You know those important moments you look forward to in your children’s lives? First smile, first tooth, first step, first word, first fingerprinting….
Yesterday morning was a long one. Now that we have visas, we needed to all appear in person at the office of the national police to register the visas, then apply for our national ID cards. This involved driving to a busy, unfamiliar downtown area, parking, walking several blocks to the first office (for the police), waiting in a long line to be photographed and register the visas, taking two taxis to the second office (for the IDs), then waiting a long time for our numbers to be called so we could be photographed again and fingerprinted. Whew. And then we had to walk back to the car and figure out our route back home, with a stop by a Burger King drive-thru, where communicating through the speaker with the attendant turned out to be one of the most challenging parts of the day.
Bright side — it did not rain. And the kids enjoyed being photographed, having their thumbprint read by computer (you pressed it on a little red screen), signing their names electronically, and of course, being fingerprinted. The rest was just a lot of waiting. I realized when we had walked too far to go back to the car that the kids hadn’t brought their books with them. The ones I had instructed them to bring for the waiting time. I think they had thought that the 30 minutes in the car was the wait I had mentioned. To combat the whining and bickering, we let the kids run the batteries down in both of our cell phones playing games, and take pictures with my camera. Would you like to see my children’s photographic genius? Kind of captures the day — I didn’t edit out any shots.
So it was a long morning — about six hours from start to finish — but I know there are many places where a process like this would have been longer and worse. Chile, as I hope the world now understands, is a modern place. They love bureaucracy (lots of official documents with stamps and things), but they’re actually relatively efficient. Matt’s company provided consultants to walk through the process with us, which was very helpful. And soon, I’ll have my ID, which for me will mostly mean that the clerk at the grocery store won’t have to call the manager every time I want to use my credit card. Oh, and we can leave the country. Hooray for being legal residents.