Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How To Renew a Passport

I had to do just that.
My passport was to expire this November, and so I looked into what to do about it.  It was quite simple, really.  All I had to do was fill out a renewal form, get a new passport photo taken of myself, and send the photo and the form in with my old passport plus a check for $110 to the passport processing center.  That was the easy part.
The hard part is, I have to wait to get it.  Fortunately, I have plenty of time to do that.
Yes, that was irony.  I was encouraged in part to get a passport back in 2007 when I heard Mr. Shawn Carter, noted rapper, clothing line entrepreneur, and lesser half of Beyoncé, brag about having a passport in a TV commercial, and . . . well, why don't you read my original post here?  True, I had no reason to have a passport, as I had never been able to afford to travel to a foreign country - except Canada, which had never required passports from American tourists (that changed in 2008), but I figured a lot could happen in ten years, so why not get one?
Because not much has changed - an exception, of course, being the financial crisis that killed all the good-paying jobs in These States.  Without getting too personal, here's what happened - I ended up having to work at low-paying part-time and/or temporary jobs and freelance gigs for the next ten years, and, because foreign travel has remained out of my reach financially, my passport saw zero use in the past decade.  Not a visa or official stamp in it.  The instructions for returning your old passport to get a new one require that it be in good condition.  I'm happy to report that it was in the exact same condition upon my return of it as it was the day I got it in 2007.  I'm also sad to report this.  As I wrote on this blog in 2014, I didn't need it for a job application, or even for voting (I thankfully don't live in Wisconsin), but it was good for smoothing out supermarket receipts!
I hope I'll be able to travel to Europe in the coming decade, because I've made several European friends online thanks to social media whom I'd like to meet in person, including an Italian who lives in Germany, a Swede who lives in Greece, and a Brit who lives in France, not to mention a Spaniard who lives in . . . Spain.  Also, I'd like to do all the things in Europe you can't do in America - which includes visiting medieval cathedrals, seeing the Mona Lisa and David, eating unadulterated food,  and riding a passenger train that doesn't look like it belongs in a railway history museum.  Among other activities.  For all I know, I might be able to do that as early as next year (no, I won't).  But I have to wait until Uncle Rex (that would be the U.S. Secretary of State) sends me my brand new passport.  I understand that could take a while. 
Maybe a few weeks to a few months.
I can wait.  Believe me, I can wait!
As for Beyoncé and her husband, who need passports more than I will ever need one, well, I shouldn't envy them.  In fact, I should feel sorry for them.  Poor Mr. and Mrs. Carter, they just can't find a house that fits their budget; they've been living in luxury hotels and rental mansions, because the kind of place they want is so out of reach for them.  The sort of house that meets their needs would cost them about $150 million; their budget only allows them to spend half that.
Remember that when you have to spend the money you saved for a trip to Switzerland on your mortgage. >:-(  

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