all systems go
At this time of day exactly four weeks from now, my three boys and I will be squashed into economy class on a plane headed to Vancouver. Wheee!
In preparation for our journey there were a few official things that needed taking care of. In Germany that can mean long waits and dealings with impolite, indifferent civil servants. But this time? Fast, efficient, friendly service all around! Things are looking up.
My Canadian passport was set to expire later this summer, so I had to apply for a new one several weeks ago. Godawful picture as usual, but very shiny and machine readable at last. Getting a new passport every five years also means having to go down to the foreigners' office and have my permanent residence permit transferred so they don't kick me out of this fabulous country.
I got to the right address fairly early, along with two really nice Polish ladies who had tagged along with me after stopping me on the street downtown to ask me if I knew where the office was. I must look like I know where I'm going because people are ALWAYS asking me for directions. Little do they know...
Anyway, total time there about 15 minutes. World record. So I got that over with and thought we were done, but then I just happened to read in the newspaper that the kids' German children's ID was no longer valid and that they'd both have to get a "children's passport" which isn't actually a passport but is recognized abroad. They have dual Canadian/German citizenship and have Canadian passports but apparently won't need real German passports until they're 16. Who knew?
Yesterday we all trucked down to our little city hall (open on Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon ONLY, thank you very much) and the guy did the children's passports in about 30 minutes while he told us all about his trip to San Francisco last year.
I don't know what's gotten into these people - they're being so darn friendly. It must be the World Cup. Let's see if it lasts.
So we now have 6 passports between the four of us and I have also documented a few other necessities that I simply cannot be without when we fly to Vancouver.
1. valid travel documents
2. travel sickness pills
3. ancient and as yet unused Lufthansa barf bag (see #2)
4. spare change
5. flip flops