Present and Accounted For

We had great plans to have an early breakfast today and head back to the Empadronamiento to register. The intention was to enjoy the cool of the morning before the heat and humidity increased.


We woke up at about 8 (that is, by the way, extremely early for us in recent weeks). But we rolled over and went back to sleep and 9:32 arrived awfully quickly (and, for us recently, that’s still admittedly not bad). We finally headed out for breakfast at 10:35. By the time we walked over to the Empadronamiento, it was 11:15, the brief overcast had cleared, and the heat was increasing. For Jerry’s sake, we slowly sauntered.

We had success. Or, as is said in Spanish, we had “éxito,” which means success. It is one of those words I am grateful to understand; the initial assumed translation (exit) didn’t make much sense. Anyway, we are now registered with the census bureau and counted among the residents of Sevilla!

I saw a plaque on one of the nearby buildings in the warren surrounding the Empadronamiento.  Apparently, these buildings have been here since around 1585.  I am awestruck.


Now that we’re registered with the Empadronamiento, we can head Monday morning to the office for foreigners (Oficina de Extranjeros) in the spectacular Plaza de España to see how far we get with the rest of our registration process (to obtain our final resident cards). We have read online (expat posts) that you can make an appointment. We have also read online (expat posts) that you can NOT make an appointment and that you simply wait in line.  The posts that said you need an appointment said you phone ahead for one.  I tried phoning a dozen times today before they closed at 2 (well, their posted summer hours say they close at 2) and I never got an answer.  So, we’ll wait in line.  We’ll bring water and snacks and we’ll see how it goes.  We have also read on those expat posts that we need to wait in line the first time to obtain a form that we then complete and take to the bank.  At the bank, we submit the form and pay a 10-euro fee.  We then — we’ve read — go back another day to the Oficina de Extranjeros, wait in line again, submit the receipt, our visas, and all the other paperwork and proofs we’ve carried since submitting our applications at the consulate in Los Angeles, and we complete the process.  The web is so full of helpful as well as completely bogus information.  This should be interesting.


The lawyer who manages our building emailed me a bit ago.  His English is slightly worse than my Spanish (well, maybe more than slightly).  And he kindly and unfortunately insists on writing his emails in English.  This is what he wrote:

“Next Monday to them 14.30h you have to be in the floor because they come to install the book-keeper of the water.”  

We at least understand that one of us needs to be at the apartment 2:30 Monday afternoon.  We have a general idea of the rest (a new meter needs to be installed), although the water is supposedly already taken care of and the lawyer does consistently confuse the English word “water” with the English word “electricity,” so it’s possible the new electrical meter is being installed Monday (especially since someone was coming from the electric company today to give a safety clearance so that we could have the meter installed and the power turned on).  In any case, I will be there Monday at 2:30 to meet someone.  I just hope that leaves us enough time to take care of our first pass at our residency cards. I think I’d better set the alarm.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

22 thoughts on “Present and Accounted For”

  1. Let's just hope that the electrician is not standing in water when he installs the meter;-)
    Wishing you and Jerry all the best in your new home and homeland!

  2. Susan: And I wonder how he'll install the meter given that there's no electricity. Hmmm…

    J&L: We have to remind ourselves of USA bureaucracies. I haven't told the story of how many days (7), emails (6), and international phone calls (3) it took me in July to cancel my American mobile service with AT&T.

  3. I really liked this posting. As you know, I speak Spanish quite well but a few words have gotten me lately: ¨amortiguadores¨ (shock absorbers) and ¨hortalizas¨ (vegetables, I prefer your ¨verduras¨ (greens)). So occasionaly I find myself mouthing a word like a guiri while looking at a sign or a label. But hey, that's the fun part of this program, right?

  4. Ron: OK. I'm not going to try and absorb amortiguadores into the gray matter. But, I also walk down the street constantly appearing to be talking to myself. (Maybe I should just wear a Bluetooth headset.)

  5. That court yard is beautiful. Soon this will be but a distant memory (or some such other crap)! Hang in there. I suspect that your lawyer was using an online translation tool – that sounds like the kind of "english" they usually come up with. Whenever I use them, I always translate it back to English before sending just to check and I've often been astounded at what language it uses!

  6. Craig: Distant memory and, we hope, good stories. We thought maybe the lawyer was using an online translator… except that he speaks the same way. (We do as you when we use those translators. Very entertaining.)

  7. Reading the email your lawyer sent made me LOL! Then, I quickly remembered when first arriving to the States, I made my roommate LOL by calling the vacuum cleaner a "dust sucker" (a literal and logical translation from Swedish to English) Lost in translation anyone?

    Anyway, so happy you're making progress. I admire your tenacity and determination! I can't even THINK, (much less get anything done) when the temperature here creeps up in the 80's….

    Love & kramar,

  8. Does the lawyer use a Babelfish translater, because then you get strange combinations of words.

    At last things are on their way, before you know it your setteled. 😉

  9. Ah yes, the book-keeper of the water. He sits high on a hill above the city. If you climb up to see him, he will impart words of wisdom unto you. Words like "cubic meters," "due date," "payable by check," and the all important "penalty for late payment." All in Spanish, of course.

  10. My hubby is an IBEW union electrician for the past 38 years. Too bad you live like 3,500 miles away, or else I'd tell Paul to stop by and install that meter!

  11. Siri: I LOVE the dust sucker. We need one of those — un aspirador. But we'll have to learn how to say "dust sucker" in Spanish.

    Peter: If he does, he's got one implanted in his brain! Yes, progress is being made.

    Walt the Fourth: No checks. The "book-keeper of the water" likes to take the money directly from our bank account.

    Susan: So, what's a few thousand miles?!

  12. Book keeper of the water, eh. Quite sensible, really. I hope someone was there at 14.30 to do something, and you eventually get water and electricity!

    Love the photographs. What beautiful buildings. Nothing like that here, alas.

  13. Kim: Thanks (I think) for the link to that post. Now I'm completely depressed! I'll be sure to share our experience(s) and will definitely get there early. Wish the instructions were simply posted somewhere but I have a feeling there are too many variations.

    Judith: We have until Monday afternoon to wait for the waterbookkeeper.
    And nothing here like what you've got!

  14. I was glad when I read that you will eventually have air conditioning in your apartment, after the water or electric meter or whatever is installed. I assume the hotel where you are staying is air-conditioned. Such a different life from ours here in Saint-Aignan, where it's chilly and breezy today.

  15. Mitch, lots of red tape to deal with…..gotta love bureaucracies! They are everywhere. Yes, set that alarm clock and get in line….sir!

  16. Ken: Thanks for listening to the email vent! Air-conditioning in the hotel is back to work. Life is good again

    Jim: I've got water bottles, snacks, and our Tempur-Pedic seat cushions ready for "Foreigners' Day"! We might be sitting on the sidewalk while we wait; so, we'll sit in some sort of comfort.

  17. Can't believe all this "rigamarole" you have to go through….I suppose I would if I wanted to live in all the beautiful places you are able to….Cheers! Good Luck Monday…fingers crossed!

  18. Ron: It's definitely worth it (whatever IT entails). Thanks for the crossed fingers. Here's hoping it all goes better than anticipated. (The LA Consulate process certainly did.)

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