The Details – San Diego Trip Part I
(( This is a recounting of things I’ve been feeling since I found out I’d be flying to San Diego Tuesday – if you’re not interested in reading it please don’t! It’s gaming related but only on a very basic level ))
Friday January 16th is when I found out about it. An email from Doug (my boss at Beckett) where I’ve been a contributing writer since August of last year asked me if I wanted (and would be able) to head to San Diego in the next ‘few weeks’ to do some on site work. I owe Tipa a huge amount of thanks as she’s the one who got me working for Beckett to begin with. Not a day goes by when I don’t realize how incredibly lucky I have been despite any other hardships that I’ve had to face (we are human, we all have our hardships). Of course I said yes. I knew from the start that I would be foolish if I said anything besides that, even though a million questions and concerns started to swarm through my mind. There was ONE small (huge) issue – and that was I didn’t have my passport at the time. To drive to the US, one would typically not need a passport (YET) though you will need one starting this summer. As of 2007, you need one to fly. I haven’t flown since I was 12 years old and moving back to Canada from Germany and even then it was all done by the military and I was on my parents passports. I did some research online, which said that I could get my passport expedited with proof of travel (and there were various means of ‘proof’ listed) and so I sat tight for the weekend doing pretty much nothing because – I didn’t just need a passport. Newp. That would be too easy. I needed to get my birth certificate first. Government offices are closed on the weekends too, which put a wait on things.
Now why (might you ask) would I not already have my birth certificate? I did at one point in time, when I was 16. I have other means of proving that I’m Canadian but for a passport it has to be that very specific piece of ID (if you’re born in Canada) and nothing else. I moved around a lot growing up, and I assume I lost it some where in Nova Scotia when I was 16 because I haven’t had it since. Filling out forms online I had to be as specific as I could, my weight at birth, the name of the doctor and the hospital just a few of the questions I had to answer. I’m sure my parents absolutely loved me last week as I frantically called them trying to get information. The birth certificate arrived quickly (and earlier then I thought) which was fantastic. I had it by Wednesday. Thursday I was told that SOE could not book my flights without my passport number. I couldn’t get my passport though without proof of flight. Panic set in. I spent Thursday running around doing everything one needs to do to get a passport. I have no idea if it’s the same everywhere else, but here in Canada you need some very specific things. You need a specific picture taken and there’s a lot of rules that go along with it, including two of the exact same picture, and stamped by an official place and then signed by a guarantor that you also need to sign all these forms that go along with the process. You need two other people aside from the guarantor who have known you for a number of years to sign the forms. You need lots of ID, and you have to fill everything out properly (and even print it out properly) or the passport office won’t accept it.
I got up at 6am and headed to Gatineau Quebec at 7am to be at the office for when it opened at 8:30 on the nose Friday February 23rd. I had all of my papers in hand, and I was nervous because now that I finally had all of these forms together, I had to convince someone behind the counter that I needed the passport yesterday, and that I couldn’t afford to wait too long or I’d miss out on this trip all together. Papers in hand, the lady behind the counter told me that the soonest they could have it done by would be Wednesday January 28th at 10am.
What happened to the 24h expedited thing that I read about on their web site?
Well, apparently that’s still there, but what the web site fails to mention is that you need to be traveling within 24h in order to get it that quickly. Other wise it could be as much as a 5 day wait. I was crushed. I figured right then and there that I’d be unable to go, because there was no way for SOE to book tickets without my number, and no way for me to get my number before Wednesday. It meant another (now second) weekend of waiting around impatiently wondering whether I would be going on this trip or not. Phone interviews were talked about and I resigned myself to the fact that I’d not be going. It wasn’t the end of the world, other opportunities would come up, and I’d still make sure to get my job done. There’s really nothing more you can do in a situation like that. I tried not to let it bother me. Up again early on Wednesday to go pick up the passport, because of course Ottawa was about to receive 25cm of snow, and there’s relatively little parking over by the building I needed. I wandered around the mall that’s attached and had some breakfast. Up to the office and had my passport in hand in less then 5 minutes. $200 later.
I practically flew home. Emailed the information that was required and within a few hours, I was told the news that I’d be going on Tuesday (where we’re also expecting another 10cm of snow here but I am NOT THINKING about that right now). Shew. I have been through so many emotions in the last two weeks, it’s a wonder I have anything left. For those who are curious this is a completely new realm to me, I have never done on site interviews before, I have not managed to make it to Fan Faire (this year will more then likely be my first) and I am nervous to say the least. It’s one of those ‘good excited’ nervous feelings though, and not quite so overwhelming. Yet.
Feelings and what happens next coming along in the next post!