Our trip to the Oficina de Extranjeros (the Foreigners Office) was a piece of cake this morning (more like a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin and macadamia nut cookie really).
|TRADITIONAL SPANISH SNACKS?
(PRONOUNCED Moo-FEEN and COO-Key.)
July 12 will mark the beginning of our second year in Spain. We need to renew our residency cards for another two years. Once again, San Geraldo — and I do sincerely mean San Geraldo — filled out the applications and prepared all our paperwork. Everything was neatly organized (forms, passport copies, financial statements, proof of insurance) and paper-clipped. The information that Jerry had found online turned out to be exactly correct. No surprises. Except that when we arrived at the office we had visited three times last year in the Plaza de España, we were told by a very pleasant woman that, for renewals, we needed to walk to another office at the opposite side of the Plaza. Not a problem.
|RETURN TO THE PLAZA DE ESPAÑA.|
So, we followed the U-shaped terrace to the opposite side. On the way, at the center point, we came upon a trio of supposedly Peruvian musicians, playing music of the Andes (pan flute and all), wearing the garb and full headdresses of Native Americans… perhaps Plains Indians from South Dakota. Really. I didn’t have any change in my pocket, so I snuck a very quick and blurry shot from far away.
After passing the Pseudo-Lakota-Sioux-Incas-on-Pan-Flutes-Probably-Made-in-China, we reached the other office, went through security, took numbers, and sat for about 10 minutes in the small lobby. We were then warmly welcomed at a desk and proceeded to submit Jerry’s beautifully organized, stapled, and clipped documents. The man cursorily glanced at everything and stamped/dated/initialed the renewal (renovación) application. He couldn’t understand the need for all the paperclips. I told him Jerry used to be a librarian. The man laughed and said, “Ah. Very organized.” I thought, ‘yeah, but you should see his desk.” He returned all the paperclips to Jerry and rubber-banded the entire package. I removed the paperclips from my documents as I handed over each section. That was it. We will receive a letter in the mail within 30 days. We then have to go pay a fee and our new cards will be processed. We spoke with one person at an information desk, two security guards, and one application processor. Everyone was kind, friendly, and helpful.
|SAN GERALDO STANDING BELOW HIS 22-GREATS-GRANDFATHER SAN FERNANDO.|
So, what do two Americans in Sevilla do to celebrate when another bureaucratic process goes well? They go to Starbucks! Sad, I know, but it was already really hot outside (while we waited in the lobby, I could actually feel the steam coming off Jerry’s body). Starbucks was the first air-conditioned place we hit on the way home.
|PLAZA DE ESPAÑA,
AS TRANSFORMED FOR THE MOVIE “THE DICTATOR.”
We had our favorite mango frapuccinos (small, which Starbucks calls “tall” and that drives me crazy; I remember one time asking for a small soda at McDonalds and being told, “We don’t have small.” I thought she meant they were out of small cups. But they had simply renamed the sizes. “We have medium, large, and extra-large,” I was told as if I were a complete idiot. “So, give me the ‘medium,’ ” I muttered and then clarified, “the smallest one you have.”).
Jerry couldn’t pass up a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin (and it was actually fresh this time) and, to be polite, I joined him by ordering a macadamia nut cookie. We cooled off in air-conditioned splendor before continuing our walk home.
We changed into shorts and T-shirts and, of course, headed over to Emperador Trajano for our usual breakfast (even though we had both already had our healthy at-home breakfasts of yogurt and fruit), I had even had a protein bar before leaving the house. Then came Starbucks. But, after all that, it wasn’t even 10:30, and we couldn’t truly begin our day without café con leche. And, as long as we were having café con leche, wasn’t it easier to just say, “De siempre” (the usual)? We thought so.