First, You gotta find the Door

DATELINE VALENCIA – I got it all goin’ on today. My list is packed and so is my appointment calendar. I thought starting my day at 9am with a meeting with a lawyer would be perfect. I could get a good nights sleep and be refreshed from my travels. Yeah, NO! Woke up every 3 hours, stayed awake for 2, and so on.

So when my alarm went off at 7:30 I was completely in a deep slumber state that didn’t want to go away. I was late to my meeting with the lawyer – something I never, ever do. Being late is my only vice. OK, maybe that’s not true, but its something I pride myself on never being. And I certainly don’t like to kick off business relationships that way.

I’d like to say I was late because I couldn’t find the door. But I was already a few minutes late before my door hunting started. And once I found the front door, I couldn’t find the actual door to the offices in the building. Now I know I’m tired, but I’m not that tired. I walked around and around the block. Then I went in through an unmarked door and up the stairs. No offices looked very lawyerly. I went back down and out the front door. I looked up at the building – hoping for a sign. Nothing.  I went back in and up again. Finally, I rang the bell on a door that looked like it might be a hair salon. But when it opened, it was indeed my lawyer’s office. And while the building looked a little dodgy, the offices themselves were rather spacious and very nice.

He was helpful – although they didn’t offer coffee, which I desperately needed. The menu of services are impressive and he’ll help with everything I need on all matters that require contracts for settling in Valencia. So I’m good to go there. But to do that, he needed power of attorney. This required us to go across town to a ‘Notaria’. These people are essential in Spanish bureaucracy and they’re in high demand.

I was able to get squeezed in to accomplish this essential task. I understood none of it. It was then that I realized I needed a lawyer to review the POA I was signing for my first lawyer – because it’s all in Spanish and I speak Nada Espanol. Damn you, Rosetta Stone! You’ve been focusing me on bouquet’s of flowers, apples and cars. No where in my lessons have there been legal terms like ‘Notaria’.

This task is completed and I pay money for these two pieces of paper. Now my lawyer and I part ways and I head to the bank to open my first Spanish bank account and get insurance. Very exciting but when I get there I have a similar problem to the one I had before. How do I get in the building? I can see the people in there through the glass. But I can’t figure out how they got in there and I can’t get in there myself.

I thought about pressing my face up against it and looking like a lost puppy, but finally a woman came out and showed me the button I would push. It’s the red one, btw. The one that looks like it would set off an alarm, because, well it has an alarm symbol on it. But that’s the one. People in the bank were laughing at me as I came in, red-faced and quietly asked for the woman who has been helping me via email for many weeks now.

Three hours later, many photo copies of my documents, many phone calls (even had to call my cellphone company to enable ‘short messaging’) because I’m me and nothing runs smoothly on my side of the river. And then voila! we have a Spanish Bank account! And I almost have Spanish Health Insurance!  I’m like a real live girl, as far as Spain is concerned.

Now I just have to head downstairs to meet with my Gestor and start the apartment hunt. I just hope I’ll be able to find the door!

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