Monday, July 27, 2009

Well Executed Plan

This is a rather long post...but remember this blog exists as a family journal and this will all be interesting to us as a family in a decade or two. ::snort:: The rest of you are welcome to skip it.

We rock.

The kids were up and dressed. The suitcases were loaded back into the van and we were at Burger King for breakfast at 6:30 a.m.

We headed to the MPF and were waiting when Sgt arrived. I honestly think he was hoping I'd go away until I wasn't his responsibility. I left repeated messages last week that I'd be at his office Monday a.m. He wasn't real excited to see me that early....

"Maaaa'am, I don't have your passports!"

I reminded him that I was bringing him Stacia's birth certificate and was here to pick up the duplicate copies for the rest of us.


It turns out he is moving sections and had passed us off to a Sgt. Brooks, a Christian brother who endeared himself to the kids and I earlier in the month. Sgt. Brooks, however, was on leave. SO..... He gave me the copies of the birth certificates. I asked for a DSN number so that Mike can call them with the address to send our military passports.

He stopped, looked at me, frowned and said, "So, you're going to go ahead and get a tourist passport instead of waiting?"

I told him I was headed to the appointment. I had not MENTIONED Misawa, when he said, "Well, if that's what MISAWA wants you to do, then you'd better do it." ::snort:: I think he had heard from someone that there was more than one official way to handle the situation.

We weren't sure about traffic and so we headed into the Federal Building directly from the MPF. We arrived at 9:00 a.m. Krista stayed with the van and luggage while the rest of us went in to get the lay of the land. We'd been told NOT to show up more than 15 min early, but I wanted to be sure we knew where things were. By the time we found the building several needed the rest room. We passed security and they directed us to the 9th floor for passports. The line was long. As I waited outside the restroom one of the ladies told me to go ahead and check in even though we were 1 1/2 hours early. It turns out the computer had hiccuped...I was told my appt was at 10:30, but the Processing Center had it down as 9:00. Oh well. I apologized and they said it was fine, I was on time. It took a long time for them to work through 6 applications. Everyone in the room knew the story by the time we were done. Some of them remembered us and the kids were sort of obvious saying, "Ohio gozaimas" to everyone that walked by. ::snort::

I about threw up when she motioned me up and said we had a problem with MY passport. It appears that my AK driver's license had a different name on it than the passport application. Huh? Yep...AK uses your maiden name on your driver's license... De'Etta T Goecker. I explained. I showed her my military id...she'd have none of it. She had my birth certificate, my marriage license and still she and the supervisor decided the passport must match my driver's license. I must remember to show my driver's license and not military id when I travel on the tourist passport, as it will match the AK driver's license. At that point, I was ready to fly as Charlie Brown if that is what they wanted.

She called me back again and said they couldn't release the passports to a p.o. box.... She needed my permanent mailing address. I explained that this WAS my permanent address. That the only address I was given was an APO. I suggested I could use a stateside one if they wanted. She said, "You mean a relative?" That won't work at all. Back to the supervisor who decided that they would accept the APO address. This was causing quite a bit of drama relief for the full waiting room.

I confessed to her that we had applied for military passports but that we wanted to fly NOW on tourist passports. She said, "Honey, that is perfectly o.k. We understand your situation." I felt better as I didn't want to be doing anything sneaky.....there were signs everywhere that said that could result in 20 years in prison. ::snort::

The moment came when we all stood in front of the window, raised our right hands and swore that we didn't lie on our applications.....WAIT...she stopped mid-swear and said, "Right hand young man!"

Zander fixed the problem by raising both hands and enthusiastically yelling, "I DO!" Ah, the friendly chuckles and smiles from our fellow travelers.....

She made my day when she wished us a wonderful assignment in Misawa and said we deserved it. I'm not sure we deserve any of the blessings a loving Father showers on us, but I appreciated the concern. Our passports can be picked up Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. I wanted them TODAY....but no one was getting them that quickly and I heard several being told they'd have a week's wait.

We fought the traffic again. Did you know that if you are mildly claustrophobic driving in bumper to bumper, rush hour traffic is a bit challenging? I told the kids it was more practice for Tokyo....except we'll all drive on the other side of the road in Tokyo.

We arrived at the hotel before check in time. I asked if we could store the luggage and go get some lunch. Irony - the receptionist told me, "leave the bags there, they'll be fine."

I struggled with my concern, and finally told her that I was the lady whose luggage, van and documents were stolen on the 5th and I was nervous leaving our luggage in the doorway of the hotel. ::snort:: She ran right over to help us move it to the sales' office. She also told me she'd been praying for me and that she'd try to have our room ready a couple of hours early. God takes care of us so well.

