I have dedicated most of this day up to this point (it's just about 12:30 as I write) to doing "stuff" I need to do to get ready for this summer. On the top of the pile is the paperwork for my visa application for entry into Zambia. The embassy wants my passport, as embassies always do. BUT they want six months of validity left on it from my scheduled date of DEPARTURE. I thought I had plenty of validity left on it, but I was doing my little six months calculation from the date of ENTRY (a rookie mistake!). But my passport expires the 10th of December, two months too early. So, I have now added "renew passport" to my endless list of things to do! (Has it already been almost ten years since I got this passport? This will be my fourth passport. I'm not old enough to be on my fourth passport!)
And I have a time constraint I am dealing with as the Zambian embassy wants my application/passport by May 15th. Additionally, I have to mail it to Teen Missions before it goes to the embassy! It SHOULD only take two weeks to get a passport renewed by mail, but that's cutting it a bit close, doncha think?
Option: since I need to get my paperwork to the Zambian embassy in about two weeks, I can make an appointment to get my renewal in person at one of only 14 regional passport offices! It appears I would be taking another road trip somewhere. What are the chances that one of these regional offices are any where near me???
100%!! There are offices in places you would expect, like Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Honolulu, New Orleans, Houston, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C. But there's also one in Norwalk, CT, and in Aurora, Colorado! (Who's even heard of Norwalk or Aurora?) An easy hour's drive up I-25. I have an appointment on Tuesday, so I should be right on track.
Anyhow, I took a quick look through the few stamps I have in this passport. 2 May, 2003 – Dublin, Ireland. 14 Jun, 2001 – Aguascalientes, Mexico. And 18 Mayo, 1997 – Cancun. This last stamp being the only evidence that I ever went to Cuba. I have been three places that wouldn't stamp my passport. China, Russia, and Cuba. Why do you suppose communist countries don't want to stamp your passport??
Now I must find someone who takes passport pictures. The embassy ONLY wants official passport pictures, not ones taken in my living room and sized appropriately!