I’m nervous. I can’t even seal the envelope.
It’s like this every time I send away my beautiful passport to get a new visa, but this? This is far worse.
It’s been 10 years since my passport was first issued, in October of 2003. I’ve been making copies of my students’ brand new passports with barely a crease in them, cracking jokes about breaking it in… and now I’ll have a new one of my own in a few weeks. My own passport has seen a beautiful, active 10 years and represents a whole lot more than immigration. Every stamp has a story, and this feels more like a journal than a legal document.
The Visa. I have 3 Spanish visas in my passport, only 2 were used since I detoured to my current job before returning to Spain to teach in Madrid in 2011. My first ever was issued in 2003, without a photo, and after a lively conversation at the Spanish Consulate in New York. What a process. All subsequent processes seemed like a piece of cake .. until they introduced the FBI background checks that took 12 weeks. But that’s another post.
First Stamp. January 2, 2004, London Gatwick Airport, United Kingdom. My first international flight, and the beginning of a beautiful journey that would lead me to the country that would change my life: Spain.
Largest Stamp. Fast forward to December 2012, Dublin Airport, Ireland. That stamp was green, which seemed appropriate, but it took up a whole damn page! Don’t they know I have other places to go?
Most Problematic Stamp. Oh, Morocco. You were such a terrifying experience at the beginning. I remember having our passports taken away in a stack while we were still on the ferry. Then 8 years later I would be questioned at length in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel about my time on the African continent. There’s some sweat on the passport from that one.
Quickest Stamp Ever. I wish there had also been a time stamp on the immigration ink blot from Reykjavik Airport, Iceland. We cruised in from our European origin, late, slammed through security in this one-room (ok, three room) airport and then turned around to check back out .. only to find our plane in was the plane out. We had delayed ourselves. What?
Most Festive Stamp. Bon Bini! A summer getaway in Aruba proved to be full of sunshine, and the stamp was appropriately decorated with palm trees.
I know I’ll fill my next passport with just as many stamps .. but I’ll have withdrawal symptoms until it’s back in my hands. First stop on the new passport will be the United Kingdom in June. Is that full circle, or what?