Monday, December 6, 2010

Welcome to the US Isaac!!

*Long post, but hopefully worth the read...*

Well, he was a US citizen technically from the moment he was born, but this weekend we made a trip to Dublin so we could go to the Embassy and get him properly registered and apply for his passport (a very important item that will come in play later!) It was a neat trip and sort of the combined 4 years we've lived in Ireland, we've never actually BEEN to the Embassy before!

Now, a little background on what's going on here lately: Ireland has come under the thumb of a massive Arctic blast that's actually terrorizing other parts of Europe. As well as Ireland can cope with cold, it comes to a stand-still when there's any kind of snow involved, especially the multiple inches they got over the last week or so. I've been diligently watching how much snow Dublin has received knowing we were going to have to head over, and thankfully, the last few days have seen some relief. I know what you're thinking: why didn't you wait? Good question, BUT, we had to go; the Embassy makes you schedule appointments and we'd made the appointment weeks ago. As I watched the snow reports, I tried to see when the next available date would be and cancel this appointment and reschedule but nothing was open until February, and we just couldn't go for that. That's just too late for some other things going on for us to get we basically had to go. Thankfully, I grew up in snow, and though mishaps happen even to experienced drivers, it helps that I've driven in snow a lot before...we just figured that the trips across country would take some time. So carefully, we headed out.

We got to Dublin and popped in to see some friends we know there, and had a great afternoon (aside from me getting a migraine and having to take solace in a dark room for a while) and then headed to our hometel. Yes, I spelled that right. That's what the girls call it. All 5 of us in a room for the first time though...oh boy! We were waiting for disaster. Surprisingly though, things went well. Isaac actually slept really well, and Hannah and Cailyn did, well, alright. They just love staying in hotels so much that they're pretty wound up about it, so sleep doesn't come to them (or mom and dad) too quick.

Got up today, and the adventure continued, though not for the last task we had to do, of course, was to take a passport photo in for Isaac. Of course, it has to be a white background, and mom and dad's hands can't be visible holding his head up. Easy, right? WRONG. Infant passport photos are insane! I was able though to get a good photo of him and tried printing it at our pharmacy the other worked, but the picture wouldn't qualify because of one little part in the background wasn't white. I didn't want to risk delaying the process anymore, so yesterday morning before we left, I staged another one and took it with us on my jump drive, thinking we could just get it printed in Dublin at the mall near our hotel. Wow...NOT. I go to the pharmacy to print it, and theirs don't print passport sizes prints. Of course! How silly of me to think a drugstore in a city of +1 million people could do something a pharmacy in our small neighboring village would do...ugh. They did have the option of using a little photo-booth, but since we'd already taken a road trip from the hotel to the mall lasting more than 30 seconds, Isaac was asleep, so that wasn't really an option. (Bear in mind the photos have to show his eyes...) Thankfully, there was a film processor in the mall, so I ran to see him with my jump drive. He immediately tells me he doesn't do infant passport photos. CRAP. Now...we're about 1.5 hours ahead of our appointment, and at this point, I'm starting to freak out. This SHOULDN'T be this hard!!! He begrudgingly decides to help me out by trying to use the pic I had on my jump-drive (which is what I asked him to do in the first place...not take a new photo) and he yanks the jump-drive out of my hand. Apparently he had to save all my photos to his hard drive, then to an sd card, and then into this little printer he has set up just for passport it's a holy grail or something. It wouldn't work. He tried opening the photo in photoshop and resizing it and resaving it on multiple sd cards and, still nothing happens. It's like the photography twilight zone...this one photo won't open. His special little machine wouldn't read it. He brilliantly (after I make the suggestion) crops the photo to a 2"x2" passport size photo and prints them on 4x6 paper. genius! Thankfully, this works, and we now only have just over an hour to make it through the city center and get to the Embassy on time for our appointment. (While we were waiting for all this, Jen ran and got us Starbucks...probably our saving grace emotionally...) Oh, by the way - Isaac now needs to eat before we leave the mall. AARGHH!!! Jen gives him a quick snack to try to tide him over, which works thankfully, but now we're down to 45 minutes. Somehow, we're able to get to the appointment on time. Actually, we showed up early which is something we learned that we're not allowed to do. We had to pace around in front of the gate in the freezing cold for 20 minutes until 1:00 on the nose before they took us through security, which is more serious than airports. Like seriously...they would be well suited to take all these body-scanners of the airports hands and make their lives easier...After that though, everything went smooth. The paper work got filled out, we paid our fees, and in a few weeks we should have his social security card, and passport!

We had decided to be as American as possible on the day, since technically, we were stepping into US soil while we were in the complex. So, with me wearing my American flag t-shirt under my jacket, I helped the girls say the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the building, then we headed to T.G.I. Fridays for an early dinner before beginning our snow-bound journey home tonight. The whole first half of the trip home was just a downfall of snow...the kind that when you switch on your high beams you blind yourself from the light bouncing back at you off the flakes. The trip was cool for me though; it reminded me a lot of when I was around 12 years old? playing for the Flagstaff All-Star soccer team. We played our tournaments in the winter, and we always played in Phoenix. Even though we knew storms were on the way before we left for the tournaments, they graciously drove me down to play only to make the long journeys home in blizzards just so I could play my soccer. Thanks Mom and Dad!!!

Overall, it was a fun trip with a little excitement just to keep it from being dull.

PS. While we were wandering around waiting for our time-slot I asked jokingly if Mr. Rooney was in (Pittsburgh Steelers owner and current US Ambassador to Ireland), and was politely was told that he wasn't. I thought it was just because he would have been up late the previous night since the Steelers were on Sunday Night Football, and he stays up to watch all their games if he's over here. Actually, he watches it via sling-box and apparently has to keep calling his family to tell them to quit changing the channel! LOL) Anyway, as I was writing this blog, I had the game on from last night (I'd recorded it to watch when we got home)...lo and behold, Dan Rooney was actually at the game. I thought it was funny anyway...

All of us in front of the Embassy with Old Glory waving behind us...

On to the American food!!!

This was hilarious to me: Everywhere in Dublin snow is all over the sidewalks; EXCEPT for all around the US Embassy. Yeah, that's right...we actually SHOVEL snow! LOL

We took a walk down the major shop street in Dublin after dinner before heading back to town...this old man playing the whistle was great!!! Now we know how Santa occupies his time before making his run! ;)

And of course, there's a Leprechaun in Dublin...


Laura Forman said...

I wish I had enough time to tell you our crazy stories to get Jack's passport in Thailand...the only difference, we weren't freezing...we were sweating, it was almost 95 degrees in January :) Glad you got it done though! Thanks for sharing all the details with us :)

Granny & Papa said...

What a trek!! Glad you made it back home through all the weather. Looks like overall a great adventure for everyone :o)

Marc and Charity said...

Gotta love it. We had issues w/ Bailey's and Addie's passport photo too..however we found a very cool place here in Cardiff that had a special newborn seat thingy- saved time and stress! :)