Thursday, 4 April 2013

Who Are You?

As Hubby RC and I had recently decided to have a long overdue honeymoon,I required a passport. This would have been a simple matter of filling in a form, getting a photo done, getting a friend to sign the photo and sending it off, a few years ago. Six weeks later you were ready to go. Not anymore.
   I filled the form,had the most awful photo taken( that scared looking, middle aged woman was me), found a responsible person who had known me for many years to endorse said photo and added long since forgotten documentation. Off I headed into the town to the post office. I didn't want to send it off with any mistakes,so paid for a "check and send" service so that my application did not get held up because my photo was the wrong size or I had forgotten to sign something.
   I have since had a request from the identity and passport office to come and see them for an interview. Apparently, some applications require you to prove who you are by being interviewed, so that you can reveal things only the real you would know.
   RC said he would come with me as the train journey would take three different trains.He had made this trip a few years ago, when he did some mapping work for the Police headquarters there. We left early as it was snowing and we didn't know if it would be worse inland. It only takes an inch of snow here to bring public transport to a grinding halt, sometimes. We made good time and managed to look around what had been a lovely medieval city,RC had his trusty camera with him.The shops were interesting and we found a department store that was closing down, who were selling off Le Creuset sugar bowls below half price. The purchase of this item was solely to calm my nerves before upcoming interview.
   RC needed feeding if he was going to have to sit around in a waiting room all afternoon. We found him a Burger King as I do not allow MacDonalds (a story probably best if never blogged about). I was a bit nervous so decided on just the burger but RC wanted the whole meal. He was going to "go large",(I didn't know they did that in England). But then imagine his joy when he found they also super-sized it. Curiosity got the better of him. With no ice in his giant cup it was like a bucket of coca cola.The caffeine and sugar crash would be a doozy.
  The walk to the identity office was quite nerve racking, what if I give the wrong answer?, What if I fail to prove it's me?Jokes about probably being deported to Romania were not helpful. When we got to the office I felt guilty, like a criminal. I asked RC in the waiting room if they would expect me to know my mobile phone number. He said that nobody knows that. People came and went and eventually I was called.
  The lady was very nice, but what unnerved me was the way she just nodded and said," ah ha, umm, ok," when I answered as though she was just humoring me. She took notes and kept circling things as I answered and then would click and scroll her computer to check what I had said. Most were personal family and relationship questions, birth dates,death dates, events and finacial banking stuff. One of the questions was about phones, mobile phones, such as what your number was. Obviously I had no idea. It's strange when you're nervous and you draw a blank. After answering rather well on names,places and dates to do with my first marriage that was nearly thirty years ago, I was asked when me and RC had gotten married. It took me a couple of minutes that felt like an eternity to work it out through house moves, childrens' ages  and then I remembered. I felt like an idiot. I know this. It is me who remembers this stuff at home.I came out not knowing if I had done well or not. I will hear in 7-10 days time. I told RC what I could and couldn't answer and he felt I had done well, then he told me he didn't know any of those dates. A good job it wasn't him doing the interview or a pizza parlour in Romania would be geting a new "Deported Chef".
   I wanted to go straight home, lucky for us as it turned out. We had a long journey and RC was contemplating a trip to a supermarket first. But we went straight to the station, RC did get coke from the shop outside. We had just reached our home town station when they announced the next train was cancelled, due to trespassers on the line. So we would have been stuck for hours if we had gone shopping. So now we wait for notification that I can have my passport. Then it will be honeymoon booking here we come. Fingers crossed!

14 comments:

  1. Hah, you were so right about the post-bucket-of-cola crash. I was wiped out in the evening wasn't I? Also it really was a good thing that you made us go straight for the train. Being stranded in the medway towns would have been too much like a zombie movie....

    Mind you, it could be a good setting for my second zombie book!

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    1. The second zombie book? Ever since you've been writing this one you've been making strange groaning noises in your sleep. Book two?, I want ear plugs.

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  2. How does RC not way 400 pounds?
    I would have been just like you during that interview. Nervous. Scared they would think I was lying. Forgetful of all the things I usually know. But I'm sure they're used to that. I'm guessing in 7-10 business days you will be booking your flight and hotel room. So exciting!!
    And don't you just loathe getting your picture taken for passports, driver's licenses and such. They ALWAYS turn out bad.

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    1. Cycling keeps me trim...

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    2. The only time RC puts on any serious weight is at Christmas when he doesn't cycle for a couple of weeks. But as soon as he gets back in the saddle he drops the weight fast.
      My passport photo was so bad. I hate having my photo done at the best of times.

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  3. Wow, that is quite the ordeal. "Go large"? Seriously? That sounds so pornographic!

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    1. RC advised me to look at your last blog to explain the reference to pornography. He was too chicken to infer that you are seeing sexual meanings in innocent phrases after finding that dvd. I guess he wont be calling any future blogs "RC does Malta", just in case.

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  4. I find it interesting that you have to go through all that to get your passport. Ours was not as traumatic. Get a copy of the birth certificate, fill out the long, complex forms, get your picture taken, fork over the hefty fee, and mail it off. 6 weeks later (give or take a month), your shiny new passport arrives in the mail. A lot sooner, if you are willing to pay an expedite fee. Good thing you are taking care of it now. Mine barely made it in time for our trip. Despite your fears, I think you will pass with flying colors.

    Nice trip into town, even with all the snow. Good that you went home early but I am curious as to what constitutes "trespassers on the line" that would cause them to cancel the train?

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    1. There are several different reason that trespassers cause trains to be cancelled. Sometimes it is a suicide, which happens more frequently than you would think. There were three in the couple of months I was visiting my father in hospital before he died.
      We have kids that like to play chicken with the trains for fun, some of them don't make it. Then there are the scrap metal thieves who strip the signal wiring out and bring large chunks of the network to a halt.

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  5. They really put you through the ringer to get your passport, but I'm sure all will turn out fine and you'll have your trip booked in no time.

    I'm always amazed at the stuff RC seems able to eat. Of course the cycling helps him get away with it! With a super-sized cup of Coca Cola - and no ice - I hope there were plenty of rest rooms nearby!

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    1. It never ceases to amaze me how much RC enjoys eating. He is not the best person to live with if you have weight issues. As for the cola, he had plenty of opportunity to go to the loo, I was so nervous that day every time I saw a sign for a toilet I thought I needed to go before the interview.

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  6. I'm so glad you posted about your passport interview. I'm on the verge of applying for my very first passport and thought it was a simple matter. I don't know if random interviews are done here, but I'll be ready! And actually, after reading this, I sort of feel that if you miss a few questions, that is to be expected. If you ace the interview, it would seem too coached, like for someone who was obviously lying? Maybe? Like the drunk drivers that look suspicious because of how "well" they are driving?
    Malta will be nice, but if not that - Romania...

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    1. I wasn't sure whether I did well or not. I was really nervous about answering anything wrong and holding up the process. At worst,I may come across as a complete idiot who is no threat to anyone,let alone national security.

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