Thursday, May 2, 2013

You Look Like a Convict

"It's a passport picture. Why is he photoshopping it?" I asked Josh as we waited ever-longer for our instant 2X2 photos.
"Honey, you look like a convict. Believe me, let the man do his work."
"What?!" I walked over to the computer screen. Sure enough, the photo was terrifying. But who enlarges a passport photo 2000%, revealing every wrinkle, wild white hair and under-eye bags? Really.
"See? We don't need any reasons stacked against us for them not to issue these visas. We'll wait," Josh smiled. I stuck out my tongue at him.

My grandmother took passport pictures like they were glamour shots.

But I come from my father. Admittedly, his hair and skin look great.
But in my defense, he's 10 in this photo.
A few weeks ago we received our passports in the mail stateside from the Dominican Consulate in New York. I jumped up and down as I tore open the envelope. Did they issue our residency visas?! The very reason we had left our home on the island was to come back with these visas--to stay legally for longer than 30 days.
Sure enough. That beautiful stamp was in there. My name was spelled wrong, but I wasn't about to complain. These were our tickets back home (figuratively, of course--we still had to shell out more buckeroos to the airlines). I handed them to Josh.
"Look!" my face was beaming.
His brow furled.
"Ummm... why do these expire in two months?"
"What?!" I grabbed one. There it was. Expiration: June 2013

It seems that this process, which has cost thousands of dollars and started sometime in November 2012 is still not finished. People keep checking our sanity asking, "It's for citizenship, right?" Nope. "Well, for 5 or 10 years residency then, yes?" Nope.
This whole long, crazy process is for a one year residency visa. One. Single. Year. Its the first step, if you will, in an even longer process towards a more permanent status. We will, however, likely never be citizens--even if we end up dying here. C'est la vie. Or la death, if you will.

Now we have to go to the capital--a two-hour bus ride--give them our blood, 2x2 convict photos and pee in a cup while someone watches. I've never thought about what underwear I should wear to a government building.
These might do the trick:
I kid, I kid.

Wish us luck!

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