Two Weeks of Suck, Part 1: the passport agency

Part of the Two Weeks of Suck series, in which b recounts her spring break.

1. It all started when I decided to apply for a carte de séjour. It was already kind of late in the quarter (as in, ‘the week before finals’ late), but I e-mailed the Stanford-in-Paris program about it. It turned out that I needed to have a passport valid until I left (next March), so off I went to the San Francisco Passport Agency.

Thursday. I call the passport agency through their life-or-death number, because I kept getting a ‘network busy’ announcement through their regular line. Someone tells me to go to the agency at about 7 the next morning. I’m excited because I think I can get my passport renewed before the weekend.

Friday. WRONG. The new passports have an RFID chip in them and take a longer time to produce, plus there’s an unusually high volume of people this week. The agency actually opens at 9am. I don’t actually have an appointment. After standing in numerous lines for a few hours (with my flight itinerary and passport in hand– they need to see proof that you’re leaving very soon to even let you in), the guy at the counter hands me a pink slip that will let me back in on Monday morning at 11:30.

Monday. The day of my visa appointment. After waiting for three hours, I hand my application in and they need my old passport. However, right AFTER they punch a hole in my passport and make it void, they tell me that I won’t be getting a new one until tomorrow morning.

2. I’m in tears and make a visit to the French Consulate to beg for another appointment. The security guard (only one– the consulate is small) kindly agrees to let me in on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Since I’d already been screwed over by so many other people, I thank him but don’t believe a word he says. Besides, how the hell can I get there on Wednesday morning when I have a freaking FINAL? I e-mail my TA to find out. My TA CCs the e-mail to my professor.

3. My professor responds. Their policy cannot allow students to take the final at a different time, else they have to take the final in a subsequent quarter. BUT, he includes a loophole: if I get back to campus before the final ends (before 11:30), they could let me ‘begin late’ and ‘finish late’.

Wednesday. I go to the French Consulate and try my luck. The security guard was right— I got a visa within the hour! My dad-slash-driver gets me back to campus within half an hour and I take my final.

Happy ending! For this post, anyway.

Next up: Why our sublet owner probably wanted to kill us!


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This is a blog of things place-related, by a cash-strapped Stanford grad who's lived in various places and writes about life. She's currently looking for a job in Manhattan or the Bay Area.

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