members of the Black community as well as the NAACP. (WP)(HILL)(FOX)
  • Four Atlanta mosques receive death threats. They received a note that said, “Death is waiting for you and your kind” and included a hand-drawn picture of someone being beheaded. (CNN)(AJC)

Title: Thanks for Being Here

Warnings: None

Author’s Note: It’s short and sweet. I believe one of the requests was for a previous game, but I didn’t get to it in a timely manner and I wanted to make sure I got this one out before too much time had passed. I also posted a Jordie Benn imagine tonight. Max Domi is up tomorrow, and it might be my favorite imagine yet…

Links: My Master List  and My Current Requests


Your eyes instinctively fell closed, your heart sinking into your stomach. Taking a deep breath, you opened your eyes, skimming the sea of disappointed fans all around you; finally settling on Auston. Standing by the bench, his hands were resting on the top of his stick, his bottom lip pulled between his teeth as the Capitals celebrated at the other end of the ice.

You had managed to make it to all of his home games during the playoffs; carefully planning your schedule and reworking your obligations back home, making the 5-hour drive from Michigan each game. The two of you had met when he was playing with the National Development Team and both of you worked hard to maintain your relationship over the past few years, despite the distance. For all the doubt there had been surrounding the Leafs at the beginning of the season, you couldn’t be happier for Auston and how far the Leafs had come, but it was still disappointing to see the boys lose.

You heard Ema sigh as her arm wrapped around your shoulders, giving you a squeeze; the two of you sporting matching frowns. Your eyes followed Auston as he made his way through the handshake line, then to center ice as the team saluted the crowd, his shoulders slumped. You and Auston’s family headed to the lower level of the arena to wait for him. Your phone buzzed moments later, slipping it out of your pocket you saw a text from Auston.

Keep reading

I freaking love this world and you’ve been so cool about people writing stuff I couldn’t resist.
Let me just go ahead and preface this with I am not a writer (I’m a biologist as you’ll see below) so sorry in advance for amateur writing.
………………

If there is one thing a field biologist needs to know about it’s how to get Official Permission to do shit. That’s something people don’t realize about the job, just how goddamned much of it is convincing people to tolerate you doing things on their land that they neither understand nor care about.

Before you even start the paperwork to go into the field you’ll need contacts, people on the inside who can let you know whose permission you absolutely must have and what sort of deals you’ll have to make to get it. These aren’t tourist visas after all and it can take months to convince customs that you really do have the proper authorization to carry enough opioids to immobilize a dozen polar bears.

There’s permission to pass the border, separate permissions for all your gear and supplies to go with you. Still more authorization for where you will go and precisely what you plan on doing once you get there. 

And once you’ve got all the permissions and documentation needed to get in, you’ll need separate even more vital ones to get back out. Deals for you to go home, deals to get back the things you brought with you, and deals to keep everything you’ve gained.

So when you think about it what I’m planning is not all that different than what I’d be doing if I just stayed here and graduated. Except for a few items even most of the gear is the same, although I’ve lined my bags with steel mesh and the trail flagging I’ve packed hurts if you look at for too long.

None of this would have mattered of course if I had any intention to study Them, that would have been a one way ticket to crushing normality, but the Gentry do not live alone in that other place and even if it costs everything I’ll be damned if I miss the chance to study actual motherfucking dragons.

(X)


We get a lot of questions about how to order trans-related products without your parents finding out or being outed, etc.

Amazon has a new thing called Amazon Cash, where you sign up with your account, and they will send you a barcode, you can print it out or keep it on your phone. You can bring this barcode to a participating store (like CVS) and give the cashier cash and they will put that amount of money on your Amazon account as a balance.


This of course only works if what you need is on Amazon and if you can already afford it, but if that’s the case, then you’re not paying the fee like you usually have to to get those VISA gift cards.

—Emma

She was wrong

Liz Forbes never really liked to admit when she was wrong. 

