Seeking Permission to Enter
For the past year, I have been making preparations to study in a different country. It is full of odd circumstances after odd circumstances, but things seem to be working out. Right now I am in the final stages of waiting for my visa to arrive so I can actually get on a plane. My paperwork is in order as best as I can determine. There is nothing left for me to do but hope that appropriate permissions from the relevant authorities are granted in a timely manner.
Border crossing is an interesting phenomena. As an American, I realize that my experiences in feeling anxious about my visa pale in comparison to people coming from other countries. I also realize that this experience is the first time I have encountered needing advanced permission to enter another country. For whatever reasons, various things matter and they matter differently to different people.
Speaking across different Christian traditions can seem a lot like talking to customs agents. Do you have the right vernacular? Are your papers in order? Do things match up? But customs agents, acting as custom agents, rarely travel. Acting as customs agents, only the current legislation matters. They do not particularly regard the story of the individual in front of them. I legitimately believe they tend to be people who want to try to help people be in the country in a way where the traveler can function well. I think they are important.
But I do think that conversations happen better when we assume the role of traveler. We don’t need to change our citizenship to travel, but we definitely ask different questions.