I'm on my DFW-Frankfurt flight, and I have everything together, I mean, things are going ALARMINGLY smooth. The only real hitch in the amazing plan of awesome was that a baby sat in front of me and was wailing like I've never heard before. This bothered me a bit, but I had my iPod, and the kid was cute, so I chose to not let it get to me too much. Then it happened. I have this little folder with my passport, credit cards, euros, everything. It was one of those little "For convenience" things, and I had it clipped to the inside of my oh-so-cute messenger bag. I did not zip said bag up, just threw the flap down over it and proceeded to get into the massive crush of people in the airport. 15 minutes later I reach for my passport...
And it's gone.
So I sat in line forever at the Lufthansa counter to see what they could do (oh how the Germans love a line!) and after 2 hours of me flipping my lid, they finally referred me to the police station in the airport. Their first reaction was "Check the lost and found." But here's the catch: I couldn't get to the lost and found because it was behind a checkpoint for passports...BUT MY PASSPORT COULD HAVE BEEN IN THE LOST AND FOUND! At last, after 3 hours at the airport, a nice stewardess went and checked, and no, it was not there. So the next hurdle to tackle was how to get me a photo ID when I had none, because with a photo ID, I can get a 3 day emergency passport, which would mean I could go on to Berlin and straighten everything out there.
I called mom and dad (thank you German cops for letting me use your phone!) and woke them up, and asked them to send in any document they could via fax. While the circus was going on in the states, I just had to wait...in an airport police station, without any money.
You all who know me know that I sometimes become chatty when I'm psychotic, so I got to know those around me. The cop in charge of my case spoke Spanish, didn't smoke, and was rather tired of handling people in general. There was also a criminally pretty Brazillian girl who sat down next to me. She being of approximately my age, I engaged her in a conversation of me saying words that sounded spanish and her smiling and responding with "what the hell is this nut job talking about" in Portugese. Here's the kicker with her: 15 minutes later they hauled her to interrogation, Maria Full of Grace style, and then barked at me "DO YOU KNOW ZHIs WOMAN?!?!" I knew where THIS was going and immediately said "NO! We were just chatting." Open the baby book, people, Kate saw her first drug mule (awwwwww...so cute).
Then there was a greasy lebanese man who kept asking for my phone, which I refused, and his behavior began to make sense when 6 burly Swedish cops showed up to be his "escorts" back to Morlo or wherever. Apparently this young man was wanted-- EXTREMELY SO-- for some shadiness. This, however, gave me chance to speak to burly swedes, who speak my language and found it cute that I tried to speak some of theirs. They also probably found it strange that an American girl was so enamored with their language that she would interrupt the distribution of their snuss to ask "errrr...du are Dansk?"
I eventually spent 9 hours in the police station, enough time to get to know 2 shifts of police pretty well. We were tight so to say. Thankfully, the US Consul general put an end to our little lame cocktail party. This guy wearing a DHS lapel, short hispanic bald guy, with no ability to speak German AT ALL, came bowling in with a blackberry, typed in some things, and soon the Germans had proof that I am what I am. the emergency pass was issued, and i made the last flight to Berlin, where I had to walk about a mile to the "lost luggage" section to reclaim my baggage and then walk all of it over to a taxi, which my saintly land lady paid for.
A quick one on my land lady:
She is very nice. She got me to her place, let me stay for however long it will take to get my sh-t together, and even loaned me some food money (she's gone now to visit friends) and got me a 7 day transit pass. THANK YOU!
I tried to make conversation with her politely over fruit salad and regular salad with cilantro (OMG, they call it "Coriander" here! That's why I could never find any!!!!) and my insanely adorable roommate (seriously, she is just one of those people who is only a little bit younger than you but you just want to burst out "Wanna be my little sister?!?!"), but the German wasn't working too well after 32 hours of no sleep. I was grateful when she showed me to my apartment. It's upstairs on the 3rd floor, with oodles of windows (pictures to come when I finally unpack) and a bathroom. The bed was big and comfy, and I fell asleep to rain after connecting to the internets to tell everyone that I was alive.
Why I am Still Lucky: an indian-american girl who had been born by accident in Saudi Arabia was there with just an expired passport, not like she lost everything, but because it was expired, they made her try to talk to them in Hindi, which she doesn't speak since she's American, and then were in the process of shipping her to Saudi Arabia as I was leaving. She knew no one there (she's one of those "WAIT! I'm not in labor; I'm on VACATION!!!!" babies) and would have to dig her way out of that. My situation is not nearly as bad, mostly b/c they don't stone women here for not wearing veils!