So I did it. I finally did my stupid government errands for my permanent residency. I call them stupid because it seems like an unnecessary waste of time (and manpower for the people working there) to have to wait in line for documents that could be solicited through the mail or online (to be fair, some of them can be downloaded online, just not one of these). But this is Latin America and where would we be if we didn’t make a bureaucratic hurdle of everything?
I’d been dragging my feet on this because I knew it was going to be a hassle to leave the apartment with Squeaker and head into the unforgiving downtown/Plaza de Armas area. We usually are about 20-30 minutes behind schedule because of a last-minute crisis, weighed down by diapers and random but necessary baby supplies, and dealing with bouts of unexplained crying (sometimes mine).
Actually, everyone I had talked to said that having a small baby would be a good luck charm. Since Chileans are so respectful of small children, they would bump me to the front of the line, they claimed. Oh, you mean like how they all gave up their seat on the bus/metro when I was pregnant? *sarcasm*. Poor me, I know.
she it worked. People were practically dragging me to sit down on the metro and when I declined, because we were only going one stop, they looked at me like I had said, “No, thanks, I’m going to keep standing until the mother ship beams us up. Any second now…”
Everyone was very curious about her. How many months? What’s her/his/its name? (Once again she was wearing pink, people.) How well behaved that baby is! Then the odd, “Excuse me, but can you tell me how much she will weigh at five months?”
The woman opened her shopping bag and explained through her Brazilian accent that she had been shopping for a friend with a five-month-old baby and had no idea what size clothes or diapers to buy. Did I, by chance, know? As we know, one baby makes one a baby expert.
On a side note, that’s not the first time I’ve been stopped and asked for baby size advice. I must look more approachable with a cherubic infant strapped to my chest. It’s hard to scowl and entertain baby. (Remind me to put that on my resume, “Baby expert to people on the street”.)
I wasn’t the only one to show up at Immigration with a baby either. Two Peruvian women beat me to the door. Each had a baby and theirs were crying. I ended up holding the line for one as went to unload some things with a friend. Come on, Squeaker, you couldn’t have been a little noisier?
At our second stop, the woman who helped me was the same woman who married us a year ago. I wonder if the little twinkle in her stoic eyes meant she remembered?
I have almost everything else for my visa. The only thing I’m missing is a statement about why I want permanent residency. This is as bad as those stupid (there I go with that original adjective again) college entrance essays. Can I simply say: “Because I like your country and I have a Chilean husband and a baby who really needs me to be her milk/diaper/crusty-boogie-remover servant”?
If not, I’m stumped.