Wednesday, October 17, 2012

International Pioneering with Children in Tow, Part 3

Part 1 can be found here: "I know many people who, if they're not seriously considering an international move are, at minimum, curious how we made ours. So, I've laid it out for you here, Cliff-Notes-style."
Part 2, here: "In all my efforts to hone my inner type-A and succeeding (I thought), the proverbial foul substance still hit that fan. And quite forcibly, I might add."

With a week before departure, my passport had yet to arrive. 
"But, Rebecca, don't you travel quite a bit? Didn't you already have it?"
Yes, dear reader. I did already have a passport. But I wanted more! So the joke was on me.
Josh and I had decided that we didn't want to carry around our passport books all the time, so we applied for our passport cards. How convenient! we mused, Little cards that fit in our back pockets. Our "helper" at the post office insisted that we send our passports with our applications. Odd, since you can have a passport card without getting a passport book, but we went with it. A mistake we have since repeated on smaller and larger scales--just going with it. Check back later on that one, we're still learning.
Everyone's passport books and cards had arrived. Except mine. We kept our cool and made a few phone calls. We were promised return calls that never happened. We called again. And again for good measure. It usually takes just one competent, experienced person to turn the whole thing around. We found her one night, days before scheduled departure, working a swing shift on the phones. The problem, she explained in so many words, is that my name is too long.  Surely, these great United States would have created a system whereby names that surpassed a certain number of characters were given a special process. You know, like using your middle initial instead of the full thing. But I'm a total lay person, so shouldn't comment on the subject. 
Long story with a long name short: My passport book and card arrived a day late and way-more-than-a-dollar short. And, though their timing sucked, they ultimately decided to just use my middle initial, Q (named after a powerful woman, scholar and poet, who fought fiercely for the emancipation of women in Iran well over a century ago).
Josh and I got to work. We hadn't made a plan B. Apparently, those can come in handy. Let's just say that we made up for the lack of alternative plans. Having put the kids to bed one evening, we worked through plans B-Z. Until 4 am. My favorite one had us buying a cheap used car, driving it cross-country and taking a boat from Florida. Although it promised adventure, frustration, excitement and exhaustion (all things we're excellent at), it wasn't actually going to be the most economical choice--a significant factor. So the plan we went with, plan O for obvious, had us just changing our dates. Simple as that sounds, we had to buy four more tickets, pay for change fees and we ended up with vouchers to use at another time. What a mess. But that money we'd saved was already coming in handy.
And then, you ask? 
The rest is Peanut-Butter & Jelly, baby. Then, we jumped.

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