Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Exciting Adventures of My Passport

I've never been so excited to see the mailman
in my life.  I'm 99.9% sure I scared him. 
I decided to update my passport recently.  I filled out a form, took an (awful--like really awful) picture, and sent a check, including a lovely extra fee to expedite the process.  Pretty simple, right?  Oh boy.  Little did I know the incredible saga that was about to unfold.  

The biggest reason I had to update my passport: I'm going to Kenya!  Soon!  So having my passport returned to me quickly was just a teensy bit important. 

About a week after I mailed in the packet, I received an email telling me my documentation wasn't acceptable, and they would need more.  Hmmm.  

Then, the US Government shut down.   I kinda didn't plan on that happening.  

A bit worried, I called the Passport Office.  I luckily reached a nice lady pretty quickly.  However, all she could tell me was that it was "in process." Oh-kaaay.

Two weeks later, I received another email.  

The now two packets I sent in were both unacceptable.  They required still more information confirming the use of my name on official documents from childhood.  Let me repeat: childhood.  I have moved nearly 78 times in the last dozen years so this news caused a bit of distress.

I immediately called my mom (yay for mommy!) and asked if she could dig up some very old forms that the passport office requested.  My fantastic mother, aka The Outrageously Organized File Keeper, found my SAT scores, college transcripts, and even a Health Form from elementary school (it's actually pretty adorable).  She overnighted them to me from Hawaii. I was then required to submit them in person to a Passport Acceptance Facility in my area.  In an hour long meeting, I plead my case (my opening line: "Hi, I'm me."  They laughed.  Nervously.  This whole thing was so weird.  Anyway).  Satisfied with the documents, they sent in the third packet to the Passport Agency in New Hampshire.

Still with me?  But wait, there's more!  

At this point, it's been over a month, and my Kenya trip is right around the corner.  I called again to confirm whether the third packet had been received.  Another nice lady confirmed that it had.  She told me she'd be happy to have someone call me when my passport was processed.  And you know what?  Someone actually did.  I received a glorious voicemail 3 days later from a very nice man in Arizona telling me that my passport was "accepted" (hooray!), but he wasn't sure when it would be created and mailed (uh oh).  I chose to focus on the positive.  Finally--they believe I'm me! 

I was talking to a good friend of mine right after I received this voicemail.  She, as well as several friends and family, was well aware of my fun little passport drama. I was telling her how they were cutting it close and I was really worried.  Amy asked me, "Kalei, are you really worried?  Do you really think God doesn't have this all under control?"  Amy cuts to the chase.  That's one of the reasons why I love her. 

This afternoon, a beautiful Express Mail envelope arrived.  And inside, my beloved passport. 

I'm not gonna lie.  From the moment I received the first email, I was really worried.  During this month-long saga, I was up quite a few nights tossing and turning, wondering whether it would all work out.  But I shouldn't have.  God tells us not to be anxious, and to lift up all of our worries to him.  

This is one of my favorite verses.  It always gives me peace when I'm feeling anxious.  I probably should have meditated on this one a bit more during this trying time! 

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"  Matthew 6:25-27 NIV

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