There’s a funny story behind why we ended up going to Madrid for the day. Not funny ha-ha. More like I can’t believe the U.S. functions at all with such an incompetent government funny. I won’t start at the beginning because previous blog posts cover the painfully amusing, or at least painful details. Suffice it to say we’re in the process of securing my Spanish residency. But the adorable people of the Oficina de Extanjería in Palma found the fact that me with my married name is the same person as me with my maiden name prior to marriage to be just too complicated. So, they put my petition on hold until I could produce some mythlogical documentation proving that we are one in the same person. Surely this isn’t a big deal; an amusing situation and potential anecdote yes, but easily solved. Ha. Ha.
I emailed the American Consulate in Palma and asked for their help. They asked for a scan of the letter the Oficina had mailed me, a response to which was already overdue the day I received the letter because apparently it takes ten freaking days to get mail around here, which I did. I never heard back. So I made a surprise visit to the Consulate one day and they proceeded to tell me that oops they thought they had responded, but those services are temporarily not being provided anyway (apparently filling out a letter template, printing, signing and stamping it is just too difficult), so I’d need to go to Barcelona or Madrid in person to sort this out. You’ve got to be freaking KIDDING me! Okay, calm down, I told myself. At least we can maybe salvage this nightmare for some fun in a great city.
First things first. I emailed both the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona and the U.S. Embassy in Madrid to see who would respond first. A nice lady from the U.S Embassy responded and told me they could give me an official letter that should do. I asked if the Spanish government would recognize the seal and signature, or if I would need to get an Apostille of the Hague to legalize the document. She responded and said I wouldn’t need an Apostille, but that I would need to go to the Minesterio de Asuntos Exteriores to get it legalized. Good thing I asked since this is ALSO located in Madrid for crying out loud!
So I made an appointment with the U.S. Embassy and the Minesterio de Asuntos Exteriores, booked a flight and hotel for two nights for hubbie and me (baby-girl Fiona would stay with the family in Galilea), downloaded Eyewitness Travel’s Top Ten Madrid Kindle Edition on my iPad and started planning what we could realisitically cram into one day without killing ourselves. In the spirit of full disclosure, I pretty much made these “plans” on the flight over, but hey, points for effort, right? Of course I had to pad the schedule with extra time for dealing with both the U.S. Embassy and the Minesterio de Asuntos Exteriores. But fun would be had either way to spite those civil service punks.
I hope my lessons learned will help someone get it done faster and pain-free. If that happens; pay it forward, my friend. Stay tuned for part dos; the fun part.