Lost and found - Accounts of Ankara
  I'm sitting across from my Rotary President, silently watching the smoke from his cigarette float past the holographic Atatürk calendar when he laughs and says to himself, "I think I will call the White House: Obama, we have a problem."  When these words come out of his mouth in a distinctly Turkish accent, which always sounds slightly British, I realize this is my cue to laugh.  Instead I manage some kind of half snort followed by a  half cough on the sugar cubes I've been eating for the past hour like popcorn to calm my nerves. 
   Three hours ago, I lost my passport and now, sitting in this cramped office located in a maze of some kind of parking garage in the middle of a city of 4.4 million people - contacting the President of the United States doesn't seem like that bad of an idea.  
    Of course, I don't share this though because the rotund man sitting in front of me with red plastic glasses and matching red sweater doesn't seem like he was  in the mood to hear that kind of thing.  So, naturally, I ate another sugar cube instead.  

  The order of events went something like this:  after dumping out my backpack and all of my luggage bags, checking the pockets of every article of clothing I own, looking under my bed, the couches, in drawers, and in the trash can - I was escorted to this office and asked to recall every place I had been since my arrival in Turkey.  This ranged from the bathroom of the Burger King on 7th Street all the way to the largest mall in the whole city - AnkaMall, which has a whopping 5 floors and is 176000 square feet.  After 2 more hours of phone calls, the passport's location was still undetermined, but it was determined that if I didn't find it, I would be sent home within the next three days.  This was because I still needed to apply for my residency permit and if I didn't have a passport, I didn't have a permit, and if I didn't have a permit - I would be an illegal alien.   In the meantime,  I went down to the police station with my Rotarians to cancel my missing passport so that no criminal behavior would be recorded with my identity attached to it.  
  However, there was one solution that would allow me not to be deported from the country: I could schedule an appointment with the US Embassy that next week and have another passport printed for me.  The only problem was that in order to get a new passport, I needed the original copies of my birth certificate, social security card, and driver's license that were thousands of miles away sent to me in two to three days.   

  The end of this story goes something like this: when I returned home on Sunday I found my passport sitting on my bed.  One of the restraunts called back the day after I canceled the passport to say they had found it.  The next day, I went to the police station with my Rotarians, changed the passports status to "legal," and got an appointment for the 16th of November to receive my residency permit.  

  That was probably the most stressful weekend I've had in a while.  However, it taught me how important it is to keep your cool during situations like these - crack a joke, smile every once in a while because you're not the only one who's stressed out.  It taught me that I shouldn't carry my passport on my person.  It taught me how important it is to me to be here right now and how I would be failing myself, my family, my country, and Rotary if I went back home right now. 
  But most importantly it taught me that  If it weren't for the support and help of my Rotarians and my family along with a little dash of luck - I wouldn't be typing this right now.  I'd be on a plane flying home. 

So, thank you.   


10/19/2011 03:04:09

Love you Gaia. You handled this very well.

Stay safe... scary news about Turkey's incursion into Iraq. Please keep us posted on developments and any Rotary responses.


10/19/2011 10:16:33

Yes, this is another good post (although you may want to check the spelling of restaurant (as written, it reads "restraint" - you know, a object used to hold someone or something back).

Although maybe this was Freudian. I don't know.

We love you. And I echo your dad - please keep us posted on what is happening with the Iraqi invasion.

10/23/2011 14:29:23

I just wanted to feel cool and leave a comment. I miss you!

That's pretty much it.

11/1/2011 23:50:18

It sounds like quite an ordeal and a relief to have it all done and with a good outcome. You write very well.


Leave a Reply.