Journey to UD with the Republic of Kosova/o passport08.22.2009Seven thirty PM on August 22nd at the airport of Prishtina, was the time when I said farewell to my dad, mom, sister, and boyfriend back home. As usual, I started crying only when I realized I was really leaving again but, this time crying only continued while I was in air. The flight to London lasted approximately three hours and the plane landed in Gatwick airport around midnight. Since I had to catch a next morning flight, I had to stay in a nearby airport hotel. I have to admit the challenge of carrying three big pieces of luggage in the middle of the night to the bus that was to take me to the hotel. As I was trying to figure out the bus line, fortunately I met a guy who helped me get my luggage on the bus. Although we spoke in English first, not knowing that we were of the same nationality and are traveling from the same city, we soon figured it out. Apparently he had been on my flight and was supposed to stay overnight at the same hotel in order to catch another overseas connecting flight.
The bus was at the hotel, probably around one AM. To be honest, I had expected a different standard of the hotel, but this was below my expectations, though I don't know why. Getting there (exhausted by the entire ordeal), at one AM did not help, either. Well, the night passed somehow, with me not getting an hour of sleep. Tomorrow came, and I had to wait for the bus, that took me back to Gatwick, to then catch another bus to the Heathrow airport. Well, my hardships with my three pieces of luggage only continued. But, fortunately my newly found Kosovar friend, and a wonderful companion was of great help again, until I finally put away my luggage for good on an overseas flight.
In those past twelve hectic hours, I was happy for one thing, that I had not encountered any passport problems, at least not yet... That, of course, did not last long. As soon as I got to the Heathrow airport, got rid of the luggage, and was ready to check in, the assistant at the information desk alerted me of something not being right. For some reason, he said, I was not being shown on the system and he was struggling to find the passport code. I had probably spent 25 minutes at the information desk, waiting, until the poor guy figured out the code for my, now, Republic of Kosovo passport and why no one registered me on the system. He was able to figure it out somehow, but only after making couple of phone calls, and I was finally set for a security check.
I got on a pleasant flight to Chicago, with only few turbulencies here and there. At the OÃHare airport I had to go through customs. After a longer wait than usual, once again the official in charge had trouble finding me on the system due to my documents, and I had to go through different questions regarding my Republic of Kosovo passport as well as my previous UNMIK travel document, containing my valid US student visa, until I was permitted to proceed to the customs. Finally, after going through the customs at OÃHare I caught my next flight to Cincinnati. The flight to Ohio went smoothly, and to my surprise (given my previous experiences) I found out that my famous luggages had made it there as well. This is how approximately a day and a half of my journey to the UD with the Republic of Kosovo passport went.
In spite of my interesting, and at times tiresome travel adventures,
I am happy that at last, after roughly ten years from the end of the war in Kosovo,I too, have an actual passport, instead of a peculiar travel document of a country under UN supervision, which almost regularly raised not only curiosity...