The movers loaded up the last of our things about 7 pm, which means they had to work in the dark for about two hours (and means they had to work about four hours longer than they expected).
Because it took the movers so much longer than they expected to pack and load, we were late in getting to The Traveler’s Club, where we had planned to eat from 7-9 pm and say good-bye to anyone who happened to drop in during that time. It was wonderful seeing all of you who dropped in to say “see you later” — it meant a lot to us! I (mostly!) succeeded in keeping my eyes dry though there were a few tears during those final hugs and departures.
Did I mention I really hate good-byes? I’d rather duck and hide and avoid them altogether, sending an email and/or talking on the phone later as if nothing had changed and we still could meet for lunch whenever we wanted.
Back at home we finalized the packing of our airline baggage. All of a sudden it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen my passport case since I left it on the kitchen counter next to all of the other things marked for “overseas freight.” Now, no one would never know this 8 x 5 inch black canvas zippered folder held my passport, foreign currencies from about 15 different countries (to pay for taxi rides from the airport to the hotel so I wouldn’t have to change money after a 28+ hour trip), my international vaccine card, and extra passport photos. It looks like it holds recipes or photos or stamps.
I searched my luggage, my backpack and it was nowhere! I asked Thom (hopefully) if he by any chance had my passport case. No! Thom then pulled all of the luggage he had packed into our van for our Christmas road trip (more on that tomorrow!) back into the house and we went through all seven suitcases. Nowhere!
This was a disaster. We already have our tickets purchased for us to leave on January 4th but I wouldn’t be able to travel without a passport. Further, this passport had Thom’s work permit documentation already entered, which would greatly facilitate my entry to the country. Without it, I would need to wait in a separate line at the airport in Zambia and have them re-do the work permit entry (all the while knowing our dogs would be at the cargo center waiting for us).
By this time I went into problem-solving mode. In my “Zambia” file folder, which I had been keeping all of our logistical notes and documents for the move, we had an extra passport application. I’d have to go through the process to get a brand-new passport which meant I’d have to send in an original birth certificate (one with a seal). The first time I did this I was nervous but they promise to send it back and they did. Fortunately, Thom and I had just opened a safety deposit box (after all of these years) and put all of our “important papers” in it. So, my plan was to be at the bank door when it opened, get my birth certificate, go to a post office that had a passport center, and see how quickly an expedited passport could be done. I seemed to recall that for an extra fee, one could get a passport in two weeks instead of the normal four-to-six weeks.
Just to confirm all of this I wanted to go to an all-night wi-fi center (since our service had been turned off by now) and read what I needed to do to get my passport in time. I started the car to warm it up and went to get my computer. When I reached into my backpack for the power supply I felt a zipper at the bottom where there shouldn’t be a zipper. Could it be??? YES! It was my passport case! My backpack was so overfilled that somehow the passport case been pushed to the bottom of the backpack and because it was the same color and material (canvas) it had blended right in.
I was so relieved! (that’s an understatement) All night I had succeeded in keeping my tears to a minimum but the sight of that passport had me crying like a baby!