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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Around the world in 14 days

It has been so long since I have posted on the blog.  It is not for lack of material.  However, this week I really felt compelled to update.

First, my adventure with passports.  Even though we have now been living here almost 4 years, I recently had a goof-up with my passport because I had read the date of expiration 8-3-2016 as August, 3, 2016.  Rookie mistake, but I made it. In Israel (like Europe) the system is day-month-year so that was actually March 8, 2016. I was headed to the U.S. for work on March 6th and asked Michael if he would mind checking me in early. I casually handed him my passport and he suddenly asked "Did you know your passport expires in a few days?"
WHAT?!
So, I threw my stuff in a bag, made a mad dash to the airport, and arrived at the branch of the Ministry of the Interior that is located in the airport for such occurrences. I was prepared for a fight.  Fortunately, the woman behind the desk, Orna, was quite lovely. She told me getting out was no problem as I still had a couple of days on the passport and since I had no other stops I could just use my U.S. passport when I landed. She told me to have the airline call her if there were any issues and to just renew it when I returned. Sure enough when I went to check in they became concerned about the passport. I told them to call the Misrad Hapnim.
Check in attendant on phone: "Hi, we have a, OK" and hangs up.
Literally it was a 10- second conversation where Orna must have just answered with "I know. hakol b'seder".
Anyway, now I know for the future but I would not recommend trying this at home as your host country may have different rules depending on where in the world you are reading this from.  America will not let you out if your passport is not at least 6 months from expiration, so I am told.

Speaking of travel around the world.
N is becoming Bar Mitzvah this month and we sent invitations to friends and family to join us in the celebration (we have reports that the US Postal service has not kept up its end of the bargain and delivered everyone their invitation.  Let us know, and we will send extras back with our moms.  Forgive us for not re-sending through the Israel Post, which is a very effective way of sending invitations for events happening 12 years after the time of sending.)  Locally, I hand-delivered invitations (to make sure they arrived before Nehemiah's 25th birthday).  I was working in the U.S. last month so I brought the U.S. invitations with and mailed them via the U.S. Post office.  Not even two weeks later, an envelope that apparently had the wrong zip code (sorry Mindy!), was sitting in my mailbox in Modiin.  I have had friends send cards that took 4 months to arrive.  I've had friends tell me they didn't receive cards I sent to them.  Others have received them within the week.  Can't seem to locate a pattern, but I was really shocked that with just a return label and a U.S. postal stamp that little envelope went from KS to NY and arrived in Modiin faster than if I had mailed it directly.

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