“It’s his first trip abroad,” I say.

“Oh! Welcome to the United States of America, Honey!”

The woman smiles at Mark, who smiles back. He is just too happy to be out of the car seat, and he is enjoying watching fast food employees running back and forth between the cash register and the kitchen.

I’m waiting for my coffee at Tim Hortons. But this is not the Tim Hortons at the corner of our street—it’s a bona fide American branch of the Canadian franchise. My humongous cup even reads “roasted in Rochester, NY.”

We are in Ogdensburg, New York State. Mark’s first international trip. Oh, I’m so proud of him—so far, he behaves.

Okay, this is not exactly and new-and-exotic location. Ogdensburg is the closest US town to Ottawa, a quick one-hour drive from home. But still, technically, it’s the first time Mark goes abroad—the three or four international trips he took when he was in my womb (France, New York State, NY City, France and London) don’t count, do they?

Mark is one of us now, a mini-traveller. We got him a passport. Applying for his first travel document was a strangely formal affair that began with very precise passport picture requirements (no smiling, mouth closed, eyes open, etc.). Fortunately, Mark is kind of used to me taking pictures of him and it was easy to get a good headshot of him.

I filled out the passport application, still doing the usual double take—yep, that’s me signing in the “mother” case. We then queued for 90 minutes at the Passport Canada office to drop off the application, and we were told to come back two weeks later.

Indeed, a fortnight later, Mark’s passport was ready. He got the newer kind, a completely redesigned document with a chip, additional security features and some cool images of the country.

So we decided to test Mark’s passport—and his behaviour when confronted to a new environment—by taking a day trip to Ogdensburg. Mission accomplished!

We hang out by the St Lawrence River, enjoyed the local playground and shopped at Walmart for oh-so-exotic US products.

Mark, the mini-backpacker… yep, he is our son!

Bridge Between Canada and the US
Bridge Between Canada and the US
Ogdensburg
Ogdensburg
American Teens, Fast Food and Big Cars
American Teens, Fast Food and Big Cars
St Lawrence River
St Lawrence River
Little House on the River
Little House on the River
Pump Out $5
Pump Out $5
Gone Fishin'
Gone Fishin’
Mark in the Swing
Mark in the Swing
Mom and Son
Mom and Son
Mark in the Swing
Mark in the Swing
The St Lawrence and Canada
The St Lawrence and Canada
Ogdensburg Marina
Ogdensburg Marina
The St Lawrence and Canada
The St Lawrence and Canada
The St Lawrence and Canada
The St Lawrence and Canada

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14 Comments

  1. Jeruen May 13, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Amazing! Not even a year old and he already has a passport! For me, I got my first passport at 3, when Dad went to graduate school in Denver. That same year a few months later, my sister was born, and she got two passports at the age of 2 to come back to the Philippines!

    Reply
    1. Zhu May 13, 2013 at 10:04 am

      I got my first passport much later too, in my early teens. But I think back them kids were on their parents’ passport too, now they actually have to have their own document. Bit silly considering the passport is valid for two years and he will change so much!

      Reply
  2. Hogga May 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    timmie’s in the states just sounds wrong

    Reply
    1. Zhu May 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      We are everywhere I guess!

      Reply
  3. Holly Nelson May 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Was it easy to cross the border? I have to ‘flagpole’ on Weds, but Luke told me he was detained for three hours lat time he tried to drive through to the States, so I am sort of dreading it! Glad Mark had a good time, the little ‘honey’!

    Reply
    1. Zhu May 13, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Super easy, we were basically just waived through. But we all have Canadian passports… it was way more complicated when I traveled with my French passport.

      Reply
      1. Holly Nelson May 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

        Hmmm…well I guess we will find out tomorrow – kinda dreading it!!

        Reply
        1. Zhu May 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm

          Best of luck…! But I think you will be fine, there is no reason for you to be detained and questioned! What happened to him last time exactly? I.e. what was the trigger?

          Reply
  4. Lou May 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Start ’em young I say! I envy your Canadian passports we always have a nightmare crossing on our British ones. Gorgeous photos it looks like you picked a lovely sunny day for it.

    Reply
    1. Zhu May 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      You will get Canadian passports too if you wish, sooner or later 😉 Yep, it does make traveling to the US much easier.

      Reply
  5. Dennation May 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    You mean the new passport is finally out? Yes! You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this. Next time I’m in Canada I’m definitely getting the new passport.

    Get ’em started early I say. Backpacking is in his genes.

    Your pictures are great – that grass is so green! How can it be that green?

    I agree, Timmies in the US sounds wrong. However, if you support Timmies in the US, that another strike against Dunkin’. I love these doughnut wars!

    Reply
    1. Zhu May 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Yes, the new passport is out!! And it looks awesome too. I’m keeping mine because it’s valid for another three years… next time 🙂

      It was super hot last week, like 30C, so everything is in full bloom including the tulips. But it got cold again last weekend… and now it’s showing signs of spring I think. You can never tell! I have both jeans and shorts on the chair in my room 😆

      Reply
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