19 July 2006

Looking Back...

About a year ago (probably a year ago yesterday or so), I was traveling in Argentina and lost my passport. I was in a job that was completely stressing me out, wasn't happy at how things were going in general in my life, and was extremely high strung. Losing my passport was something I could normally handle ok, but at that point in time, it caused me to just snap.

I had flown back from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, and know I had my passport at that point. My assumption is that it either fell out of my pocket on the plane or in the cab on the way back to the hostel (I had already had a long morning, which included leaving my jacket in my hostel room in Mendoza, and having to jump in a cab, get back to the hostel and back to the airport before my flight left...the jacket was my brother's). At some point a day or two later, I thought to myself that I probably shouldn't be carrying around both my passport and license, just in case I lost my purse.

Back at the hostel, I reached into my purse to hide my passport in my suitcase. My passport wasn't there! Deep breath, ok, maybe I already hid it in my suitcase. Nope, not there either. Still not quite panicking, I went through all my pockets. Then through my purse again, and through another bag I had. When I couldn't find it in any of those, my blood pressure shot through the roof and I started freaking out. Re-searched through everything, separated all my clothes and belongings throughout my room (thankfully, it was a single), looked over everything in my room. When I realized it was gone, I freaked out.

The nice people at the embassy were very patient with me, although through the crying I don't know how they understood a word I said. My family sure didn't when I called them, and when they tried to calm me down, I freaked out further. How stupid was I? I am an experienced traveler, how could I let this happen? My passport, the lone souvenier of all my travels, was gone. Why didn't I check earlier? It was now Friday night, the embassy was closed over the weekend and my flight home was on Sunday. It would only take a day to get a new one, so I could leave Monday night, but what would that cost me? Would I get in trouble at work? I held it together enough to organize my flights, arrange my hostel, etc. I tried to find the friend I was supposed to meet at the opera (and even now, a year later, I have no way of getting in touch with her and owe her 20$), running all around Buenos Aires and coming up empty. The poor lady at my hostel tried so hard to help; I was a mess.

I got home in one piece, but it really showed me how tightly wound I was. And was the first hint that I was really unhappy with things. I mean, I was gone for two weeks and never felt like I was away from work, I remained stressed the whole time about projects I had going on. I am still sad about my lost passport stamps...my new one is completely empty (they issue you an emergency one, then when you get home you have to get a new real one. At least my emergency one has a stamp). I wonder if someone is using mine. I didn't get to go to Uruguay because the day I was planning to go, I had no passport.

Looking back, I am in a totally different place than I was a year ago. I am not as stressy about work (although I am pretty new...maybe I'll be more like that next year, but I sure hope not!), I feel like I am in a better place in my life. Some things have gone on this summer that weren't the best, but I am handling it much better than I would have in the past. Life is in no way perfect, but it is better. And I have a new passport burning a hole in my pocket, asking me to take it SOMEWHERE!!

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