Monday 9 February 2009

Biometrically yours

It seems I'm not the only one who's been having trouble with the Identity Card for Foreign Nationals. After splashing out for "premium service" so I wouldn't have to mail in my passport, I still had to send the damn thing to Bristol because of an error on the card they sent me. Fortunately—due to the media coverage, I'm wondering?—my passport was returned safely within the week, and this with all of England practically shut down from the snow. "We haven't had snow like this in 18 years! You can't expect us to remember how to use plows!"

At least the UK Border Agency had the manners to include with my passport an almost apologetic letter: "We are currently investigating how your nationality was entered incorrectly onto your card, so that we can take steps to ensure this does not happen again." Given the threat in earlier correspondence that the onus was on me to correct any mistakes, on punishment of paying another 600 pounds, this was groveling. Anyway, it is extremely comforting to have my well-traveled little passport back at home. The old girl certainly gets around.

Still, I have to keep my complaints to a minimum: This weekend I read, in one spellbound sitting, Mende Nazer's memoir, Slave. Check it out if you can, it's amazing. I read a good part of it aloud to my husband at the kitchen table (a pastime I highly recommend—it's like homemade radio). We were enrapt. Afterwards, to my husband's visible relief, I vowed to quit—well, tone down—my bitching in re: my own petty complaints about being an expat; it's not as if I'm seeking asylum. Perspective is always a handy thing to have. Also, a passport.

Photo © Robin Gillett

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