I've been missing home just a little bit in recent weeks. Maybe that's what prompted me to leave work early yesterday, brave the driving wind and rain and make my way into the city to apply for a new passport. That, and the fact that my current one will be out of date soon! I was bold and skipped off work early. It was lovely to get away before everyone else and miss the rush hour traffic and crowds.
I found the Irish Consulate pretty easily, and immediately upon walking into the tiny office I felt like I was at home. A sat in a cozy armchair as I waited to be served. On the floor, there was a bundle of the Irish Times with familiar faces like Enda Kenny and Bertie winking back at me. I browsed through a Bord Failte brochure and firmly resolved to be more of a tourist in my own land when I return.
A soft Midland's accent rose me from my little reverie. The girl I dealt with was called....what else?......Mary! She was so friendly in that easy going way that I have almost forgetten Irish people to have. In my job here, I deal with quite a lot of sugar-coated receptionists and forceful demanding medical professionals. Mary was just so warm and welcoming. She even let me have the Times with Bertie on the cover.
So, pleasantries out of the way and me having quelled my almost irrestible urge to give Mary a hug, we set about the business of hooking me up with some new travel documents. Mary threw her eye over my application form. Happy enough. Then, I handed her my photos which caused her to purse her lips at me.
"Oh no.", shaking her head. "Those won't do now at all. You're too small". Seriously, Mary was just ASKING for a bearhug. "Well, that's always good to hear", says I with a little titter. Mary beamed a big Athlone grin at me before dispatching me down the street to a little Chinese man who sorted me out with 8 photos of me looking fairly enormous. Apparently, 70% of the photo had to be my head.
I preferred the one where I looked small.
Anyway, back I went, forked out $145 for a new passport and told them I'd be in to collect it in a few weeks. I really wanted to sit and hang out there for a while and just read the paper and listen to Mary's lilting tones, but I'd have looked like a weirdo, so off i trotted, umbrella in hand back out into the rain and the wind, feeling a little warmer than I was when I came in, and a little closer to home.