Passport renewal season


As you can see, I changed the WordPress theme I was using.  I’m liking this new one, it’s still minimalist enough for me, but it’s got some style.  The only 2 problems this has caused are: all the photos got a smidge shaved off on the right, which is ok, I guess I can reload them later (or not).  But the second problem is that now, when I try to add entries to my blogroll, it won’t let me.  It says “There are no options available for this widget”.  Help!  I have so many wonderful new blogs that I’d like to add.  For those of you using Worpdress, have you encountered this problem, and more importantly, have you found a solution?

2YKWAVXJVQGR (don’t mind this, it’s a token claim that needs to show up on my post).

On Monday, we took a quick trip up to Casablanca. Our mission: renewing my son’s passport.  He is turning 5 soon, (too soon), and his passport will expire then.  Both parents had to be present, as well the boy himself.  So we made a little trip out of it.  Every couple of years we make the same pilgrimage up to the US consulate in Casablanca, leaving Marrakesh at dawn to make it there within the rather narrow window of receiving hours (8 to 9:30 am, or if you miss it 1 to 2:30 pm).  More often than not we have a newborn baby with us that needs to be issued a birth certificate or a passport.

The Consulate is on a busy street near the Spanish, French and German embassies.  There are always long lines in front of all these embassies, Moroccans hoping to gain the much sought-after visa which would grant them entry to one of these countries.  At the American consulate, there are also large steel containers lining the street, the size of several cars, filled with some sort of dirt or concrete, as a protective measure.

Once you have given up your cellphone and gone through a security check, (airport-style), then you head towards either the small room or the big one.  The small one is for US citizens, the big one is for Moroccans (or non-US citizens living in Morocco).  We went to the small room.

Casablanca is big and modern.  I always try to dress as nicely as possible.  I wore my leather boots.  Maybe I thought that the US consul would peer over the window at my fancy footgear and think “what a successful, respectable woman”.  But when I think about it, dressing nice is more of a Moroccan attitude that has rubbed off on me.  My husband, who is more American than I am, wore Birkenstock type sandals.  Our son wore hand-me-down sneakers from his sister, they are light blue and don’t look too girly.

In any case, our combination of dressy and casual footwear did the trick.  That, and we accidentally brought all the documentation necessary.  We only forgot to bring photos of our boy at different ages, to show that the pudgy baby with the giant head has indeed morphed into an almost 5 year old (he still has a giant head though, you should try getting a t-shirt on that boy).

As we sat in the small room, waiting, my eyes wandered up to the portrait of Barack Obama.  I was so (very pleasantly) surprised, I mean I know I voted for him and all, but being out of the country, I’m not yet accustomed to seeing his image everywhere.  And a strange new feeling came over me.  I wouldn’t exactly call it pride (because in my head, pride is synonymous with arrogance).  But I did feel profoundly grateful.  Grateful to be an American, grateful that Barack Obama is in charge, is using the best of his skills to guide this ship to better shores.  Grateful for the education I received in an American university.  Grateful that I wasn’t over in the big room, wondering if I’d get a visa or not.  I don’t take it for granted.

(after all, I chose moroccomama as my login name, partly because it rhymes with: Barack Obama).

I didn’t take my camera to Casablanca, but here’s a picture of the passport boy, when he won some points at a fun fair at school.


One thought on “Passport renewal season

  1. Many years ago (10+) there was a small sandwich shack a couple of blocks south and west (? – my directions always got screwed up in Casa) of the embassy. For a ridiculously few dirhams you could get a sandwich that I called a Moroccan Po Boy. It was a half round of bread which had been hollowed out and filled with fried mixed seafood. They topped it with a little spicy relish and wrapped it in paper. My mouth is watering just thinking of it!

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