Our Move to Gran Canaria – Passport Saga Part 1

I can’t deny that I’m excited for this next chapter in our life. Coming from Africa, I just couldn’t get used to the harsh winters that Edmonton has to offer. Vancouver was so very different and, even though the climate is very similar to that of London, I never really got used to it – all that rain! That, coupled with the fact that they do things so very completely differently to the rest of the world which took me a long time to get used to.

Even though I’m looking forward to so many things – warm weather, loads of sunshine, speaking my own ‘dialect,’ living the more European lifestyle that I missed so much, a slower pace of life with the emphasis on enjoyment more than work – I’m still sad to leave my children and grandchildren and move so far away.

On the other hand, I know that I have to live my life for me. These past few years I’ve been living my life for my children and grandchildren, but they have their own lives and it’s time for me to have my own life. Almost all of my family and friends live on that side of the world. I haven’t seen my eldest son in over 20 years, or my brother and his family for about the same amount of time. I have half-sisters and brothers I haven’t even met yet, and old and new friends that I’m looking forward to reconnecting with.

However, preparing for this move is not without it’s stress. My passport is the main bone of contention at the moment. I’m the kind of person who likes to get everything ready well in advance in order to avoid delays and problems. So when I knew I had to apply for a passport (a bit of a long and painful process here in Canada), I got everything ready well in advance. I had all my documents and signatures done by about the 19th of December. Having read the instructions on the passport website, I was told I had to make an appointment to hand in my application. I duly filled out the online form and a couple of days later I got a call back with an appointment at a local service centre not far from where I live, for December 24th at 10 am.

The day came and it was a bitterly cold and snowy day – about -28 to be exact. I started my day earlier than usual knowing I’d have to warm the car up before driving it. I braved the icy roads and arrived at my destination 10 minutes early. To my surprise, there was a queue outside the door. Usually you can go inside their facility and wait. My appointment time came and went and the crowd I was waiting with were all getting anxious at the lack of service. Eventually, a lady gingerly opened the door and told us all that the office was closed and we’d have to come back another day. Understandably, we were all upset having left our nice warm houses and driven in this inclement weather to be here. A few of us voiced our anguish, including me, but she didn’t seem to care. I was told that I’d have to go back online and rebook.

When I got back to my car, I made a phone call and made it known how upset I was at being turned away. I was told someone would call me to make another appointment. Uugggh! Being Christmas, I didn’t expect a phone call until after New Year.

As expected, on January 3rd, I got a phone call. The lady was very nice and very apologetic. She made another appointment at another office, for January 12th. On January 11th I got a phone call to say that they’d, once again, changed their policy and I couldn’t have an appointment unless my departure date was 25 days or less. I had to mail in my application, including originals of my citizenship and ID. I was reluctant to do that, but had no choice.

Once again, I got everything together and sent it all in via registered mail. A few days later, I opened the lid to my printer to photocopy something, only to find the original citizenship document sitting there Uugghh! I had forgotten it while I was photocopying it and, therefore, it was not included in my passport application. My heart sank. I mentally kicked myself. But, I told myself that the passport office (Quebec) would send back my application if it was incomplete. I traced the envelope and learned that they’d received it on January 17th. I waited a few more days and, after receiving nothing, I called the passport office. I was on hold for an hour before getting to speak to someone. She gave me a file number and told me to send in my original document, stating the file number and other information. I did this the next day.

On the 22nd of February, I get an email from them saying that they’re sending back my application because ‘something’s missing.’ No shit Sherlock! Another phone call. I’m on hold again for an hour before being cut off. I redial and find I’m back at the end of the queue – another hour! Eventually, I get through to someone and I tell her the story, admit my mistake on leaving out a vital document, but tell her that I’ve been trying to do this since December and am now in a panic because my flight date is inching ever closer.

She sympathized , but told me that they’d already mailed my application back to me. She was going to message someone and tell them to urgently sent back my citizenship document. It shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 days by which time I’ll be eligible to go and hand in my application to a passport office in Edmonton because it’ll be less than 25 days. Uugggh. Once again, I wait.

All this stress resulted in a melt down after a ‘surprise’ payment of $800 that Michael incurred in speeding fines from over a year ago, had to be paid before renewing his passport. This was just too much. Handing our “Spain money” over to the government just broke my heart and I had a complete melt down where I ranted and raved for a couple of hours. Much wine was consumed.

We’ve sold almost everything now except our dining-room table and a few small things that we’re still using. I’ll list them closer to the time so that we at least have somewhere to sit for a few more days.

I’ve been cleaning as I go so as to avoid the clean-a-thon at the end of March which goes hand in hand with moving out of a rental.

Lucy wasn’t far behind to inspect every nook and cranny

The same with the basement. The only thing in there now is the couch that we’re giving to Alex and Na-mee.

The house is starting to echo now 🙂

We sold everything in the garage in one day! Then sorted the rest into piles – garbage, recycling, donation. I took a good chunk of the garbage and donations to the dump and to Goodwill. There’ll only be a couple more boxes now.

The travel paperwork for the cats is all done – my vet was wonderful. I then made an appointment for the health inspection department for March 28th to endorse the documents.

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