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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Passport Photos: Me and My Fat Head

Passports-stampsIt’s been five years and the girls need new Russian passports. Been there, done that with the boys. Happily, with the 10-year variety, now they’ll all be in their 20s when they need to renew again.

Benedetto was going to be the parental co-signer, so we listed his name on the electronic form submitted in Russian online. Problem is, we discover that his passport has expired.

So we proceed to find my passport… and discover it’s missing.


I always carry my passport with me. It’s a holdover from the past when uspassportrenewalsI could be whisked away, or whisk myself away, at any given moment. Apparently now there were egg-beaters in place of my whisk….

It was not in my wallet. It was not in small, zip folders that I carry for foreign currency. It was not in old purses.   Not in carry-on bags. Not in piles of stuff here or there.

Poof! The passport was gone. Everyone else’s was stacked together. Mine was missing.

Great. With another two years left till it was due to expire, we talked it over and decided that maybe it was time to get all of us on the same time schedule in terms of when our passports would run out.

passport blog photoThe girls headed with their father to the local drugstore to have passport photos taken in the corner. This was de rigeur. Theirs turned out fine.

The next day Benedetto and I redo the trek for our own photos. Pretty embarrassing to have a worker coming closer, and farther, and closer, and farther to take the photo against a pull-down screen as people are walking by with pharmacy items.

I was glad it was in the corner of the store.

We get into the car to go home, and I take a good look at the photos.

“We used to be young and cute,” I murmur. “What happened?”

It begins to dawn on me in the car that my head in the photo is significantly larger than Benedetto’s head in his photo. I try passport_photos_outlineto calm myself and wait until we get home. Comparing my photo with the girls’, sure enough, my head is about double the size of theirs.

I google the passport photo size regulations. Technically, if we fudged a little, my photo would fit the regulations and theirs would be too small in the head size. Here’s hoping that the Russkies don’t notice.

But all I care about now is shrinking my head. That’s right: I’m aiming for a shrunken head on my two photos in the cardboard folder from the drugstore.

“I have to go back,” I tell my husband.

“What? For what?” he asks.

monkey-backup-passport“To get rid of this BIG. FAT. HEAD. That’s what!” comes my mature reply. “Do I want to look like this for the next ten years? All around the world?”

Back I go. Even the manager agrees when I spread our family’s photos before him that I have one big. fat. head.

“No problem,” he says. “No problem, we take it again,” he smiles.

I love him.

He pockets my old photos and I urge him to see to it that they’re destroyed. He gives them back to me and tells me to keep them.

I doubly love him.

A technician/ clerk/ stock boy for all I know comes to take my picture. I think he speaks Amharic and it concerns me whenIMG_0675  he stands halfway across the store to snap the pic. He shows me the photo: whereas before, I had no shoulders, only a big head and neck, now this is almost a full-length photo.

“Okay?” he asks.

“Uhhh… I don’t need the body, just the head and shoulders….”

Benedetto has wandered off and is now perusing gadgets. The clerk-cum-camera-man tries to tell me that he can crop it on the computer, which he tries to do, but then I’m blurry. What’s scary is that I can’t even tell that I’m blurry. I’m glad he can tell.

So he tells me, and off we go, back to the corner where I pose again. Straight forward, no smile, hair wild and crazy on a hot-and-humid day.

This one turns out better. Much, much better.

The good news, my friends: fat heads can be fixed. You heard it here first.


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