After all, being a female Sheriff in charge of a mostly male department wasn’t easy and she’d had to cop a lot of flak from not only her colleagues but from the town people who didn’t like being ordered or arrested by a woman. 

So being wrong about something could mean losing what respect and footing she’d gained. 

But this time, she would gladly admit she had been wrong all those years ago. 

It had been an overcast summer day, raining heavily and she had been watching an afternoon movie in her living room, deliberately pretending to be engrossed in the tv while she was definitely aware that her daughter was in a car parked just a few houses down the street, making out with Niklaus Mikaelson. 

Although, that wasn’t what she had been wrong about, after all, anyone could have seen that her daughter and that boy would end up dating, it had been very clear since they were about six years old and Caroline had come home with a Valentine’s Day card that had been an origami heart. 

Liz was pretty sure they still had that somewhere around the house.

They’d been inseparable for years- until now. 

Klaus had been granted a scholarship and early admissions to Sorbonne University in Paris to study art. 

He would be leaving at the end of the summer, which was only another two weeks away. 

And Liz had figured that their relationship would survive that. 

Being in two different time zones and two different continents? 

No matter how much Caroline plotted and planned, Liz had watched the two of them with a sinking heart and guessed that they would drift apart until they stopped making a place for each other in their lives. 

And she was sorry for that, because the two of them were so in love that it felt good to see them together. 

And when Caroline came home after seeing Klaus off at the airport, three hours late because she hadn’t been able to drive she was crying so hard, Liz felt her own heart break too. 

Then had come the postcards, one sent from the airport and arriving almost every day until the mailman was almost as invested in the relationship as she was. 

Then one day, not only had the daily postcard arrived, but it had come on top of a thick package from the United Kingdom. 

And when Liz had seen the stamp and address, she’d committed a federal crime and opened it.

Inside was a letter congratulating Caroline on having been accepted to study Urban Design at University College London, followed by a long list of the scholarships she had won. 

Underneath that, had been the loyalty card that Caroline had already signed up for on a train called the Eurostar, which ran from London straight to Paris in just over two hours. 

It’s at this point that she starts to suspect that she had been wrong. 

And her heart breaks again at her daughter going so far away to study but when it’s one of the top twenty universities in the world, she can’t stop her, so she and Bill coordinate meeting at a hotel near Richmond airport, taking Caroline out for dinner before seeing her through the gates and then finding an airport lounge to drink and cry with pride over how their baby girl has grown up. 

The postcards from Paris don’t stop arriving but the number dies down, Klaus still keeping in touch and postcards from London soon follow, along with skype calls and long emails. From what Liz can gather, every Thursday night (because God forbid humanities students have classes on Fridays) Caroline either catches the train to Paris or Klaus comes to see her in London, and Liz felt sorry for their roommates until she found out that they had their own rooms. 

Klaus graduates before Caroline and from what she can gather from her daughter’s email, something about his visa meant he had to go back to America without her because she was finishing exams. 

Liz somewhat suspects that is bull and when Klaus turns up on her doorstep looking a little nervous, she finally admits to herself that she had been wrong. 

“I think you two should work for a year before getting engaged,” she tells him before he even steps inside, “Have you spoken to Bill?”

He exhales, “I’m seeing him next, I really did have to get my visa sorted out in New York.” 

He reaches into his pocket and draws out a blue velvet box, 

“I sold a few paintings and bought this for Caroline, do you think she’ll like it?”

Liz notes the Tiffany and Co stamp, opens the lid and swallows her shriek at the square cut diamond in the platinum band.

Damn, her daughter knew how to pick ‘em. 

She manages to hold herself together long enough to hug the poor boy and until she gets a call from Bill where he mutters that he wish Steven had bought him a ring like that. 

She feels as though she wants to cry but can’t stop smiling. 

She manages both when a year later, on Christmas Eve, Caroline surprises her with a visit back home and practically bounces through the door with the engagement ring on her finger. 

And Liz Forbes had honestly never been so glad to be wrong about something. 

