And I normally *like* Mondays!
Today I endured a few futile hours, along with their requisite bouts of frustration mixed with lack of complete understanding of why I was frustrated, at the hands of the Chilean government. I am currently renewing my temporary visa, which I understand will be a long and complicated process. However, I figured the complications would come on the "front side" of the process--- gathering the required documents ---not in the middle of it. I visited several gov't offices on Wed. Sept 10th, collecting the required documents, getting my picture taken (they want 3 photos), etc., and was actually pleased to find out that I can make the renewal application by mail. So I sent the Ministry of External Relations copies of everything they asked for, and waited for their reply. Of course on Saturday I received a nice letter stating that I needed to send in 2 more documents, neither of which were actually in the required list. Oh well.
So this morning I set off again, back to some of the same gov't offices as on the 10th of Sept, to gather anew my missing documents. I arrived at the processing office --figuring I had been disqualified for the "apply by mail" option because of my missing documents-- and waited in their 2 hour line. I finally got up to the counter, handed the agent all of my paperwork (which by now was stacking up!), and she looked through it for about 30 seconds and said I was still lacking a "legalized" copy of my diploma. I guess I had mis-interpreted "legalizado" for "official" in the letter I received Saturday. Anyway, she was very kind to ask me to step aside, collect the document, and then send everything back by mail. (In my frustration at futilely waiting in the 2-hr line, I guess I forgot to be thankful that she didn't ask me to come back and wait again in the line.)
So I went back again to another office (I'm getting pretty familiar with central Santiago by now!) to get my diploma "legalized" (still have no idea what that actually means). This time the line was short (yay!), but the agent looked at all the "funny English characters" on the document and said "Oh you'll have to go to the Chilean consulate in your country to get this legalized." So there I was, 3 hours, some sweat, good amounts of frustration, and nowhere closer to renewing my visa (which conveniently expires in 2 months 8 days). Anyway, I've sent a "plea" email to the consulate in Houston asking what I have to do to get my diploma legalized. Probably involves waiting a few weeks for the post to send, and then return, whatever they need. Then I get to return to the "nice" old man who rejected my original request and get him to "legalize" the signature of the consul. Then I can send my documents back through the post and hope they aren't rejected another time!
In other news today, another bank capitulated, this one hitting much closer to home for me and my family: Wachovia. Until the mid-90s, Wachovia only existed in the mid-Atlantic. Why it decided it needed to rapidly expand into other markets, only to have its balloon popped this weekend, I guess no one will really know. In all the chaos surrounding the $700 billion bailout, no one's yet talking much about job losses. However in NC, Wachovia is a big employer, so any reductions-in-force will come as a hard pill to swallow.
Also, my laptop is refusing to run Microsoft Word correctly, even after I un- and re-installed it. I reckon I installed a conflicting device driver or something similar. Also, the "search" function in Windows Vista isn't working... it doesnt find anything! Ugh x 2.
To end on a bit of good news, I guess: I weighed in this morning at 211.2 lbs (after running of course!), which is the lowest I've weighed in probably 2 years, since the end of my stay in Barbados. And I did spend the 2 hours waiting in line this morning revising my WRF-Andes manuscript. It's coming together well, and I hope to submit it before I go to Arica on Oct 14th.