Another anecdote for my “book”: losing my passport

I’m starting to write this post at 12:10 a.m. on Thursday, October 4, 2018. I’m not going to publish it until the issue is resolved because I don’t want people worried. I even debated writing about this at all, because it is such a “rookie mistake” and so unlike me.  So see further down in the post for an update.

I lost my passport. I don’t know how. My passport is one of my favorite things in the world. It is my lifeline, and I feel sick and worried without it. I’m going to the embassy in the morning to get a new passport as soon as they open at 8:30, but it will only be a temporary passport, so then I’ll have to “convert” it to a regular one. You can only get “regular” passports made in the U.S., so I hope I can get the emergency passport and then send off for my regular one right away to have it delivered in Rome within a few weeks.

It makes me sick. I LOVE my passport. I have never lost it EVER. It’s always at the very bottom of my bag. I remember taking it out of my bag to fit in all my towels and clothes and toiletries to shower at the gym. That’s the last time I remember having it. I don’t know if another time I went to the gym if I forgot to take it out of my bag and so I left it at the gym? But I’ve been there twice inquiring about it, and they don’t have anything. I’ve looked everywhere, and it makes me just sick and disappointed in myself. I am a good traveler. I always, always know where my passport is. It must have happened one of the times I was switching my regular items in my bag to the things I need for the gym. But I’ve looked everywhere. I know I keep repeating myself, but this is just so bizarre.

I’m almost 100% positive someone didn’t steal it from me, because nothing else in my bag is missing. This is the trouble with me forgetting to bring a gym bag – I was switching things back and forth from my regular “stuff” like wallet, meds, etc. to my gym stuff and back again. The passport must have gotten lost in one of those transfers. But shouldn’t it be somewhere in my room then?

I just am so, so, so mad at myself and disappointed. This is NOT like me to lose my PASSPORT. It is my prized possession; it is my gateway to the world; it symbolizes my freedom to live my life on my own terms, right or wrong. It has always made me feel secure just knowing I have it, even when I’m in the U.S. I cannot fathom how this happened. Even with an “emergency” passport from the embassy in the morning, I’m still not going to feel “secure” until I have a new regular passport in my hands, and even then it makes me mad at myself that I’ll never get the lost passport back.

I don’t think I’m going to get any sleep at all tonight.

1:53 p.m., Thursday, October 4

I slept about an hour last night due to worry, so hopefully tonight will be better.

Oh boy. It’s always an adventure with me. The good news: once I got into the embassy, the process was pretty easy to get a new passport. They usually issue “emergency” passports to travelers because they need them to get back home, but because I’m staying in Italy, they’re going to have a brand new passport for me to pick up in two weeks. That saves me having to get an “emergency” passport and then having to convert it to a regular one once I get back to the States. I’m very pleased with the outcome.

Getting IN the consulate/embassy was a different matter. I got to the embassy around 8:45. I was standing in the U.S. citizens line and the guards kept allowing people to go ahead of me. I finally asked why, and they said that my bag was too big and it wouldn’t be allowed in. So… basically, if I hadn’t asked I’d still be standing there wondering why I wasn’t getting in? I then asked them what I was supposed to do. And they brought out a phone and had me talk to someone inside the consulate who said there’s a UPS that allows bag storage for 5 euros. I was like, “Are you kidding me? I could bring this bag onto a plane, and I specifically looked at the instructions for lost or stolen passports and there was no mention of the size of the bags. So I walk to the UPS store 3 blocks down only to find it doesn’t open until 9:30, and it’s 9:00. Soon a Nigerian guy joined me who wasn’t let in because his backpack was “too big,” and a few minutes later an Ethiopian guy came with the same problem. We stood there and talked until exactly 9:38 when a guy came to open the UPS store. We paid our 5 euros each and went back to the embassy together as a united force. I was finally let in with my wallet, phone, and a photocopy of my passport. I had to turn my phone off and leave it with the guards by the metal detector.

Once I got upstairs to the “US Citizens” part, there were a few other Americans in similar situations sitting around waiting to be called. An older guy sitting in a chair in front of me was telling me how he lived in Damascus for 5 years and Baghdad for 4 years, speaks fluent Arabic, and he doesn’t have a home – he’s a nomad. He just did a pilgrimage from somewhere in England to somewhere in Spain. He’s now thinking about becoming a priest. I was so interested. It’s crazy the people you meet along the way.

Erica

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