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Thursday, February 11, 2010


Last night, I looked at my passport, and was somewhat alarmed to see that it expires in just under three months, on May 11, 2010. My passport is nearly a decade old.

This isn't a problem, although it is sad that the last stamp in it is from 2002. (December of 2002, so practically 2003, but still.) That's seven years since I've traveled internationally. Five and a half of those seven years have been spent in grad school, which is daunting on its own, and has certainly occupied my time. However, you'd think that I could get a bit more out of my protracted student status--like some international travel.

As it happens, that's where looking at my passport comes in. I just booked a ticket to Tokyo! With departmental funding! I'm ecstatic!

Except that Japan has this thing where they don't want your passport expiring within six months of when you're in the country. That means that to my $75 passport fee, I'll be adding a $60 expediting fee. I'm five weeks out from travel, which is close enough to the edge of the estimated 4-6 week processing time for normal applications that David made me promise to expedite (estimated 2-3 week processing time). Sigh.

Anyway, today I got pictures taken and filled out the paperwork so that I can send it all in tomorrow, with my huge check. And soon I'll have a shiny new passport to join me on my 14 hour flight!

It will be a whirlwind trip, with the main goal of seeing a piece that's part of an exhibition at the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art. My brother-in-law will be there on work and my sister will be joining him, so I'll be able to stay with them and am extra excited.

Here is a comparison of my new passport photo beside the photo of a decade ago (and, yes, my 2000 passport has an actual photo laminated to the book! Old school!):
It's pretty strange for me to look at these two photos side-by-side. On one hand, it's hard to believe that it's been 10 years. On the other, in some ways I feel--and look--like a totally different person. Ahhhh, aging. Older and wiser!


Ted (er, Logan) said...

My passport is valid through 2012, but I think I'll be renewing it when I get back from India next month. It's a little worse for wear after I ran it through the washing machine after returning from London in 2005. I have traveled internationally since then, but Australian customs looked askance and mumbled something about some of the security features being missing and took my passport into a back room for a few minutes before finally deciding I would be ok.

Mumsie said...

There are those in my circle who would like a thumbnail sketch of what your doctoral degree is all about. I fail miserably when I try to explain. You could e-mail me if you don't want to blog it.

I'm super excited that Tokyo worked out for you!!

Leah said...

Heh. Yeah, I had to renew two years ago before going to Switzerland. It was a weird experience, seeing my old picture. I looked soooo young, though I still had the sweater I was wearing in the old photo.

In the new one, as in most ID pictures, the photographer was two feet shorter than me, so my head grows smaller toward the top. *sigh*

The Churches said...

Wow! Tokyo! How exciting! And it's really providential that your sister will be there at the same time... You'll have an amazing time. Cute photos too, both of them.

strovska said...

wow, very exciting! i had to expedite my last passport renewal due to poor planning, and it was extremely quick (way less than three weeks).

Mumsie said...

Huge thanks to David for insisting you expedidite your passport. I know how much you like to live on the edge, but he's right this time.

nmrboy said...

older. wiser. hotter.


n. x

CëRïSë said...

Ted, I can't believe you sent your passport through the wash--and then were still able to use it! Crazy!

Mumsie, maybe we can talk about it on the phone. Oh, and David is very pleased that you're "on his side" about the timing issue!

Leah, the guy who took mine set his tripod up on the counter so that it was at head level with me--pretty fancy!

Adrianna, thank you! Knowing they would be there was one of the factors in deciding to see this piece in Tokyo, now, rather than in Australia next month.

Rachel, I am super encouraged to hear that.

And Neil, thank you for that encouragement as well!

Holly Marie said...

oh, ceri! i could have told you that info before you bought your tickets! it is not just japan's policy - most countries do that. our principal left taiwan for two weeks this summer and the day before he came back, his passport had 6 months left. He tried to re-enter, but couldn't and had to stay in the U.S. while they processed his new one. He didn't get back here until a few days before school started.

japan is right above us! you guys should just hop down here too! you could stay at our place...and i believe i will be on spring break sometime around then...what dates?

take a lot of pictures! :)

CëRïSë said...

Thanks for the invite, Holly! I would so love to visit you guys, but it really is a whirlwind trip; I'm only in Tokyo for a few days, sadly. If it were any longer, I'd be there!

And, yeah, I'd been warned by the State Dept. site, when researching tickets, that many Asian countries won't let you in if your passport expires in fewer than six months. My funding arrived with such a short window before travel that I'd have had to expedite anyway!

Becca said...

Wild isn't it... I hadn't heard about your trip. Hope it's lovely. Passport ordering is such a hassle.

CëRïSë said...

Thanks, Becca; I'm super excited!