travel preparations (Part01)

We have talked and talked about traveling to Pakistan. I have been fascinated ty the stories, want to finally meet the family and generally enjoy traveling and learning new things from new cultures. There are some concerns, however. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want to travel, but we do have some restraints and challenges.
1. Will it be safe for our baby? Will we will need immunizations, malaria medicine and how can we travel safely? When is the best time to travel. We have heard anywhere from 4wks to 6months. We are looking for a pediatrician to give us a definitive answer. I admit that I am afraid that the baby will get sick. And, we all know that when a baby is sick, it does not take long to turn into something serious. DH is much more nonchalaunt about this whole issue, but he tends to be this way about health in general. Besides, he has a loyalty to Pakistan that precludes him from imagining that any harm could come to our child — after all, he grew up there and he was fine! “And, there are doctors in Pakistan and good hospitals and Pakistan has medicine – probably better medicine than America.” I can’t get him to understand any logic about bacteria, different meds, etc. It is kind of strange, for DH, dog hair is much more unclean than any dust or bacteria that might be present. DH is usually a science/research kind of guy; but when it comes to the topics of “dogs” or “Pakistan,” he just does not listen to any logic. dogs are dirty, no matter what research says. And: Pakistan is, well, as close to eutopia as one can get, regardless of its flaws. OK, I exagerate this last point. But, he certainly has a hard time viewing Pakistan from a clear lense. I thought that his objectivity might improve with age or education; but,(honestly and unfortunately) “It just ain’t happening.” (Actually, this particular point doesn’t help allay my parents’ fears of him wanting to live in Pakistan permanently) [left for a later post]. GRRR.
2. My SIL, DH’s sister has postponed her wedding once because we weren’t able to come. She was going to marry in November, but since I am pregnant, she has decided to do it in march because she really wants us to be present. I find that amazing. How many family members would actually postpone their wedding?
3. My own daughter is getting married on April 1st. she has set the date and is sure, this is the date that she wants to marry; so we will need to be back before then.
4. Even though DH has about five weeks of time saved up, his work will probably only let him use two (or possibly three) weeks at a time.
5. I have to make some efforts or do something that will help the rest of my family feel more comfortable about me going. maybe there is not much that I actually can do, but I want to try to do something.

So, with these stipulations, we are thinking: Maybe we should leave the last week of February. Hopefully, we can get the first round of vaccinations a week early and the baby’s immune system will be prepared. I will stock up on anything we need, even though DH says that I shouldn’t because “We can find anything/everything we need in Pakistan.” Even if we stay three weeks, we should be home (by the latest) march 20th which will still give me ample time to be there for my daughter’s wedding. So, I have to plan out what we will need and what I should do. This is my step by step journey for traveling. Maybe it will help someone. Who knows. But, it will also serve as a record of what I have done and what I still need to do. I’d love to hear anyone’s advice along the way. Give it freely. Thanks.
***Step1: check my passport. My passport was issued in 2009 with my maiden name. Will I need a new passport? Can I just update my old one? How much will it cost? What forms do I need? After calling the post office and then the Travel department: 1877-487-2778 or visiting
I found out that “yes,” I will need to apply for a new passport. Acording to Representative Josh (who was quite helpful and cheery), because my passport was issued more than a year ago, I don’t qualify for form ds5504 (which would mean that my renewal would be free). Instead, I must download and fill out form ds80; found on the website, which will cost $110. Along with this form; I will need to Send in my current passport, one photo ID which needs to be secured by four staples to the form, a copy of my marriage certificate with the seal and of course, my check for $110. The documents should be placed in a nonbendable waterproof envelope and sent via secure mail so that I have a record of it being sent and it does not get lost. The address is on the form and I was also instructed to call the conselate in Chicago to find out the specific requirements for a Visa to Pakistan. The Conselate’s number (just for anyone’s reference and for mine, if I forget) is: 312-781-1831 or 312-781-1833.
***Step2: Calling the consulate should be the next order of business. I feel so “Green” because I know absolutely nothing. I tried at work where I could use multiple lines to maximize my attempts. It did not make a difference. I didn’t even get a busy signal, the phone rang and rang as if no one was there. I’ll try tomorrow. Hmmm, wonder if I can find them online.


One Response to “travel preparations (Part01)”

  1. some background before we proceed | 30day experience Pakistan through our eyes! Says:

    […] title=”Beginning travel preparations” href=”“> Travel preparations part 01 […]

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