Now that it’s over, I can breathe a sigh of relief. You see, I’ve been living in passport limbo. My old passport was due to expire in August, so I went to the US Embassy here and turned in my application, money and passport to get a new one. Not long thereafter, I received a note from my local post office informing me that there was a certified letter there for me to pick up. My passport.
For some reason unknown to me, Sweden has post offices set up in groceries where you can do all of your usual postal business. Whenever I receive a package, I have to go to a local grocery to pick it up. It’s kinda funny, but it’s not a problem. However, in order to get that letter with my passport in it, I have to show an ID. But my ID is there in the package, I tell the postal employee hopefully after showing him several other ID variations. No deal. He won’t give me my passport. So I go home and call the post office, only to be told: “Now that is a tricky situation, isn’t it.”
Thinking creatively, I decide it’s long past time for me to get my Swedish ID card. So I go to my bank and they are happy to give me one. But they need to see my passport to finish the transaction. It’s such a classic catch-22 situation that in retrospect, it’s funny. At the time, it was not. I was having visions of myself stuck in Sweden for the rest of my life. I was not amused. In fact, I was rather pissed off. I needed that little passport booklet. It is my lifeline home and my necessary travel document to get anywhere else in the world.
So now I go back to my grocery post office and another person is working. I can tell that she wants to give me the passport and that she feels sorry for me. But she won’t break the rules, in spite of all the other various ID forms that I am showing her. So we organize a truce and she agrees to send the passport back to the US Embassy here. I was able to pick up my shiny new passport yesterday with no problem at all. Today, I had my permanent Swedish residence permit put back into it by the Swedish immigration authorities. And tomorrow, I will get my Swedish ID card. Now I am a valid person and can travel again. Yippee!