The holidays are finally over here in Spain, and the kids went back to school yesterday. We spent a few more days in Cáceres (my husband's home town) than we had originally planned, so I've been secluded without Internet all this time.
The new year has started off in a sort of strange way; with a sick cat, getting barbed wire on my teeth, and me doing the bureaucratic tango with the U.S. government, trying to get my papers together so I can finally apply for Spanish citizenship. All this time I thought the Spanish government was going to give me more headaches than the U.S. government, but strangely enough the reverse is true. I was pretty jazzed when I started this whole thing since it all seemed pretty straightforward, but seems is the key word here because trying to get the documents I need from the U.S. has turned out to be an odyssey of epic proportions. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel through all the thick red tape, but I'll keep hacking away at it and see if I can get through it without getting trapped in this sticky mess (and if I slay a few bureaucrats along the way the world won't have lost much).
I feel a bit like the man in this video, except in my case the whole thing is complicated by the fact that I am here and can't go to pick up my documents personally.
The whole process has been filled with obtuse public employees who don't seem to grasp the concept that I can't shell out a small fortune to fly over to the States to personally pick up the necessary forms. Everything is so standardized that when there's a situation that's a bit out of the ordinary, these people just lose it and don't know how to proceed. Most of the time they don't even try to help and they just point me in the direction of another office and say, "Try over there, they may be able to help." All this after sitting though the recorded phone message of "For help with ----, press 1. For information on ----, press 2...." Just listening to the menu costs me a small fortune each time I call a different office. In the age of Internet, why isn't it possible to get this stuff done on the computer?
So, while I sort my way through this crazy maze I'll leave you all with some pictures of Cáceres:
This fella kept visiting the tree right in front of the flat, but luckily he didn't bring us any babies (I told him to go visit my sister, who is anxiously awaiting one, but so far he hasn't obliged)
Now, if you're still looking for something to do, head on over to Central Snark
...you won't find any bureaucracy there.