"I don't want COK on my arm."



There are few people I love enough to give a kidney to.  My parents, my sister, and my best friend, Dancey. (If a human kidney can fit into a dog, then definitely my mutt, Boston).

Dancey and I met while working at an international think tank in D.C. and we figure it was best-friend-love-at first email because I neither remember her first day nor her welcome lunch, but somewhere in between it happened.  Thankfully, we didn't have a hard time breaking any walls down (considering we didn’t have one between our work spaces). 

It's been said that if you wake up and look forward to going to work, you've got it made.  But to be honest, it wasn't the work I was looking forward to, it was seeing Dancey.  And,how many times we could make each other laugh and how many times I thought we couldn't get any funnier.  Surprise!  We always did.

Like that time time we wanted to know how many M&Ms we could fit into our mouth and just when we started to look like squirrels packing away acorns, my boss asked us a question about an event.  Or all the haiku's we wrote about describing our life in the office.

Dearest cleaning man,
how do you always know when
my bathroom time is?
Food in the kitchen?
when I get there, there is none.
I walk back empty.

A week before leaving my “Beltway” job for sandier pastures, Dancey and me decided to get “friendship” tattoos.  Not your cute little “school girl” throw backs that you put on your arm and apply a wet washcloth only to have it fade in a few days; I’m talking the hardcore, bad ass, last-a-lifetime, ouch-that-hurts, needle and ink variety. It took us all of a day to design what we wanted.  Our own constellation of sorts using the airport codes of all the places we had been to together through our jobs at work:  DCA (DC), ASE (Aspen), LHR (London), CPT (Capetown), DXB (Dubai).  The goal was that this tattoo would continue, adding on every time we get to travel to distant shores and exotic locales to see each other.

Flash forward a year and voila!  When I found out she would be in Kerala, India, for a conference in December, I couldn’t wait to buy my ticket.  “Cool!” we emailed in glee, “So what code are we adding?”  This is where it turned weird funny.  It was either TRV for (Trivandrum International Airport) or COK for Cochin International Airport. Def the former as neither of us actually wanted COK permanently scripted on our arms.  As an added bonus, I found out by flying into TRV, I could avoid the onerously long visa process and was ecstatic!

My ecstasy was short lived.  The day before my departure - and on a whim - I confirmed the visa process only to realize with horror what "Visa on Arrival" really meant: "Apply 4 Days before you Arrive then Print it for Immigration's When you Get Here.”  My reaction?  "OH SH#T!" I applied online and called only to find out it takes 36 to 72 hours for approval.  The only tattoo I was getting was SCR (Screwed).

After desperately searching for any options, I found a super sketchy non-government associated "24 Hour Visa" website.  I said a prayer, submitted my paperwork along with a non-refundable check of an embarrassing amount andproceeded to call every hour on the hour like some super sketchy character in a James Bond movie. 

On the day of my supposed flight to India’s TRV Airport, I brought a packed suitcase to work. No word all day of said Visa from said Visa company.  My taxi arrives at 4:45pm for my 7pm flight and still no Visa.  My weeping calls all to no avail, I told the cab driver to turn around and take me home.

Then, miracles of miracles, I got THE CALL, headed to Kerala for the best three days I had in a long, long time with my best friend Dancey consisting of all-night girl talk, bathroom dance parties, cocktails by the pool and laughing until we cried.  TRV, I can’t wait to add you to our constellation.