I have returned to Halifax (well, Bedford =)...
I'm not working at the moment and am sick with a really bad cold or possibly the flu, so I'm kind of sticking around home for at least the next few days.
The DFAIT website you gave me was really informative, and gave me some important information.... It's comprehensive, and I was happy to read about things that won't apply to me, like "riding on an overcrowded train every day." =) Pas moi! [I'll live a two minute's walk from the school.]
[School] has let me know that they're going to try to fly me out on New Year's Day. [Just like CWY when I went to Poland!] Oh, and my new (5-year, 48-page) passport is ready today, but I'm too sick to go pick it up, and my mom's sick too, and my stepfather has MS and is in a wheelchair, so I guess it'll have to wait until next week. =) It wasn't that hard to do everything (even the sworn oath was straightforward, because I could just download the form and take it to the Souris RCMP detachment), but even so the fact that the original passport was damaged made everything more complicated. [The original passport went through the washing machine, still in the back pocket of my pants when I came back from a trip.] They said that sometimes people damage their passports deliberately to conceal previous travel. I actually think people should have the right to do that out of privacy, because people can have legitimate reasons for doing so (for instance, many Muslim countries prohibit entry if your passport contains evidence of travel to Israel). Okay, none of this applies to *me,* but it's the principle of the thing. =) Also, I won't be getting the original passport back [This is sad, because I lose the collection of visas and entry / exit stamps that I had accumulated.] because it has to go to a special department for analysis for the reasons noted above. I'm glad I paid extra for the 10-day service, because who knows how long it would have taken were it left to their leisure.
Anyway, I guess I'll be more careful next time I return from a trip... (an understatement)
Talk to you soon!