Baking (Pt.2)

Read part 1 here

Harry and Draco were still standing in the kitchen, one of Harry’s hands entwined in Draco’s blond, gorgeous hair. The sheer perfection hair could reach was astounding to the man who’d never even tried to comb the mess on his own head, let alone model it.

“I ruined your batter.”

“And my coiffure, I might add.” The slightly snarky tone was not missed on Harry’s side, and a wave of embarrassment washed over him. What the hell am I doing? You can’t barely talk to your nemesis for months and then fall into his arms, crying over childhood trauma. Get it together Potter.

“Sorry, Malfoy, I wasn’t…” Harry tried to pull away. Surprisingly strong arms wrapped around him not just for back-rubbing this time, but in full on chest squeezing hug mode. No way in hell was he getting out of this.

“Oh, shut up, Potter. I bloody well don’t have anything better to do in this hell hole then study, bake, do my hair and as of now hug you.” This statement in combination with the actions of its speaker took Harry completely by surprise, just as the sudden wave of emotions had only minutes before. He did not believe the Malfoy he knew from Hogwarts would ever hug him, or anyone else for that matter. It made him a bit uncomfortable, because he didn’t know how to handle him now. Heck, I don’t even know how to handle myself, why would I know how to handle Malfoy?

Said Malfoy was not entirely sure how to handle himself either. He lived on his own in a tiny flat with only piles and piles of books he nicked from the manor as company. Both Pansy and Blaise had left for Italy to escape the judgemental stares but getting a visa was impossible for an ex-death eater. Sure, they wrote often enough, but it had been weeks since Draco had any physical contact besides brushing past people on his way to the Scamander Institute. A place he hadn’t been to for almost two months now because the practical part of his potions degree was done. When he came to think of it, with the other inhabitant of the building doing the shopping, he hadn’t even left his flat for over seven weeks now.

Suddenly Harry blurted out. “Frederick the second.”

“What?” It was the most random thing Draco had ever heard, and he was slightly offended Potter seemed to think it was okay to disturb this moment of peace and tranquillity with random terms.

“Frederick the second discovered baby’s die if they don’t get physical attention.”

Draco was now definitely offended. “Are you calling me a baby? Because if you are,” and now it was Draco who tried to free himself from the other man, “I don’t appreciate…”

“No, no, no, no, that’s not what I meant.” Harry was now flustered more of embarrassment that tears. “I was trying to explain to myself why you would hug me.” His voice was reduced to a whisper again. “I think he might need it”

Harry had said that last bit more to himself than to the other man, his forehead leaning heavily on Draco’s shoulder. The kitchen floor had no eyes to judge him and he didn’t think he could handle judgement at the moment. “It was the first time I realised my aunt and uncle were not treating me like they should. When my teacher from primary school told me about this experiment where they tried to bring up baby’s without the slightest bit of affection. They all died of neglect.” A deep, sad sigh escaped Harry’s throat. “I would hate to see you die of neglect, Malfoy.”

Draco froze. Was Harry trying to save him? Again? By hugging him?

He didn’t need saving, he… Thoughts stopped dead in their tracks. Self centered narcissist. Harry literally just told you he grew up ‘without the slightest bit of affection’.

“That’s pretty fucked up Harry.” His first name slipped out before Draco noticed, and now there was no way back. Harry flinched. He went a bit limp, it seemed. The man had always had a strong reaction to his first name.

“I think you could say that…” Somehow Harry still managed to smile into Draco’s shirt, a place he was still pushed against because Draco was now more holding than hugging him. The bizarreness of the situation only doomed on the man now.

“I guess you really needed to get that of your chest if it’s me you’re telling these things to now.”

The dark haired man nuzzled his neck, his weight slowly shifting from Draco to his own feet. “I can never tell Ron and Hermione. They’re so happy together, I don’t want to put a damper on their spirits. I don’t want them to treat me like a beaten up puppy again. I hate that.”

