However, there was a change on the new passport that I don't like, but which I think speaks to the times we're in. I wasn't allowed to smile in the photo. Trust me, I tried to. And twice, the computer (at CVS) sent the message of "not acceptable." Maybe the rule was in place before computers became part of the process, and I just got lucky before. But I think it's sort of sad.
It seems to imply that you won't be smiling when people are checking your passport, and therefore, you shouldn't be smiling in the photo. Is it a commentary of the visa check-points? The long lines in the airports? The nervousness you might be experiencing when showing your passport? I hope not.
At any rate, getting a new passport is still thrilling. It's good for ten years... ten years! I wonder where I will go in that time, what stamps I will collect, and what my life (and I) will look like ten years from now when I get a new passport!