I am without a passport. I don’t like it. But, it had to happen — there’s no way to get a new one without parting with the old one for a little while. The guy who took my application seemed hopeful about my chances of getting it back in time for our planned trip to France later this month (fingers crossed).
To get my passport renewed, I made a trip to the US Consulate this morning (I could have mailed it in, but that would have meant being without it for longer, so I actually took it in). The process was quick and simple (I was in and out in just over 10 minutes, including the security process) — I think having such attention to detail and being so particular about following directions paid off a lot. I had an appointment, but I don’t know that I needed it — there wasn’t a single other person there getting something taken care of. It was a little bit like being the only person at a very small DMV.
The place itself was absolutely nothing like what I expected. Given its location, I knew it would be part of a larger building, but still, I expected more . . . grandeur? It was really just a small, simple office with an entrance off to the side of the building that also houses the Vienna Marriott. Other than the armed security guard and the metal detector at the front door, it’s just like any other office in any other office building.
One thing I did expect was Americans. I figured everyone I’d be dealing with would be like me — an American living abroad. Nope. Of the four people I interacted with today, only one sounded like she was an American. All but one (the armed guard, ironically) seemed kind of grumpy.
It was a less difficult experience than I anticipated. It was fast and easy. And I learned that paperwork here is just like paperwork anywhere: fairly uneventful. But I still want my passport back.