Last week my husband and I pulled out our passports -- I'm embarrassed to report that both had expired in 2003. It's one of those things we kept meaning to do -- then new job, new house, new baby, another job, another house, another baby, more jobs, yet another house, and here we are seven years later without having needed a passport.
Just hours after I'd been inspecting my passport photo (hello, 1993 -- how's that curling iron working for you?), I read this post by fellow Triangle blogger Fadra. And given that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (right?), I decided to write my own version.
So, of course, we must start with the photo page. When I showed a friend this picture, she guessed that 6 out 10 current friends would not have recognized this as me. I'm going to take that as a compliment about how current and hip and trendy I look now. And yes, in fact, I did think I had beautiful Brook Shields eyebrows back then, thankyouverymuch.
Sadly, it turns out that my passport never got stamped in many of the countries I visited -- no markings from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland or one of the trips I made to France. But there are three stamps that hold the greatest significance for me.
That trip was probably the boldest decision I made in college -- spending the summer overseas without any friends or family. Thankfully, I made a great friend on that trip who joined me on Eurail after our course was over -- and who is still one of my dearest friends today. Anyone who can survive that kind of travel with me -- and deal with my homesickness -- is a friend forever.
I left Hurricane Floyd behind at the Greensboro airport, but I was my own personal disaster for the next few weeks while I tried to get my feet on the ground. For one year, I studied magazine journalism at Cardiff University -- and traveling around Europe whenever I had the chance -- while I proved to myself that I could not only survive, but even thrive away from the comforts and familiar faces of home.
This little stamp from Charles de Gaulle airport marks the day before my husband pulled a sparkling diamond ring from his pocket as he knelt in front of me on the Pont Neuf in Paris. It's the only overseas trip we've taken together -- so far.
Here's hoping that over the next 10 years our new passports will be filled with matching stamps as happy reminders of shared experiences.