Draco snorted. What a different world this golden boy lived in, afraid he would worry his friends, afraid they would care too much. “If it’s any consolation, I wasn’t planning on treating you like a puppy any time soon. Beaten up or not. I’m not a great fan of dogs.”

“Are you saying that you are a great fan of me?” Potter looked up from Draco’s shirt, eyes red from crying yet somehow already showing a spark of joy. A small, cheeky smile on his lips.

“Oh, shut up Potter.” To his embarrassment Draco felt heat rise up to his cheeks. This is not how he’d expected his afternoon to go. A true smile now showed on Harry’s face, and he hugged Draco back again. Much less an act of despair, now more an act of… An act of…

“You’re a surprisingly good hugger Malfoy.”

Draco had very much enjoyed the happiness on Harry’s face before. He had no objections to seeing it again.

“You’ll find I’m a quite adequate kisser too.”


Aaargh! So, this took me way too long but I hope it was worth the wait. Btw coiffure is a fancy word for hairdo, but Draco is fancy and french-ish so this seemed more fitting. Thank you for all your kind words!

(Also the experiment mentioned was an actual thing the emperor of the holy roman empire did it in the middle ages, this guy)

Now, here are the lovely people that asked me to tag them: @allmisfittoyswelcomehere @hailiepass2003 @drarryking @ams-2004 @sugar-dollie @fcrisan @thedoctor-at-platform221b @rowyn64

Remembrance [1] (Newt Scamander x Reader)

Summary: The reader gets obliviated… badly.

Word count: ~2400

Part 2



“Y/N!”

