It was last Monday when I was coming up from my basement that I realized that I was going to Sierra Leone. The previous week had been a crazy scramble of uncertainty. My passport spent most of the week in Washington acquiring a visa for my trip. It went to the Sierra Leonean Embassy with all the proper bits of paper and certificates and return envelope. I called daily hoping reach someone. On Friday while I was in New Haven talking about the trip I finally reached someone at the Embassy. Once I had gotten over my surprised, I began to understand that my passport had arrived, but that it had not left the Embassy. “Did you send an envelope?” they asked. “Yes,” I said keeping my cool. “We will send if today.” Kindly they called me later to confirm that the letter had gone and I could expect the letter on Saturday. But it was not to be so. I tracked the letter and found it “guaranteed” to reach my house by 3pm Monday. My flight was at 6pm. Over the weekend, I packed my stuff out of the apartment and with the help of my housemates filled to the brim the storage unit in the basement. Time was set-aside for a nice dinner with my co-workers on Sunday. Monday came and I still had no passport. I went to Cambridge to sign a lease on a new apartment and after some breakfast went home to finish up packing. Zack and I were working on my last things. I had been checking the mailbox all day. The very real possibility existed that I wouldn’t get back my passport in time, but as it happen, it appeared at 2:20pm.
I told Zack, “I feel like when spring comes I’m hurled like a fireball to some new part of the world.” Last summer, the toss took me from San Diego and, with a bounce in Boston, deposited me in Kenya. And this summer, I’ve been lobbed and landed in Freetown, Sierra Leone.