Next Chapter, In Which Favorite Daughter Receives Her Own First Passport

15 12 2008

Travel is broadening, part of a real education. FavD has been for many months, planning a trip to Europe next summer with a young female friend fluent in French and with family in Belgium. So she needed a passport and we had been reading about the months-long wait and all the extra wartime security checks, etc.

Right after Thanksgiving we went together to the local clerk’s office, with all the stuff one needs, birth certificate and picture ID which in this case was her driver’s license, etc. But then it turned out they can’t take her learner’s permit as a “real” driver’s license, strange.  I guess that’s a federal thing based on problems in other states even though here the regular license and restricted license are the same in terms of ID validity — so anyway, it took us another week, during preparation for her college finals, to go back to the same bureau that issued her learner’s permit to get a very similar picture ID that IS accepted instead.

Then we went back downtown to send off the whole package of documentation along with $75 for the feds, plus another $25 for the local office.

They told us it might be only three weeks but we didn’t believe them. Well, today her real-live first USA passport arrived and it’s a thing of beauty, truly!

I had a US passport in the 70s, dated for the bicentennial actually, which was cool because it had a special front for that year only, to mark the occasion. It was good for ten years and then I renewed it in the 80s and used it for an overseas tour of a dozen or more countries in three weeks. That passport long since lapsed and I haven’t thought much about needing a valid one again, until I saw this gorgeous thing in the mail today. Every page has Americana on it, evocative half-scale quotes and images.

For example, how about Dwight D. Eisenhower? —
“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world, must first come to pass in the heart of America.”

What can I say? It was stirring to hold and thumb through, even though it hasn’t been anywhere yet. She is THRILLED. Mom is wistful and proud and feeling old but also connected to my own parents, whose active passports I inherited after their passing, and to future generations who will travel after I’m gone. Dunno. A cool day.

“The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class — it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.”
— Anna Julia Cooper

Unschooling Europe tag

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6 responses

15 12 2008
Crimson Wife

My DD recently received her first passport as she’s going to be the flower girl in her godfather’s wedding in the UK this coming spring.

As a “heads-up”: I’ve heard that any passport issued since last year has a radio chip embedded within it that puts the holder at risk for identity theft from criminals with radio skimmers. So you’ll want to get your DD a metal-plated case like this one to protect her.

15 12 2008
COD

Or you can microwave the passport for a few seconds, which kills the chip. Check with Daryl – he has some relevant experience.

15 12 2008
JJ

Chris, I remember reading that at Daryl’s — what’s the downside, officialwise, if one were to do that, do you know?

16 12 2008
Jenn

I would be skeptical about damaging the chip on purpose. The last thing you need when travelling is being kept up and possibly missing a flight because your passport is “not working” or not being able to go through a fast lane. It sounds a bit paranoid to try and destroy it, what about bank cards that have similar technology.

I hope she has a wonderful trip and trust she is learning some french or other continental language, you never know how you can get split up. Most of them are pretty helpful if they see you are trying and will probably switch to English if they know it, however they can get very ticked and even a bit obnoxious is they feel they are expected to bend to English and won’t try to help. I agree that travelling is a wonderful eduation oppurtuninty, the sense of history and art that comes alive is amazing. Are they planning to work there a bit too or is it strictly a holiday?

16 12 2008
Life On The Planet

My Sal had get his second passport for his recent trip to visit his aunt in South Korea. He got his first passport at two when we visited the same aunt in Panama. And yet he complains that we never go anywhere.

16 12 2008
JJ

I’d say it’s not holiday OR work, though I hadn’t thought about it until you asked. It’s more like the way she’s always learned, as an unschooler — she meets people and gets involved in what appeals to her, like reading and writing, dancing and musical theatre. Then those people in those worlds connect to other people and overlapping interests, and she goes (how did the Narnia Chronicles put it?) “higher up and deeper in!”

So I guess you could say it’s a Power of Story trip? The Europe Adventure seems to have germinated in dance (Ireland) and been watered well by song and poetry and literature. The fertilizer then, seems to have been various college honors courses in religion and the humanities. She just got around to formal foreign language study (French) and if it hadn’t been for her fluent friend and meeting her family, I’m not sure she ever would have seen that as something worth her time and effort.

The agenda they’re planning (all by themselves) is very personal and offbeat, and the different arrangements they’re considering and what criteria they’re using to choose, are just fascinating to hear about.

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