Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mañana, Mañana, We Might Be Legal Mañana, It’s Only a Day Away -- by Josh

Well, well, well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Last you heard of the seemingly pointless residency trek on which we’d embarked things seemed truly hopeless (or at least hilarious).  About the time when we caught a glimmer of hope on the horizon, I dropped out of the blogosphere. So, here’s what went down.
                A good friend of ours works for the United Nations and thus travels within circles of influence, and when he heard of our travails in the Fall he told us to let him know the next time we were headed to la migra.  Long story short, we met up at the immigration office in October, him in a suit, me with my shirt at least tucked in, swapped our IDs for special clearance tags and headed upstairs.  He led me down the hall, schmoozing along the way, then into the office of the deputy director of immigration for the republic!  
                We spent a while talking with him about this and that (if you haven’t seen it in the news, the Dominican government and the U.N. have been in the midst of a disagreement about how to treat descendants of Haitians; it was an interesting conversation).  Then my friend told him why we were there and all about the difficulties I’d been having.  He was very kind and we chatted a bit more, then headed back downstairs.
                I don’t know what happened in the meantime, but when I next headed up to the numberless window, Numberless Window Lady was more polite.  I handed her the tiny little stamped paper with a number on it that I'd received on the previous visit and awaited more bad news.  Only once did she shuffle all my papers then demand that I be more organized and send me away to re-order them.  Then, she actually took the stack and accepted it.  
             After less than an hour, SHE actually called ME over.  It was time to speak with a lady I’d met in a back office before, a real sweetheart I’d shared some cookies with (always seek opportunities to sweeten up the situation!). 
                “I’m afraid you’re missing X and Y,” she informed me.
                “That’s okay,” I said, “they’re right there and there.”
                “But what about A and Z?”
                “Right there and right there.”
                “Oh, well, hang on a minute.”
                I waited a bit longer, then was called up again to the numberless window.  “Take this paper and come back in three months. Next!”
They spelled my name "Joushua". I'm hoping that won't be a problem. I'm not kidding. We've had similar issues during this process.

                My head was spinning.  In my hand was a paper with no fewer than three very official stamps on it.  I stumbled over to an adjoining window where a young man sat, not doing anything in particular.
                “Excuse me,” I said, interrupting his meditative state (the rolling waves outside the office’s windows can be mesmerizing).  “I was just given this paper and told to come back in three months.”
                “Ah, yeah, you should do that.”
                I wanted details. “Okay, well, today is October 17th, so does that mean that I HAVE to be back here on January 17th?”  I knew it was a crazy idea, but with them being such sticklers on other little things I didn’t want to take a chance.
                He laughed, “No, no. It’s more like between three and six months.”
                “Yeah, so, come back during that time frame and check on the status of your papers. One more thing: if one of you needs to leave the country at any point before we have your papers fully processed, you have to come back here and request a letter of permission.  It’s $150 for each letter, but it’s better than completely re-starting the process.  Take care!”

                I thanked him and immediately called Rebecca, ecstatic.  Victory was on the horizon, albeit distant.  Much like my approach to arriving at parties, I took his hint and didn’t go on the 17th of January.  Tomorrow Max and I will be in the Capital anyway, so, fashionably late, we’ll go and check on our precious papers.  Then, it’s off to Wendy’s to either drown our sorrows or celebrate victory with a nice big Frosty.  ¡Hasta pronto!

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