Expat Magazine

That Was a Week, That Was

By Expatmum @tonihargis
Phew! That's all I can say.
At the risk of unleashing the Ex-Queenager's wrath, let me explain. She was here for the winter break and now she's off to Europe till the end of the academic year, (which is mid-May for most American colleges.) Of course I haven't really heard from her so I'm assuming everything's going OK. I did leave a slightly passive aggressive status update on Facebook, which was instantly relayed to her by a kindly uncle (I'm not allowed to be her FB friend) and she texted me telling me to stop ranting on FB. At least I know how to get in touch with her.
As usual however, the days leading up to her departure were not without incident. The first being that she had been looking at the expiration date on her EU passport and completely missed the one on her US passport (despite a reminder e-mail from me, which I have as proof but which I'm not allowed to mention). US passport expires…… two weeks after her arrival in Europe. Sigh…..
No problem, we thought. You can leave the US on your EU passport and when you get to European city, pop over to the American Embassy and get your new one. I had a niggling fear however, that we'd encounter a difficult ticketing agent at check-in, who would want to know how, if she only has an EU passport, she'd been in the US seemingly without a visa. I was also worried that even if we showed the US passport and explained the situ, it wouldn't sit well. And I was right. According to the airline rules, they won't let you on the plane unless your passport is good for three months longer than your return ticket. Gulp. Given that she doesn't have a return ticket, that would be "Double gulp".
So off to the emergency passport office it was, and she mingled with the great unwashed for a few hours till the job was done.
On to the phone situation, which of course was left until two days before she departed. Simply get the phone company to unlock your I-phone, put an International SIM card in it and Bob's yer uncle. We were assured this would be OK since the (ancient) phone was out of contract. Whatever that means. We would apply online, and wait two days. Oh wait - two days? Hmmm.. that's cutting it a bit fine, and sure enough, we were literally leaving for the airport when she learned her application had been denied.  I have no idea why it was denied and am assuming she'll sort it out in the next few days.
The week was interspersed with emergency dashes out for white tank tops (a layering "must"), ear-rings, contact lenses, and other sundry items. Nothing like panic shopping.
I would like to say that I'm now breathing and slowing down today, but I'm going on the telly this evening to dish about Downton so I need to read up on all things Grantham.

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