13 January 2009

Off to see the wizard

Today is a big day. I am going to the estrangeria office to submit my petition for Spanish residency. I first asked for this appointment way back in September, and it has taken me four long months just to get assigned a day and time to hand in my papers.

Nobody can see the Great Oz! Not nobody, not nohow!

So I am obsessively checking over my paperwork, because if I know anything about bureaucracy in Spain, it's that whatever official I confront today will be more than gleeful to send me scuttling out the door because some date stamp is in the wrong spot or too recent or too old or I have two copies instead of three of whatever document they ask me for.

The wizard says "go away."

I'm bringing along about TEN copies of everything, and all the originals, and blank versions of the form in case I made a mistake, and stuff they didn't even ask for, just to be sure.

Bring me the broomstick of the wicked witch of the west.

I'm planning on arriving really ahead of time so I don't miss the appointment because I couldn't find the place. It's at an absurdly specific time, 13.35, and the instructions I was sent clearly state that you can't cancel or reschedule: if you miss it, you miss it, and then you have to start all over again ("SUCKAH!" is written in invisible ink just below those instructions.)

I am the great and powerful Oz.

All the same, I'm trying to prepare myself for the fact that SOMEthing will be wrong with my application, because there's always something. Our libro de familia took TWO years of bringing them different versions of documents. (The classic example: they didn't approve of my birth certificate because, get this, the only date on there was 1978! Why, yes, that's the year I was born! They wanted "a more recent date" on it. So I had to order a new copy of my birth certificate to satisfy a Spanish notion of continuous, needless government stamps of approval.)

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

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