I’ve been feeling very anti all things beaurocratical for a while now. Mostly because I don’t exist, but also because it seems people don’t have to think if they have a big enough stack of rules to follow, and people who don’t think annoy me.
It all worked out in the end and I got a temporary passport which I could use for things like getting the job, flying on holiday and getting CRB checked.
While I was being turned down and waiting and working out what to do next, I thought it was a lot of hassle and bother.
I was made to feel lucky, and that I’d “got off easy” by eavesdropping on a story a woman was telling about her experience of dealing with authorities.
This is obviously her story, so I’ve stripped out all the personal details, made up some of my own and embellished it a bit here and there. I found it too moving to ignore completely though.
Once upon a time, there was a pregnant women. Her boyfriend left her when he found out but she continued with the pregnancy regardless.
A little while later, she was invited on a trip to Europe by a group of good friends. She probably shouldn’t have agreed to go, but it seemed like too good an opportunity to give up, and she’d ‘passed’ all the doctor’s tests – both she and the baby were doing well.
The trip started as a success. The weather, the scenery and the company was super and she was enjoying the last few weeks of child-free-ness.
All was fine…
…until it wasn’t.
She became critically ill, was admitted to hospital, and had an emergency cesarean section to prevent the baby getting ill too.
Once she was released from hospital, all she wanted to do was go home and celebrate being a first time mother (and being well enough to enjoy it).
All but one of her friends had had to go home while she was in hospital and were looking forward to seeing the baby. Her parents were waiting to see their grandson and become first-time-grandparents.
As if the holiday hadn’t already had its fair share of adventure, the next couple of weeks would top it off.
Put simply, the baby didn’t have a passport. Flying without passports is generally frowned upon. Passports are only available if you can prove who you are and where you belong. Also, they can take several weeks to produce. Being born in a foreign country is problematic if you don’t live there. It’s even more complex if your family has ever immigrated.
All this meant that the woman not only had to learn to be a mother while completely recovering from her illness and C-section, she also had to face the system to prove that her baby was indeed her own baby, and fight for its rights to have a passport. This involved getting multiple birth certificates sent (and/or translated for the local authorities) from all members of the family for several generations, filling in unending piles of forms and having countless phone calls. Oh yeah, add no money, not understanding the local language, spending hours standing in drafty offices waiting for important people to make decisions and and living in an expensive hotel room with a newborn baby, one of the group-of-friends and a suitcase of holiday clothes into the mix and you have the perfect setting for a chick flick or a soap opera. Except this was real.
I don’t know how the story ended. I had to leave at this point, but I would have loved to find out.
Whatever the outcome, I think the woman deserves a medal!!
Having getting my job and emergency passport all be so comparatively easy made me almost ashamed, and very very grateful.