I applied for a new passport yesterday.
The one I had before expired about twenty years ago.
My last trips out of the country, before children, took me to Quebec, Montreal, Jamaica, Belize, and Mexico. Back then, passports weren’t required to visit those places.
Not sure if that’s still the case, or what sort of reciprocal agreements still exist, in light of the current era of brutal politics we’re in.
But I went to my local Post Office to fill out the application, get the photo, and send it to the US Department of State. Currently, passport application filings aren’t affected by the federal government shutdown.
The fees add up quickly, though. It was just under $200 for the passport, photo, passport card, and processing fees. No expedited processing necessary–I’m planning to visit my sister in Australia, but not til the fall, at the earliest.
She repatriated to Melbourne more than twenty years ago after marrying an Aussie, whom she met in grad school. She and her family have been back to the States several times over the years, but we have not been there.
Three weeks seems a minimum amount of time for a visit, due to the time and distance just to get there (it’s at least two days each way).
The timing hasn’t worked out so well, for us. Our typical work and school schedules made it a challenge to plan such a trip when their weather would be most accommodating.
My sister and her husband, though, PhD Associate Professors at “Uni” have schedules that align with their country’s culture, of course. Their year-long per grade education system is set up in a way that offers frequent breaks. About every six weeks of schooling is followed with a week off. There is a longer break (their winter), about 6 weeks, as well as around Christmas and New Year (their summer) break.
Also, they, like us, would prefer a trip to the US to get away from their winter weather.
My sister is a highly sought after lecturer in her field. She has managed her travel to the States to attend conferences, etc., taking time to go back to my dad’s house in Ohio and use it as her base abroad, and can fit in time for family visits.
My five other sibs and their families all live in OH and are within an hour’s drive of my dad’s.
Over the years, it was much more manageable for us to take trip to OH to see her, instead of a venture to AU.
Last year, when she was on a sabbatical and spent 6 months in the States, she again used OH as her base.
My two sisters and I decided to spend 5 days in Miami Beach with her that November. It was wonderful getting together, without our respective families, and get reacquainted with each other again.
I’m making plans to take other trips in the relative near future — more about that in future posts.
Photo credit: Miami Beach, November 2017 by yours truly.