or, How This Trip Came Dangerously Close to Not Happening.
Three days ago, I couldn’t find my passport. This, to put it lightly, is bad news, especially if your itinerary involves going abroad within the week. A passport, my brother so sagely once told me (half an hour ago), is really one of the two things you actually need to travel, the other being a credit card. With those in hand (or in travel purse tucked not-so-discreetly under shirt, as the case may be), you can show up to the airport and go. “The rest,” he said, ” is just icing on the cake.”
At any rate, I lost exactly what I could not lose: the cake itself, my passport.
Thursday evening, I noted vaguely to myself that it wasn’t where I had last seen it, and I went out for the evening with only a mild sense of discomfort settling into my stomach. Upon my return, this discomfort escalated with great vengeance and impressive momentum into extreme panic as I tore through my room (which has yet to be reassembled and, you know, packed). I did what any person in my situation does, and dutifully checked those unlikely, untouched places that only cross your mind in moments like this one: that high left-hand corner of the closet, pockets of jackets you’ve been meaning to bring in to the Salvation Army. It goes without saying that this tactic only served to increase my panic.
Joe, my boyfriend, came to visit this weekend, and drove up that evening to find a, shall we say, disgruntled girlfriend. He, old reliable that he is, continued the search, while I, in the throes of despair, began frantic online searches like “how fast can I get a replacement passport.”
And, true, I’d pay the expediting fee, and I could have a brand spanking new passport within a few weeks, and probably one with a better picture than my current one. But really, a lot is riding on having this one right here, right now, and it was this potential “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” scenario that was causing me real grief: if I don’t have my passport, I miss my plane, and I can’t afford another ticket, and I miss my orientation, and if I miss my orientation, can I still even be a Fulbrighter, and even if I can, I am going to seem like such a dummkopf when I roll up to the Berufsbildende Schule four weeks late.
But then, just as I was about to give up the ghost and call it quits on the whole year-abroad thing, I turned around, and there it was, that wascally wabbit, poking innocuously through a couple of binders, right where I remember seeing it last.
and then, and I kid you not, “What a Wonderful World” began playing on Pandora.
at which point, and I kid you not, I hyperventilated.