Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Cola in Argentina is not a soft drink

It's a line. Usually a long line. There are lines everywhere, but especially in government offices. And since people are required to do a lot more paperwork here than we are accustomed to in the U.S., you end up spending a lot of time in colas.

Ivan, thankfully, does most of the line waiting.
Because I am not a fan of the line waiting.
Or any kind of waiting when it comes right down to it.

But I didn't have a choice on Tuesday.

I had planned to post Tuesday afternoon or evening to share the stupendous news that we FINALLY have our national I.D.s! But folks, I was so COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED by the time we got home TWELVE HOURS after we left that I had no energy left to post. None.At.All.

[I know that's a heavy use of ALL CAPITALS but I write how I talk, and if I were saying this out loud, those words would be HEAVILY EMPHASIZED.]

The plan was to be at the Registro Civil by 7 a.m. because we knew they only take the first 50-60 in line for the I.D.s. For some reason we haven't been able to figure out, my cell phone alarm did not work that morning. So we didn't get up until 6:23 a.m. which is when we'd hoped to be on the road.

Already running late, we then got confused in the downtown area of Cordoba and ended up spending an extra ten minutes on a series of one way streets before we could park and hot foot it over to the office. The line at 7:20 a.m. was already well over 150 strong. I kept our place in line while Ivan hovered near the front door to see what was happening.

By the time the doors opened at 8:15, about 20 ahead of us had already given up and left. That made us a little more hopeful. Ivan was going back and forth periodically to update me on what appeared to be happening at the front of the line. Which wasn't much. I was fast losing hope and thinking we'd have to go home and try it all over again the next day, when Ivan called me on the cell phone and said to come to the door because the guard was letting us in!

Ivan had asked the guard how long he thought it might be and the man simply waved him in! We feel kind of bad that we leap frogged about 30 people in front of us but not enough to refuse the offer :-) As it was, when we finally made it to the desk we received tickets #61 and #62 -- and they only had 63 tickets allotted to hand out! Whew! Seriously close call.

Then we settled in to wait for our numbers to be called.
We waited.
And waited.
And waited some more.
(Remember that we left home about 6:30.
And were in line by 7:20 a.m.)
It was 1:50 p.m. when they finally called our numbers.

But people, we have our I.D.s now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are so many things you cannot do without I.D.s here.
Tuesday night Ivan made a list of things we can now get put in our names. Cell phones, satellite t.v., our home security system... AND we can apply for our Argentine driver's licenses. So many things! Having the I.D.s will just make our life easier in a myriad of ways.

[We think it's because he was able to use his cedula (old I.D.) when applying for the new I.D.]

I have to go back in June, which is two months before my 24 month VISA is up, and we hope to apply for my permanent residency at that time. Normally you have to live here for three years first but with Ivan already having his, it may make it easier for me to get mine. Or I might have to wait.

Even with only Ivan having permanent residency, it means we won't have to keep paying annual "insurance" on the stuff we brought into the country in our container. That's a chunk of change saved right there. the time we had our I.D.s in hand we felt slightly giddy with glee.
(Or maybe that was just the hunger.)
It's been 18 months since we applied for the I.D.s and, believe it or not, that's about how long it usually takes, whether you're an Argentine or a foreigner.

After grabbing lunch and dropping off a battery to be fixed, we headed back to Carlos Paz. Once again running late. So we drove straight to my eye doctor appointment. Where we discovered the first exam had been inaccurate (no surprise there; we'd sorta figured that out when the glasses we ordered from that prescription didn't work).

I would have loved going straight from there to order the new glasses but at that point we had no energy left. None. Pfffft! All gone. So we drove home, pulling into the driveway exactly twelve hours after we'd pulled out.

And that is why I didn't post on Tuesday. Not because I wasn't excited. I WAS!!! But I just didn't have it in me to write a coherent post.


I was blown away by the response to "Why I Blog" on Monday. Y'all are such an encouraging and kind bunch! It was fun to see I'm not alone in the "why" as well.

Had to giggle at one who pointed out my blog could give the impression that all we do is have fun. I try to avoid not only the specifics of ministry but also the negative aspects of living in another culture -- MOST OF THE TIME. There are occasions when a cathartic post keeps me on an even keel.

Like when I have to stand in an especially long cola.


Mari said...

Hooray for having your ID's. However - I see I wouldn't like cola in Argentina!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I have been reading your blog for awhile. My husband and I are Canadian missionaries here in Argentina. We live in Victoria, Entre Rios. It has been great reading your views of living here. I have a quick question. We have our DNI here and are wondering when we can apply for permanent status. We have been here almost 9 years. My email is Thanks so much. Bendiciones Leana Janzen

Christy said...

Yay for the id's! I know this has been a pain for y'all. Woo hoo!!

Betty said...

I hate hate those long "colas" too! With a passion. So, I know you must be sooo proud and exited to receive your cedulas! Congratulations! I´m so happy for you.

rita said...

Should I say, "Gloria a Dios"! or "it's about time!"
I forget what life is like in other countries. I fear I may not be so patient now that I've grown accustomed to the culture that does not 'waste' time.

rita said...

Another thought about blogging:
I read a blog recently about the importance of blogging for writers. Rather than wait till you are publishable or ready to publish, you need to be building up a network readers AND practicing the writing skills. FWIW

Lhoyt said...

I know the feeling. Went to pay a bill one time. Four hours in 'cola' and one old man fainting and having to be carried away. When we got to the door, there was only one person ahead of me when they said they were now closing the bank, and we would have to come back some other day. That was when I acted like a spoiled American and let them have it with guns blazing. Guess what? It made no difference!!