Friday, August 15, 2014

Where's my passport?

 Last week I realized that it's been almost three months since I made the long and exhausting drive to South Florida to apply for my Polish passport. I also realized that three months was the amount of time by which I was supposed to have the document in my hand and I was assured I'd get it much sooner than that. Still, I didn't have it yet. I certainly didn't want to reapply and travel somewhere for it again- it took time to plan and it was expensive, the passport was already  paid for and this time I would probably be forced to fly to the embassy to fix it. As weeks went by I wondered- Will I ever get my passport? What happened to it? I grew more and more impatient. Without a   passport, I can't leave America. If something happens, I can't go to Poland. I felt stuck. It's not until next year that I'll be eligible to apply for American citizenship. Having waited three months I was joking around with my Polish friends, that I'll probably get my American passport  before I get my Polish one. I needed to get to the bottom of this. First obstacle was getting in touch with the Polish embassy in DC. They maintain odd hours. On some days they're open  primarily before twelve, on others they see customers  from one to fours. Sometimes you call and nobody picks up. Their operator gave me the direct number to the department and advised me to try it for as long as it takes until someone picks up. Finally, a man did pick up. I was anticipating problems again with getting the information on my passport over the phone, but this time there were none. He gave me a tracking number for a certified mail and advised me to hash it out with my post office. As it turns out, this time the Polish Embassy wasn't entirely to blame here, although I still find it odd, that having all these information and give how essential and expensive a Polish passport is, nobody inquired into the status of the package and why weeks later it still sits undelivered. My passport was sent to my old address. I had set up mail forwarding a month before, but somehow it wasn't intercepted. The mail person attempted to deliver it once, left a notice on July 5th and there was no further action. Two weeks after the envelope should had been returned but that hasn't happened either. As it turned out, for some reason, six weeks later it was still sitting at the Gainesville post office. I tried to set up redelivery via the main USPS 1-800 number, but as usual those requests don't seem to do anything. I had a delivery scheduled for the next day and nobody came. I had to call the Gainesville post office directly, speak to a supervisor and he was able to send it out with my postman that same day. I wasn't sure if he'd actually be here and at what time. By 2pm I have waited all day and I started to lose hope. It's a good thing that I cancelled my 2pm meeting because he did show soon after. He did explain that he never saw this envelope and he would have remembered. He was off the day someone attempted delivery,
I like my postman. He knows me and always makes sure that I get my mail. Even with the mess and confusion that my turned out to be he always made sure that the envelopes addressed to me always end up in the right mailbox, even if the post office forgets to put the little forwarding sticker on them. He knows to wait for me until I get to the door. Rest assured- this text is not a criticism of my helpful postman, but of the institution he works for. Unanswered questions remain: Why was an unclaimed item sitting for six weeks at the post office? Why didn't anybody attempt to deliver it again? Why, with mail forwarding set up the post office was unable to find me? Is it the perfect combination of these two factors that contributed to this mess? Luckily, after all the waiting and the worrying the passport now rests on my desk.

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