Friday, February 25, 2011

Being a Global citizen while renewing my Dutch passport

Wow, time flew out the window so quickly and now I have renewed my Dutch passport (they are renewed every 5 years). It’s actually still valid until August 2011 but when traveling outside of Europe, which is the case for me next week, a passport must be valid 6 months before expiry. Pretty soon, I will be renewing my Dutch Driver's License (they are renewed every 10 years).

I asked to keep my old passport because it’s my first Dutch passport and I thought it’s cool to keep it while I think it’s cool. I am not the most sentimental of all people. I don’t write letters, I am not good with emails, I don’t keep personal things of others and myself. I’ll simply lose them in the process. I’m not attached to things and I just know one day when I am cleaning the house, I will be throwing away all old passports that are just gathering dust. So I’ll keep it for now together with my old cut Philippine passports while I think it’s cool.

Besides, I see myself differently nowadays... I see myself beyond passports, beyond citizenships, beyond races and beyond borders. Of course I can relate to being Dutch and I know I am Filipino, but above all these, I see myself as ME, a Global citizen of this place we call earth. And this might seem strange to other people but I can honestly identify myself more as a Global citizen than as a Filipino or Dutch.

Perhaps this is what travelling does to people. It makes you see things beyond the fence you have built (or others have built) around you. It opens your eyes to a much wider and bigger perspective. It shows you what life is all about, that really, we are all one and the same.

Renewing passports in Utrecht is pretty much straightforward. I went there on a Thursday night when the gemeente is open until 9PM. There is a foto van outside which is very handy. A foto set costs 10 Euros. Everything went fast, in 30 minutes (the foto shoot + waiting + actual renewing and paying), I was done. New passport costs 52 Euros and it takes 1 week to process.

Picking up was much easier and faster, I was done in 2 minutes!

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