That was the last thing I heard before I started to feel like I forgot something huge.  Like I lost months of my life but just couldn’t remember. Was it amnesia? I don’t know…

~~~

“Are you okay?” someone asked.

You turned around to see a man with a concerned look on his face. He was dressed almost completely in black except for a brown leather coat.  “Hmm.” Confusion swept over you as to why he would ask such a question, that was until you realized that your cheeks were wet with what you presumed was tears. I was crying? Why?

Keep reading

10

Here I am in Mozambique, at the End

Today is my last day in Africa. If you consider Madagascar as part of Africa, which it technically is despite its geographical isolation, I have been in Africa for about two and a half years. Tomorrow I hop continents and fly to Thailand!

I’m at the end of a road here. As a kid I always dreamed of spending time in Africa because I was certain there was more to the 54-countried continent than the media showed. My assumptions were beyond correct. Africa is a luscious and thriving part of the world. There is SO much more to it than the sad ball of skewed crap we see represented in the western world. That skewed crap doesn’t even come close and it’s a damn shame.

I have never felt at risk. I have been surrounded by colors and culture and warmth and love and hospitality. I have also been engrossed in my own internal conflict. Africa doesn’t need my help. It doesn’t need anything from me or the west except for respect and an open mind. For that statement I am using the blanket term of “Africa” even though I have only been to 7 of the 54 countries.

Respect and an open mind, that’s it.

Of course Africa isn’t lacking of country specific political and racial issues… but where in the world doesn’t have these problems? Especially as an American in the Trump Era… I can’t say ANYTHING about other places having political issues.

Here I am in Mozambique, at the end. This isn’t the end, though. Mozambique will always be here and nothing will change when I leave.

I have only spent a few days in Mozambique because I have gotten tired. I’ve been traveling quickly these past two months, since I left Madagascar, and it’s caught up to me.

After roaming through Namibia-Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana, I took a long break in Pretoria, South Africa with one of my good friends from Afrikaburn.

It was a surreal experience. I slowed down, and sat down on one of the most comfortable couches I had experienced in 2 years and it was hard to remove myself. My South African friend was living her normal life, as a recent graduate of university she was surrounded by social activities and work. It was a lifestyle I hadn’t touched in years and it gave me culture shock. I was in it, but I wasn’t IN it. It was only temporary.

In South Africa I caught a cold. I was supposed to go to Swaziland, then head to Mozambique in time for my flight. I had time for it all but it would be quick. Moving pretty much every day, like I had in the other countries. I have trouble staying put when I am in Travel-Mode.

My friend’s mom was shocked. “You should take a break. You look exhausted. Skip Swaziland! Come stay with me! Use wifi! Relax!” She was the sweetest.

I wasn’t going to. I knew I had to keep going. But then I started to have stomach pains reminiscent to the flu. My body wanted a break.

So I caved. I spent 5 days sleeping, cooking vegetables, drinking wine, cuddly with a cute dog, and watching BBC Earth and war movies with my friend’s mom as I prepared to head to Mozambique.

Here, at the end, I present to you the most African experience one could have. It is a journey of uncertainty, complications, complete kindness of strangers, and everything magically working out after all:

Getting a visa for Mozambique was a nightmare! To get a visa at the consulate ahead of time I needed “proof of accommodation.” To get “proof of accommodation,” I had to contact a place to stay in Mozambique and have them fill out paperwork for me. Most cheap places I found didn’t have emails. The one I did find, Fatima’s Backpackers in Maputo, required “proof of transport.” Since I was originally planning to take local, unpredictable transport from Swaziland to Maputo, I couldn’t acquire “proof of transport.” (You book things like that in person, on the spot).

When my plans changed, I still was hesitant to book transport because buses that counted as “proof” refused to take someone who didn’t have a visa ahead of time. BUT I didn’t want to book transport until I had a visa in my hand and knew when I could leave!

It was a cycle of crap. A cycle a cycle a cycle.

After a few days of suppressing the issue and relaxing, then thinking about it with no real solution, I finally decided to book transportation for a night bus from Pretoria to Maputo for the upcoming Monday. I was hoping over the weekend I could get my “proof of accommodation” then go to the Consulate and hope they could process my visa in one day.

After many harassing emails to Fatimas (their server was down apparently), I got my “proof of accommodation” Sunday evening!

Monday morning I went straight to the consulate. The woman there was much kinder than the first time I’d gone. She said I could pick up my visa between 2:30 and 3:30 pm, but I had to deposit 750 Rands, approximately $50 to the consulate’s account at a First National Bank.

I called an uber ride from the consulate and told the driver I needed to go to the mall near where I was staying. I asked if there was an FNB bank there. He said no. He also told me I would need my passport to make a deposit…which I’d left with the Consulate. Since I have a second passport, I decided to have him take me straight home and I’d leave early to pick up the visa, stopping at the bank on the way.

I shouldn’t have listened to him.

Around 1 I made my way to an FNB in the neighborhood.

Their system was down, but “maybe I could deposit in an ATM” they said!

The ATM ate my money and processed nothing.

Time was ticking away.

