Stressful take-off to Santo Domingo


I am probably among the last participants at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo this summer, to scan my sketches from the event, but here goes.

I´m starting out with these sketches from the journey between Stockholm and JFK. I was very close to not getting on that plane at all. Surprisingly, I found out at the check-in counter, that you had to have a visa to even change planes in the US. I thought I was just going to walk through a transit terminal there, but nope. I can´t believe I had not seen that info anywhere, or heard it from someone!

I got the advice from the check-in personnel to try to do a quick visa application online in the nearest internet café – with a bit of luck it might be approved quickly. So I did. In that process, that took much too long, my credit card was denied to pay for the visa application – same credit card that I had just bought time in the internet café with – and I almost lost my voice because my mouth went too dry. (The first time I have ever had a real physical reaction to stress! Very weird.)

Anyway, to make this long and stressful story a little shorter and more harmonious, I got hold of my brother on the phone, and he was able to log in and pay for my visa application. I had already given up and started thinking that “huh, who would have thought that after all this preparation and anticipation, I´m actually not going to go on this trip!”, but as soon as he had paid, we got the message that my application was approved. Don´t you just love when little miracles like that happen? : )

I dashed off to the check-in counter again, was almost stopped because it was really too late to check in, but in the end they let me through (they probably saw that I was just about to start crying or something…). My gate was at the other end of the airport (of course), so I had to run to get there, but I did get on the plane. Phew.


Once at JFK, I got a glimpse of New York City from a café window. I have never been to New York before, but it is my next big must-go on my travel wish list, so I was happy to at least get the opportunity to sketch it from afar.

13 Responses to “Stressful take-off to Santo Domingo”

  1. Jeanne says:

    What a miraculous story. good things happen to good people… To the benefit of everyone at the symposium. Glad you made the effort.

  2. Nina, I’m so glad you got to where you were going. I haven’t been to New York yet and it is on my ‘bucket list’ as well. I love the little, everyday miracles that happen throughout our lives, just when we are ready to give up, and then something or someone gets in the way and a ‘miracle’ happens.

  3. Rosemary says:

    Wow! Amazing! I am glad you got to get on the plane! I am also amazed that one can actually get a Visa like that! And you definitely need to visit New York City. Love your “sketch from afar”

  4. p_ivan says:

    Good that you could do it. I also love sketching at airports but sometimes people around do understand that I am drawing them and then it’s a weird situation.

  5. David says:

    Wow, what nail-biting drama! I’m glad for you that you could make it.

  6. Nina,

    I never would have known to look at you in Santo Domingo that you had had such a travail going through my hometown airport. As often as I have flown in and out of JFK I still go dry in the mouth being there. I recognize the vantage point of your sketch in Terminal One, you really do need to go to NYC as it is an incredible place to sketch, I was just there last weekend and you would love it forever. Be well, and you have a very good brother too! John Bartoldus in Naples Florida

  7. Thanks everyone!
    Rosemary and John: I atually did get a few hours in New York on my way home. Now that I had a visa, I could go into the city during the nine hour wait for my plane to Stockholm.
    Of course a few hours is not much, but spending them with Liz Steel I still managed to make the most of them. And I know I will come back to NYC again some time, this was just an appetizer. : )

  8. Joan says:

    I’m amazed that you could apply and receive a visa online! Since 9/11 travel restrictions and requirements into the USA have really been ramped up. I’m very surprised that no one informed you of the need for a passport or visa when entering the USA, especially since you were having to change planes there. But thank heavens for small miracles and a very nice brother to help you over a hurdle.
    The USA is a fascinating country…frankly, I think the west is more colorful and diverse than the mid-west and east…but that’s the part of the country where I live so I have a distinct bias. :>) At any rate, I hope you make it back hear and get to see more than NYC!

    Great sketches, BTW…and hope you’ll be posting more.

  9. Christina says:

    Vilken mardrömshistoria, piuww!!! Vilken tur att du inte bara fick vända!

    • Ja, jag hade faktiskt börjat tänka tanken där, innan brorsan lyckades betala min ansökan. Läskigt var det. Har nog aldrig varit så stressad i hela mitt liv, tror jag.

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