the curse of the little blue book

It’s that happy time of year again. A time for anxiety! A time for paperwork! A time for visiting the disgruntled employees at the Ausländerbehörde—a term the online German dictionary so ominously translates as “aliens department”! OH BOY.

Oh wait hold on a second, it says here that my passport expired in May. Oops. I can just imagine the disgruntled look on their office-gray faces over at the visa-renewal office when I roll in with an expired passport! Or no passport at all! Does the fun ever stop? Did it ever start?!???

Step one: Take long, deep breaths.

Step two: Make an appointment at the American Embassy in Frankfurt to renew passport.

Step three: Fill out forms, get new passport-sized photos taken, and collect the money I need for the renewal fee which is a75 crappy dollars. And all for the pleasure of having one of those fancy newfangled passports with the evil electronic 1984-style id chip in it. Another big thumbs down for Uncle Sam! Come on, all together now…

Step four: Pray they send me the new passport in the promised four weeks so I can make a timely appearance at the visa-renewal office, where they will frown a lot and do their very best to make me as disgruntled as they are, and where I will pretend that I am really calm, yes calm, not ulcerously anxious at all.

Could you hand me that plastic bag? Make sure it doesn’t have any holes, I think I’m going to puke.

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