how the smallest things are so hard when you live our lives right now

We need to get our new passports and our visas for Cameroon. One of the many perks of being employed by the State Department is that things like this (should) be easy. Patrick and I already have our passports but Aydan does not. You’d think because we have our normal passports we wouldn’t have to fill out all the paper work again but we do. We need Aydan’s social security number for the paper work. We can’t find her card anywhere. You’d think we would have written it down, we didn’t, it’s not in any of the paperwork we have for work. So… we call the social secerity office, they won’t give us her number, they need her consent! She’s 9 months old. Really?! So now we have to fill out another piece of paper. This one we have to print off the internet which is my biggest pet peeve. Our printer, even though it said on the box that it was, is not wireless. It’s huge, it’s in this akward place in our small small house that we have to bring it out of it’s little spot, put it on the table connect the computer and then print the sheet, just to find that the printer is out of ink, we have to go buy new ink, we then go to print it and it prints crooked, we try again, and again, finally we just go with it and fill out the paper work. Can we mail this in? Nope. We need to go down to the social secerity office and turn it in ourselves. Then can we get her number? Nope. We have to wait 2 weeks and pay $30 for the new card that will come in the mail. Really?? So not having her number is our fault because we did not take care of her card. But I’d also like to blame our small, small house and it’s ability to lose things that are so valuable inside of it’s smallness.
Once we get the new card and can now fill out all the paper work necessary to get our new diplomatic passports we should be on track to an easy road of mailing in the paperwork right? Nope. We have to go to FSI on a Tuesday from 10:30-2:30 but not from 11:45-12:45 bc that’s when they have lunch, to the passport office to get our pictures taken and turn in our paperwork. You’d think that with a place where 95% of their employees needed passport or visa help they’d be open more often. Nope. You’d think when you are only working 3 hours a week you wouldn’t get an hour lunch. Nope. We could go to main state to turn in our paperwork but that would require us driving into town, finding parking and Patrick taking time off of work. So we stand, looking for a time when we can go to FSI, when Patrick doesn’t have class and I don’t have work where we can stand in line and wait our turn to get our passports taken care of. Doesn’t Patrick work for the ppl who make these passports? Didn’t they take 4 months to do a full background check on us? Can’t they just issue us one easily? This is the only time you will find me feeling entitled. But we are moving across the world for this job, you think they would make the one thing we NEED for that move easy for us to get. That’s all… oh and I’m sick, again. 7th time since November.

6 responses to “how the smallest things are so hard when you live our lives right now

  1. Paperwork, getting it, renewing it and keeping track of it the bane of an expat’s life. Here’s my tip after many years: Buy an accordian file and put everything that you might need for official documentation in it – birth certificates, marriage certificates, driving licences, social security cards, insurance policy documents, apostilles. Find a safe place to keep it in your house, a cupboard or cabinet that locks or preferably a fireproof safe and keep at least one copy of each document in a more accessible file. When you are moving country, carry it with you in hand baggage or have it shipped by a secure mailing service or in your airfreight (if you have airfreight) to your destination. It doesn’t eliminate the paperwork but hopefully makes it a bit easier. Good luck and hope you feel better soon.

    • Funny thing is that we have a system just like that, we use a notebook with clear plastic sleeves. I didn’t start that system until after Aydan was born though and I’d lost the card by then. Thanks for the tip though. I wasn’t sure how I’d get it safely with us to Cameroon though, so those are good ideas. Thanks

  2. I sooo feel for you. And to be sick, and stressed for filling too many “to-dos” in a day than is humanly possible, AND to be a mommy of an infant….being sick is probably the worst of it. I hope that you are feeling better soon. The rest will all sort itself out eventually, so be good to yourself, get your sleep, find the funny in dealing with State (that part never goes away!), and just enjoy the ride!

  3. Hi There!
    Read your list for Amazon. Having lived in Malaysia for 4 years with a 1.5 year old who grew to 5 by the time we left, I can add that you need Zip Lock baggies – all sizes. I was an expat in a small rural town and shopping was the local wet market! You will have lots of fun and lots of the opposite, but the fun won for me.

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