Living abroad, I have a very special fondness for my passport. It feels incredibly vital to my survival here — it’s like a lifeline. With it, I know I can get home if I need to, or get into the American Embassy in an emergency. It’s not just a relevant form of identification, it’s my ticket out of here (if I ever need it). It’s like a security blanket — since the day we left the US I’ve known where it was every single moment of every single day (not just mine, but the boys’, as well).
Seeing as it’s important, I should probably have a valid one.
It’s so not like me to flake out on really important things. I usually sweat the small stuff as well as the big stuff, although I’ve been making concerted efforts to let more of the small stuff go. (Well, maybe I’ve taken it too far and it’s started to leak into my ability to stay on top of the big stuff.) I realized, yesterday, that my passport will expire in less than 2 weeks.
This is not a good feeling. As of April 29, I will no longer have a valid passport. I could get out of Austria without one, but I can’t get *in* anywhere else. I’m having visions of ending up living in the international terminal of Dulles International Airport. This is a problem that needs to be rectified.
Before we left the US, I noticed that I’d need to renew my passport while we were here, but at the time, April 2012 seemed like a long time away — and it was, over an entire year away. I didn’t bother looking into the process of getting it renewed abroad, I only checked to make sure that it was possible.
Yesterday, I looked into it. As it turns out, it seems like it should be pretty straightforward. Apparently, this comes up all the time (which makes sense) and the embassy itself has the facilities to produce them (so I don’t have to wait for it to make a round trip to the States or anything). It looks like I have to get my new picture taken (done today), make an appointment at the Consulate (set for tomorrow), fill out and drop off my application and my current passport, and wait 10-14 days.
Hopefully, I’ll get it back in time to go to France. (Our trip is planned for the end of this month.) But even worse than worrying about whether my mental hiccup will torpedo our plans to travel around Europe is the strong discomfort I have about being without my safety net/security blanket/special pass that is the key to me being able to get home (or anywhere) if I need to. I don’t like it, but that’s how it is. I guess it happens all the time.
I feel like after I drop it off tomorrow I’m going to be unofficial — a woman without a country. Of course, that isn’t true, I’m still a U.S. Citizen — the passport doesn’t make that so — but I don’t think I’m going to like being without it. I don’t think this is a mistake that I’ll make again (but to be fair, even if I’d renewed it 6 months ago, I still would have had to be without one for a few weeks). And I guess it’s safe to say I won’t be going anywhere for the next 10-14 days.