The Gods of Document Hades

People like to complain about their government all the time. It’s bureaucracy, inefficiency, and the list goes on. On a day to day basis, I don’t really have to interact with the government. Sure, there are laws created by our State legislature, or even Congress, that govern how we do banking, drive on our roads or even how our children are taught in school. Those things are so automatic, we don’t think of them as ‘dealing with the government’. They are just there.

So, rarely do I need to go to an actual government office to get something done, unless maybe to renew my drivers license, but even that I can do online. Usually, I’m working through some abstraction. A layer that makes it appear as though it’s something else. But on this march to our consulate appointment, I’ve had to deal directly with the US government. And folks, let me tell you, it’s not pretty.

After waiting 4 months for our FBI background checks that were supposed to be done much earlier, we decided to have them redone by a spending on a vetting service. I should have done this in the first place, and I would recommend ID Vetting service to anyone who is going through this process. Wonderful, responsive.

But the funny thing is – yesterday, I got the original submissions we made, in the mail. Two big, yellow envelopes from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. And what did I learn? That I still have no criminal history. Where there once was a drought of FBI background checks in our house – now I’m lousy with them. Oh well, I’d rather have too many, than too few. But I’m glad we didn’t wait the 3 1/2 weeks additional or I’d be just sending them off to the State Department in an overnight envelope today.

Getting the Apostille from the US State Department has been more frustrating. Paid for over night shipping. Took them 3 days to log it in and then two weeks to action them. But today, I got the notification from a very nice young man at the Department of Authentications. Our documents will be arriving within the next 7 days.  I actually teared up when he told me. We are in the home stretch – if the US mail delivers them – because they didn’t use the FedEx Envelope I included with my submissions. Crossing my fingers they’re already in Spanish.

Will I complain about Spanish bureaucracy – a whole new set of regulations in a language I’m not fluent in? Sure, but it will be no worse than my own country. Filling out forms in triplicate, writing checks for amounts that are not commiserate with the importance of the thing you’re trying to accomplish. But after all this, I’m ready for it.

I made another decision today. I’ve decided to push out our consulate appointment. I’m done doing daily calculations on how to trick the space/time continuum. Looking on their website, miraculously, they have 2 slots for the first week in February. Sold! It throws off our timing a bit on when we might leave the US but I’m working through that too. I had booked a hotel the night before in Los Angeles. Turns out, it’s cheaper to stay there a week later so they’re crediting my account for the difference. Thinking optimistically, perhaps The Gods of Document Hades might just be smiling on me now.

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