Actually, the title implies that this will be a long, interesting post. It won’t be, thanks to the helpful hands at the US State Department.
So, earlier this week, after having gotten the rest of my house packed out and given away and cleaned and my deposit returned (yay!), I was getting ready to take a trip to Paris to visit my once and future roommate, Alex.
The day prior to going, having just picked up my deposit and had coffee with my landlady, I was walking to my favorite mexican restaurant for a celebratory lunch and margarita, and going through what I was going to need to bring and planning for the trip, etc.
“Hmm..definitely taking the train, but should I buy the ticket now or after lunch? Maybe I could just get it back at the house? No, Anthony’s printer isn’t working…better to get it after lunch. Lessee…gonna need the computer, my passport…where is my passport? Did I put it in my documents? Oh, shit, I think I filed it, thinking I’d pull it back out for travel later….I didn’t go back through the filing cabinet! Oh shit oh shit oh shit…”
So, after a slightly abbreviated lunch, I went back to Anthony’s and searched. I don’t have a lot of stuff with me. The search didn’t take a long time. I didn’t have my passport.
I spent the rest of the afternoon getting on the State Department’s website and figuring out how to get a fresh passport. It was pretty straight forward. After I set myself up a passport appointment, I called them on their “emergency line”, when I was told to get back on the website and request an emergency passport appointment. So I did.
I felt a bit weird, asking for an emergency appointment. This wasn’t a true EMERGENCY, per se, just a expedited passport. I wrestled briefly with my conscious, and decided to go with the whole truth. I wrote that I had packed my passport, that I was leaving germany for good in 17 days or so, that I had plane tickets and travel plans in less then a week, and that if they could help me out it would be amazing. I went to sleep, beginning to make plans to visit Berlin instead of Norway.
The next morning, I was awoken by a phone call from the consulate. They told me to go on base, see the local consulate agent there, and get myself an emergency appointment. So I did. Technically, I’m not supposed to be able to use the on-base people because I’m not active duty, and I again, told them straight up that I knew that, apologised for the inconvenience, and thanked them profusely and sincerely for helping me out. The morning after THAT, I got on a train at 0545, went to frankfurt, and got an emergency passport.
Throughout the whole thing, the state department staff were friendly and helpful. The whole thing was a generally good experience, insofar as losing an important document, skipping your trip to Paris, and going through the worry about whether you’ll be able to make your plane back to the states can be a pleasant experience. :-) Kudos, though, and many, many thanks to the great people working with the State Department!