19 March 2010

Le Département d'Etat a volé mes souvenirs


Zut alors!

That's French for "The State Department Stole My Memories" if you need a translation.

My new passport arrived yesterday and to my horror, my old one wasn't returned. To all of you non US-ians,  our passports are valid for ten years. When our ten-year term is getting close, we fill out a form, get a new photo taken, write a check and send all of that and our old passport to the State Department. After a couple of weeks, the new one arrives. In the same envelope is the old passport, only with a couple of holes punched in the first page, making it invalid.

Getting back the old passport means that we get to hold onto our old passport stamps and visas. Getting my passport stamped is one of my life's greatest thrills and I love to thumb through my old passports and remember different places where I've been.

Well, for some ungodly reason my old passport wasn't in the envelope yesterday. I know it's not a big deal but it really bothers me. I paid a lot of money to get those passport stamps and more than that, they represent a ten-year chunk of my life that I can't get back.

My last passport was stamped for the first time in the lovely country of Grenada and got its final stamp when I flew back to the US from The Bahamas last fall. Ten years, three continents and countless miles and experiences lived in those passport stamps and now they're in the bin of a shredder in Washington. Had I known I'd never see that old passport again I would have ripped out all of its pages before it sent it back.

So fellow US-ians beware. When you turn in your old passport send it off with a fond fare thee well because you're never going to see it again.

A bas la bureaucratie! Vive les anciens passeports!

9 comments:

  1. Oh what a shame! You think they've tossed it by now?
    I'm not a traveller; I only once got a passport to go overseas to visit my now husband Chirstmas '91 in Germany. During that visit we and another couple drove up through Berlin(the wall was freshly down and we bought little painted pieces for a DM each) There we also got a passport stamp for the old East Germany. We also drove over to Amsterdam, and at that border crossing had to get out of our own accord and tap on the door to get the guy to stamp our passports-- Weirdo Canadians I'm sure he thought!
    That passport expired in '95 and I've never gotten another (no trips to the US for me I guess)but I'd be heart broken if I ever lost it.
    You'll soon be filling up your new one, no doubt, but that still really sucks to lose the old one.
    Sue

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  2. I'm still simmering about it but I'll get over it.

    My parents drilled into my head that you should always have one just in case you get called out of the country with little notice. It happens. You're fortunate to have those old Berlin and Checkpoint Charlie stamps. Treasure them!

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  3. Paul, I just renewed my passport too. They don't return your old one along with the new one--now they send it separately. You should get it in about a week. Don't fret!

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  4. Really?! Be still my heart. So my rant today is unfounded? I'll apologize when the old one gets here. Oh happy day!

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  5. Oooh I hope you get it back!!!

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  6. So do I. You know it's funny, I guess it's from Passports being in English and French, passport related stuff makes me think in French.

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  7. Yes, I renewed my daughter's passport last year, and received the old one separately. There is a sentimental attachment to the old passports, I agree!

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  8. Well now that I know I'll get my old one back I suppose I should print some kind of a retraction. I'll wait until I have my old one in hand.

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  9. Reading previous comments...GOOD NEWS for you!
    However in the event you don't get it back chances are, if you called the State Department they may just have a record floating around somewhere and could tell you 'exactly' where you have travelled.

    SMILES 'n WINKS -Brenda-

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