A teller went to get someone to get my money back from the ATM. During this time, the line at the bank expanded to 30 angry people. Most things weren’t working and I was on the verge of a panic attack. I was so close!!

I’d used the last of my cash for the deposit so I’d need to withdraw more for my uber ride, but the line was out the door. So while I waited for the teller to return with my eaten money, I tried to change my Uber settings to use a credit card so I could race across town the second the deposit went through.

But Uber wouldn’t take either of my credit cards. It was confused with the zip code versus the country I was in. Nothing I tried would take.

My throat was getting tight. I was SO close to getting this damn headache of a visa!

2pm.

The teller returned with my money and brought me to an ATM to try again. The manager of the bank asked the group in line if I could go first since I was in the middle of a hassle and a very angry man yelled “Hell No!”

So I got in line as my stress level mounted.

Eventually the deposit went through and I was on my way out the door towards the other side of town to get my visa!

I tried to call an Uber but it didn’t work.

“Verify your credit card” It said.

“Use Cash as Payment” I pressed.

“Verify your credit card” it insisted.

It would not let me order a car.

Time was passing and I was stuck. Panic revved up inside me. No! I’d made it this far. I was going to Mozambique that night! I was going to get my damn visa!

I screamed at my phone each time Uber refused. I needed an alternative. I asked people nearby where I could find a cab.

No one knew.

A girl saw me in my fit and came over as I slumped in the shade next to a different bank to try and think. She offered to find me a cab with a different app.

A well-dressed man came up to us and said “Hi girls, I work for the Ghanaian Embassy and I was robbed here last week. You need to put your phones away.”

The kind girl said “Embassy? Is that near the Mozambique Consulate? This girl has an emergency and needs to get to the Mozambique consulate by 3:30.”

The man replied, “I think I know where that is. My driver will take her.”

I looked up in disbelief.

He guided me to his car and told his driver where to go and to collect him at the bank in a hour.

What?!

I got in.

The driver was excited to see me. He was from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After asking me what I was doing, he promptly asked if I would marry him. I told him I was already engaged.

He then asked how I felt about Donald Trump. I told him he was a terrible con man causing a plethora of trouble. The driver said “No honey, I do not believe you. He is not that bad. You are being narrow-minded, you must forgive him!”

I told him he didn’t understand. Trump was cutting every program I believed was progressive blah blah blah all of my thoughts…

Driver: “No, God doesn’t want you to hate Donald Trump. You must forgive him.”

I huffed and said never mind.

Then the driver asked “you do believe in God?”

I told him I was not religious.

This greatly offended the driver.

“Oh no dear! You see how you needed a ride to the Consulate!? You were desperate, but God brought me to you! You must appreciate what God does for you.”

I told him I greatly appreciated the circumstance and his God for helping me. This answer wasn’t enough. We spent the rest of the ride arguing about how he believed my life was nothing until I found God and I told him my life was full and wonderful in its own way even though it was different from his.

I was SO CLOSE to getting that visa! So. Close.

Finally we arrived at the consulate. I told him I didn’t have a phone number he could call when he asked, but I told him to thank his employer profusely for letting me use the car. He told me to thank God instead. I shut the door.

I collected my visa in the office right in the nick of time and I almost cried. Since Uber wasn’t working for me anymore, the woman called a cab for me.

That night I said good-bye to the pet dog and my cushy, relaxing life in Pretoria and hopped on a night bus where I promptly passed out.

By 4 am we’d reached the border but had to wait until it opened at 6 am to cross. It was the most hectic border I’d seen yet. Lines of minibuses packed to the brim with goods, people meandering, goats sifting through trash. There was a heavy mist blanketing the eerie yellow lights of the cars in line.

Finally I crossed the border’s mess. I probably could have gotten my visa AT the border because so much was going on and the bus would have never known, but oh well. I had it in advance and hopped on over to Mozambique with ease.

I’d made it to my last African country as the sun slowly rose in the heavy fog.

In Mozambique I have been tired. It’s the end of Africa for me and my body knows. I took a chappa from the hostel in the capital to a beach town up north called Tofo at 5am the next day. I spent two days relaxing in Tofo.

I didn’t do much. One night I skinny dipped with some Estonian guys I’d met as the full moon lit the surprisingly warm water. It was euphoric thrashing in the waves.

Tofo is a great place for scuba diving but I’m getting certified in a few weeks in Malaysia and I also have a new tattoo so I didn’t want to spend too much time in the water.

Mozambique looks like Madagascar. The palm trees, fields of corn (instead of rice), grass huts, stands selling tomatoes, women in colorful fabric carrying goods on their heads. There was a Peace Corps Youth Empowerment Camp taking place at the place where I was staying. It felt like home. But it wasn’t. It was a parallel universe to Madagascar. It all looked the same, but I was an alien. I don’t speak a word of Portuguese.

After two relaxing days in Tofo, I returned to Maputo and here I am, mentally preparing for the end of my time in Africa and my next adventure in Asia.

Whew. It’s been a long road. Almost 4 years abroad. I think this new phase will be reinvigorating! A change of scenery and huge cultural jump will be fun.

Thank you for all of the love, Africa, especially Madagascar. I wouldn’t be the women I am today without all of these crazy experiences.