Thursday, October 27, 2011
The mail brings amazing things.
That's why I was thrilled this evening when I opened my mailbox and saw a packet that I instinctively knew contained my brand new U.S. passport.
It arrived 12 days after I applied for it, well ahead of the expected mid-November date. Yay for the travel off-season, our good friends at the U.S. Department of State and quick delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.
For years, I traveled on a Nigerian passport to Kenya, Poland and other countries in between. As a U.S. permanent resident, I had no trouble leaving or entering America. I also had no problems getting into most places. The issue sometimes came if it was a country that didn't have friendly relations with Nigeria. Boy, did they like to give Nigerians a hard time.
As a result, when I took overseas trips, I dressed in such a way that I could pass for a teenager in hopes that I would be left in peace as I came through that country's passport control.
A perk of becoming a naturalized American is getting the U.S. passport. Native-born Americans may not understand the gravity of this. Until now, I had to apply for expensive visas and fill out **ridiculous** amounts of paperwork (which I did gladly). I also had to get friends in those countries to vouch for me that I was not a terrorist, crazy, etc.
An American passport is like gold. You can literally walk into just about anywhere on the globe. No hassles.
I can't wait to use my passport on my next overseas trip. Who knows? I may just do a happy dance through that country's passport control.
World, here I come!