We had lunch and then said goodbye to Krista.

Some have asked how I'm REALLY doing? Am I really this strong? No, I'm not. God, who sustains me, IS. The secret is (and I shared this on Facebook) it is quite possible to be confident and terrified at the same time. Remember, going into labor for the first time after graduating from Lamaze classes? I didn't realize how stressed I was until I was talking to Mike last night and mentioned that I hadn't been able to eat Saturday or Sunday. I ate lunch today. Knowing that the passports are on the way, is a great stress reliever....I'm nervous about the next phase...but this is almost over...and God is breaking fear in my life...which is very good. This is simply a time when I HAVE to go through the fear, through the experience that is outside of my comfort zone to arrive where I know I'm supposed to be. I'm fairly certain several readers can relate.

Who knows? Maybe I'm about to become a world traveler for Jesus. ::Snort:: Flying isn't worrying me, customs isn't worrying's the language difference in Tokyo that has me concerned....I'm a bit worried I'll get us on a shuttle away from Misawa and end up in Okinawa. ::snort:: But Shhhhhh......don't tell the kids this...they have complete confidence in me. ::snort::

I need to go buy a USB cord so that I can load photos....not sure how I lost mine and the reader on the laptop has stopped working.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

~ Coram Deo ~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh De'Etta,

You ROCK! Okay, I know, all glory to God, but huge pats on the back for you, too.

We were down near McChord yesterday, through Tukwila and Seattle traffic in this blazing heat... (I know, I know, for Washington this is a heat-wave!) and I was thinking of you all.

Praying for you.


DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

This IS a heat wave. ::snort:: I'm so glad to be back in a bldg with air conditioning... anything over mid-90's isn't fun without an AC....

Kim said...

I am planning to meet you when you come out of baggage claim and customs! Also, at the airport, they will speak enough English to get you that far, so please don't worry!!! You know the Custom's routine - just answer questions, don't volunteer info.

Kristine said...

1. You all DO rock!!

2. Zander is now married to the passport lady!!

3. Just to further encourage you, God showed up in the hotel receptionist. :D

Whew! It sounds like a VERY good day.

Darshia said...

Wow! What a blessing to have things moving along.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Kim, really? You know I'm staying at the Radison, I think and that is near Narita...but I'd love to see a friendly face and hug on Jun. Seeing you would be a big positive of being delayed so many weeks. ::snort::

Laura said...

Loved the story about Zander. :) So happy for you all that you will soon be together with Mike in Japan. What a journey this has been...

Anonymous said...


Now for a couple of days of rest, play, mall walking and the likes.

At least 100 here today and no air-con. Would love to get one but it is only a short time of real heat here. Suppose to be 104 tomorrow. Good time to go to the mall and a movie.

Love you all and PTL over and over again for each and every little and big thing the Lord is doing for you all.

love/prayers Mom T

Kim said...

YES! Ryu said "GO take care of them!" So, I am GOING to take care of you! I will meet you at the airport, help you all get to the Radisson by shuttle bus, and get you settled in the hotel. I'll probably stay at a hotel near you, and will get you to Haneda the next morning! Did they change the early flight for you yet?

Yvonne said...

Confident and terrified - yep it's definitely possible. Been there/done that.

I'm excited that things are finally coming together, De'Etta. I'm praying.

I've been reading at Bloglines, but don't often have time to post. Know that I think about and pray for you often.


Lois said...

What fun for you all in the passport place. Don't you love bureaucracy? I'm so glad they had your appointment wrong, and that all the kids did fine waiting. I kept imagining Krista out guarding the van in full riot gear, her M16 in the ready position, her booming voice, "Step away from the vehicle!" What a hoot.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Oh, Kim...WOW...more than I would have asked. This is sounding like a grand adventure again if I don't have to worry about ending up in Okinawa. ::snort::

Tell Ryu THANK YOU! I had hoped to change dates, but they won't change the flight to Thursday so Fri it is ... they did change the time we have to fly from Handeda to 1:20 or 1:00 something. I'll have to check. I'm content...and happy at the thought of seeing you after all these years.

Janette said...

God provides. Even through the stress- God provides. Prayers continuing from Kansas

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Ah, Lois...what a great mental picture. ::snort::

Yes, God always provides!

berrypatch said...

YEAH! I'm so glad to be reading that everything seems to be falling in to place for you & yours. We serve a wonderful loving God! I know that there will be much rejoicing when you are all safe & sound in Japan! ;-)