Sunday, February 6, 2022

90s Europe Trip - The Bad Passport

My second overseas trip was to Europe.  Many of my friends had already been to or lived in Europe in some form or fashion.  I had heard their stories and was itching to get there myself.  I had several reasons for going:

  1. My main motivation for the trip was to go to Poland and meet the family of my girl friend, Ewa.  I needed to know if I could live in Poland as I was considering marrying her.  Consequently getting exposure to the culture and language was pretty important to me.
  2. I wanted to spend some time with a great friend of mine, Kevin,  in Holland.  I had met him in Texas, and he had been working and living in Holland for close to a year and I wanted to catch up with him.
  3. I had some graphic arts film negatives to deliver to an organization in Austria.  They were translating some Christian discipleship tracts into various eastern European languages and the art work for these tracts was on the film I was delivering.
  4. I wanted to accompany a professor of mine and visit our mutual friend Janis, in his home country, Latvia.  I had worked and gone to school with him in Texas for a while and I wanted to see him in his home country.
The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life;  the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.  Psalm 121:7-8  

Canadian Embassy - Warsaw

My trip lasted from the middle of December 1993 to April 1994.  I spent the Christmas holidays with Ewa's family and had a great time with them.  In the middle of January, we travelled to Warsaw so I could get Visas for my other trips.  At that time I needed Visa's for my stay in Latvia as well as a transit visa for my passage through the Czech Republic to Austria.  However, when I stopped at the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw to ask a question, they examined my passport and asked me (really, they politely confiscated my passport and told me) to get a new one.  It turned out that the lamination on the ID page of my passport was coming off.  

They said passport could look faked because of the delamination and as a result it could get confiscated at a boarder crossing.  Suddenly our time in Warsaw got much busier.  I had to get a new passport photos, a new passport, a new Polish Visa, and then get my Visa's for the other countries - all in a week. This was rather frustrating as it cost extra money and time to do all of this.  

Looking back, I can definitely see that God was looking out for me(!) in getting that passport fixed.  It would have been terrible to ride on a bus for several hours only to be turned away at a border crossing because the main page of my passport was delaminating.  In retrospect, I was also very grateful to have several extra days in my schedule, and Ewa's availability and help as a translator and guide to deal with that situation.

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