Defacing my Diploma

My diploma has been gather dust in the corner of my closet for the last year and a half. I finally took it out because it’s one of the documents needed for my visa. Unfortunately, they need more than a copy of my diploma. The state of Maryland requires me to get an apostille. What is an apostille? A verification of authenticity by an authorized government official that is recognized by the signers of The Hague convention.

In the state of Maryland, this is a 3 step process (it’s simpler in D.C.). I called a lawyer since I had no idea what I was doing and he tried to charge me $500 with a 6 day turnover. No thanks…

So like everything else in life, I’m trying to do it by myself. I can draw my own blood – I got this.

Step 1: Getting it notarized. Easy peasy, right? I have gotten documents notarized before but I forgot they have to sign the document and imprint it. Suddenly, the diploma I had so carelessly thrown to the side was now like my own skin about to be inked. I guess my angst-ridden gaze must have caught the guy’s attention because he suggested copying the document and notarizing the copy but it turns out that the copy machine can’t fully scan documents that large. Damn you, College Park. Finally, I just gave in and had him notarize my actual diploma. He must have felt bad because he didn’t charge me. Yay for small bonuses!!

Step 2: Certification by the Circuit Court. My circuit court is currently undergoing remodeling so getting into the building was a struggle. I looped around about half a dozen times before following the throngs of wedding guests to the entrance. Yes, the license department certifies documents and performs weddings.

I walk in, stroll through the metal detectors, and stand off to the side to wait for my bags to exit the X-ray machine. I get stopped and the guy starts grilling me. I left my survival knife in the side pocket. Whoops…

After we get that sorted out, I make it to the license department and get squished between 2 separate wedding parties talking a mile a minute in Spanish and what I believe is Punjabi. I was admiring one woman’s sari when I notice there is a wall of forms. Upon reading said form I find out the office only takes exact cash or checks. I rummage through my entire purse only to come up a quarter short. The woman next to me has a quarter and I make it to the counter on time.

The receptionist is the exact counterpart of Roz from Monsters, Inc. I’m standing there trying not to grin when she comes up and tells me I have to get my diploma re-notarized because the guy didn’t spell out his middle name. My diploma now has a completely useless notary imprint on it with some random guy’s name. I decide to not argue with Roz.

At this point I accept my loss and try to reclaim my knife before exiting the building. The security guard makes it a point to personally bring around my hot pink knife and makes a show of handing it back before asking me how I got it. I exchange some friendly banter but at this point I think I deserve a treat.

As I walk back to my car with my $5 smoothie I feel a sting and my eyelid promptly swells shut. So much for taking my visa photos…

Swollen Eyelid

I’ll add a photo of my blown vein as a bonus. I normally have excellent veins but I was being used for practice so I made them take it from my shitty one. This is from the day after.

Blown Vein


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