Leaving My Troubles Behind, But Not My Wallet


One issue resolved!

I have the document that will temporarily make it possible for me to re-enter Spain after visiting the United States. I had a successful visit today to the Foreigners Office at the Plaza de España.

San Geraldo and I had our typical breakfast this morning. I came home and did the crossword puzzle. I breathed — inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. I remained calm. I did not lose my wallet. (No one hid it in my back pocket. No one ruined the line of my pants.)

A little before 1:00, I left the house and hopped in a cab. The cab driver and I had a great conversation. I told him where I was headed and he asked where I was from. He asked if I had lived in Spain before or if my family was Spanish because he could tell I wasn’t native but — drumroll, please — “…your accent is perfect”!!! I laughed. I thanked him. I told him a bit of my history and I then said my Spanish was still not good enough to keep up with many people, especially the people at the Foreigners Office. He said, “That’s because they’re Sevillanos and you speak proper Spanish!” We continued our conversation on the 5-minute ride over and by the end he had a much better idea of how limited my Spanish actually is. But, my accent is perfect! (Wait a minute. I wonder if he was from Krakow…)

I arrived at the Plaza de España and got in line outside the door at 1:06. I’ve never stood in line for long when I’ve been there (unless I’ve arrived before the office has opened for the day or re-opened after siesta). The short line moved very slowly today. At 1:30, the guard announced that if you needed to talk to someone at the information desk (i.e., if you didn’t yet know what the hell you were supposed to do), you needed to go home and come back tomorrow. “No more information,” he called out. The line quickly drained. I went from being somewhere around ninth to being second.


However, once the line cleared, people began coming from the other direction (from out of nowhere really), asking the guard a question and being directed to walk right in. So, I stepped out of my number 2 spot and told him I was there to pick up my approved re-entry form. He sent me right inside. I wonder if I could have done that in the first place. That’s never been “the process” before, but that doesn’t prove anything. (We’ve never been able to figure out “the process.”) Once inside, I saw Nice-Guy-From-Last-Week sitting at one of the information-desks-that-was-no-longer-an-information-desk. La Rubia was nowhere in sight! I smiled warmly and said, “Hola.” Nice Guy clearly recognized me and did the same.  I told him why I was there. He said, “Of course,” pulled open the lower drawer in the desk, pulled out a folder, checked my name on the form I held in my hand, and gave me my signed and stamped, official “return” document. He said I simply need to keep it with my passport when I travel. Unfortunately, since it was after 1:30 and I wasn’t allowed to ask for information, I’ll have to go back some other time to see if they can track down our residency card renewals. But at least I can now look forward to visiting The Dowager Duchess and The Kid Brother.


My computer did not crash or spontaneously shutdown once over the weekend (after the initial shutdown Friday night). I even tried to overwhelm it but it kept on humming happily away. Things were going so well that I decided to not take it in for service this morning (which I had planned on doing on my way to the Plaza de España). Just before I left the house, I sent one last email. My computer spontaneously shut down. I think the problem may be that I sent four emails and then waited three minutes to write the fifth. I then spun around in my desk chair twice before nodding my head three times and patting my belly. Oh, and I said hello to Dudo. That’s definitely what caused it. Also, I didn’t have any fruit with my yogurt. I’ll explain all that to the guy at Goldenmac when I head back over tomorrow.

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..

27 thoughts on “Leaving My Troubles Behind, But Not My Wallet”

  1. yippie, you got the paper… I am sure you feel much more relaxed now 🙂

    BTW: Its me Monkey man

  2. I tried 3 times to "comment" yesterday… but either my comments were too risque (hey, I was only comparing your hip pocket to Bill's hip pocket) or my computer was being cantankerous… or maybe it was YOUR computer …. who knows? Anyway… after a generous helping of white wine tonight, my computer seems to be more reasonable. But (butt?) I'm glad you got your papers in order. Every blog of yours has more photos that make our decision to winter in Spain more viable….. YES!

    1. The Odd Essay:
      I think word verification goes through phases of being difficult. I've been having the same problem recently.

      That hip pocket photo is at such an odd angle, it actually makes it look like I've got a substantial hip pocket. I don't. That's the same angle they use for underwear ads, and now I know why (although I don't think those are self-produced).

      I've got to get the computer over to repair but not "feeling it" today. Anyway, it's working again for now!

  3. I guess they don't want to make things too easy at the Foreigner's Office. I'm glad you got your bit of paper – but "no information after 1.30"? That must be to make sure you have to return to the office, thus keeping the clerks in work. It's a good thing that you seem to have developed infinite patience!

    1. Judith:
      The final process was in fact easy, if I had only known what I was really supposed to do in the first place. It's a shame. As for no longer giving information, I did understand that. The office closes at 2 for siesta and then reopens in the afternoon for appointment-only business. A lot of people are there just to ask questions. Others, like me, to pick up documents or drop off documents. The questions take the most time. So, for the last half hour before siesta they try to move everyone with specific business quickly through by having two processing desks instead of an information desk and a processing desk. And, if that makes sense to you, then you'll have to explain to me why sometimes they have 2 combination information/processing desks and sometimes no processing desk at all, and sometimes you get a number and sit in the waiting room, and sometimes you get a number and sit in the office without numbers, and sometimes you can go directly to the office, and sometimes you have to first sit in the waiting room for 35 seconds. As Harry Belafonte said: It was clear as mud and it cover the ground and the confuSION made me brain go round.

  4. Good news! That you are inhaling and exhaling, of course. Oh, and got the papers you need.

    I have an excellent Hungarian accent. It suggests to people that I know much more than I do, so they speak to me very quickly, and soon understand that I'm not really that good….Alas!But one keeps on trying.

    1. Kristi:
      That exhaling part can be very tricky.

      I don't know how handy a Hungarian accent comes in when you speak Spanish. Have you found it useful? And, yes, sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I have been told I pronounce one specific Norwegian swear word perfectly.

  5. I think your computer is jealous of Dudo – that's why it shut down when you said hello to him. My mom always said I held my mouth wrong whenever something would stop working.

    I also wanted to clarify my comment on your last post: When bad things pile up, our family says "When it rains it pours". So I was relating to your list of things that could go wrong, not just coming up with a cliche.

    1. Jo:
      Sorry about that. I understood your comment and was making fun of myself for the three adages I used in one post!

      We were laughing at Goldenmac when we couldn´t get my laptop to crash or spontaneously shut down. Sergo, the tech, said he´s got a regular customer with a very old computer and the same thing, of course, always happens. When he´s watching, nothing goes wrong. So she finally took a picture of him and has it frame on her desk facing her computer. She figures as long as he´s watching the computer will behave. Not a bad idea.

  6. So glad you got the papers. I was feeling anxious for you! Wallets in back pocket – last time for me was Madrid where a Gypsy scam stole mine and since then it's front pocket for me!

    1. Fritz:
      Sorry to make you worry! Truth is, the first reason I stopped carrying my wallet in my back pocket was just as you say. My father´s pocket was picked on the subway when he was riding home from work one night. What a major headache.

  7. Phew!! One down, three yards to go! What? Wrong reply! Never understood football….
    That's a relief Mitch and it went pretty smoothly, wouldn't you say, considering where it could have gone!!
    I was trying to visualize a 'busting wallet' in that back pocket!! Don't laugh, I've seen them! Oh yes, great lines!

    1. Jim:
      If you mean a wallet bursting through a back pocket, I´ve seen that too. Great way to ruin a pair of pants!

      As for football, I don´t know if we´re at first and 10 (or Madison and 5th=, but I did get ONE touchdown!

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