Saturday, September 15, 2007

Residencia

Spanish for "Residency". I flew to S. Jose on Wednesday to meet with my immigration lawyer at the Departamento de Inmigración to obtain my cedula for residencia. I had a 10:15 AM appointment and my lawyer was on time. But, as I fully expected, Inmigración wasn't. All in all, the process went smoothly. I was called up once to confirm my information and present bank deposit receipts for the processing fees (which my lawyer had already obtained for me by transfering the money I had transferred to him, to the Immigration Department's account). I then went back to the waiting room to await being called up for my picture and fingerprints.

While in the waiting room talking to my lawyer, a commotion broke out next to us. I rubbernecked right to see the end of a bank of waiting room chairs tilted up in the air and about to fall on the heads of the row of people in front of it. A guy with lightning reflexes caught the leg of the upended bank of chairs before it came crashing down on women and children.

Apparently, an elderly and very portly gringo had sat down on the end seat with no one else sitting on the row of chairs as counter balance to his enormity. He took a roll onto the floor, face down, when the bank of chairs teetered up and wasn't moving when I went over to see if he was alright. Eventually he grumbled, "I'm OK", and 4 of us in waiting helped him back to his feet. He spent the rest of the time I was there waiting in a standing position. My lawyer whispered to me, "Only in Costa Rica".

After 15 minutes or so, I was called back for my picture and fingerprints to be taken electronically. After that I waited another 15 minutes until my cedula card was handed to me. I am now VERY PROUD to say that I am a "Residente Permanente" ("Permanent Resident") of the Republica de Costa Rica!

¡Pura vida!

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