Friday, July 11, 2008

Passports and Jerk Chicken

I must confess I felt a little annoyed when Kathy nudged me and said, “Okay, it’s our turn.” We were sitting in a Passport Canada office and I had just nicely started into the introduction of a book I’d brought along to read while we waited to be called to the counter.

In the past, we’ve been accustomed to 2-3 hour waits in the Passport office (we go there instead of mailing in the applications because we’re down in Toronto anyway, and it cuts the return time in half). So I decided to bring along something to pass the time at least somewhat profitably. If I’d had some guarantee of being able to have access to an electrical outlet while we waited, I’d have brought my laptop to work on. But since that wasn’t possible, I took a good book instead.

What I hadn’t counted on was how very quickly our turn would come! We had actually chosen the government office in Brampton instead of the one we usually go to in Toronto (North York) in hopes of having less wait time, but this was unbelievable! We’d barely been sitting down for five minutes! However, another ten minutes and a swipe of the credit card later, we were on our way again. Wow! Now that’s service! And from a government office at that!

Some people told us that we should have submitted our applications much earlier. They said that because of the new regulations requiring a passport for entry into the USA, more people were applying than usual and there would be a bigger delay. The lady at the Passport Canada counter disagreed. “Things are moving right along,” she said. “You should have your passports in two weeks max.” Go figure!

To celebrate our success, we decided to go to a small West Indian restaurant nearby for lunch (the Passport Canada lady recommended it). Kathy ordered roti, but I decided I wanted something a little spicier: Jamaican jerk chicken. As we sat at the table in a small room, surrounded by colourfully painted walls and other customers from the West Indies, listening to loud reggae music playing in the background, and watching a Jamaican soap opera on the overhead television, I was almost instantly transported back to Africa. The sights, sounds, and smells of the place reminded me so much of some of the small restos and canteens we’d eaten at in Ghana.

The only things missing were the heat, the humidity, some flies, and a few chicken bones on the floor. Oh well, one step at a time. I’m sure the Lord could have arranged it, but I guess He didn’t want to overwhelm us all at once! We’ll probably get the heat, the humidity, and perhaps even the flies before our departure, but the chicken bones will likely have to wait until we actually get back to Africa. Funny how you can miss stuff like this, eh? But after three winters in Canada and numerous meals at restaurants that are all beginning to look and taste the same, we're ready for something different!

Hope you'll follow us on this blog as we go back to Burkina. It's a whole different world over there and we'll share it with you all as much as we can. So stay tuned!

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