A few days ago, a new student arrived in my EAL class in Peru ( EAL- English as an additional language.). The new student speaks Korean and Japanese, and has studied a bit of English; all of the classes, though, are taught in English, except the Spanish class. So, picture yourself in that situation: You are new to an English speaking school in a Spanish speaking country; you are about 12 years old; you speak two languages that have little to do with where you are now. Difficult, to say the least.
To begin the class, I asked students to introduce themselves to the new student. My students are very welcoming so this was easy for them. They clearly tried to make connections with him as they mentioned music, games, and other cultural ideas that he might be interested in. Then, one of the newer students introduced himself saying something like, “I am also new here, not quite as new as you, and I found it easy to make friends here. I hope you also are able to make friends. I will be your friend.”
I will be your friend.
Imagine the world if this is how everyone received new people, immigrants, refugees, the stranger, the unknown. It could happen.
I will be your friend. This gives me hope.
Today is Election Day in the United States. Please vote. And when you vote, please consider your beliefs, your values. When I vote, I tend to think about the greater good. I think about the people who have not had the luck, the blessings that I have had. I consider the Catholic Church’s preferential option for the poor, the impoverished. Who would create conditions and policies that would favor them?
I also think about welcoming the stranger, the migrant, and the children. Which candidate will create conditions at home and abroad where all feel welcome and safe? No one wants to be forced to leave home, but sometimes it is necessary for reasons of health and safety. Who will be welcoming while helping to create a world where migrating is a choice, not a matter of life or death?
I think about education. When quality education is available for all, possibilities emerge, futures are possible. Education never stops; we never stop learning. Which candidate will create conditions so that life-long learners have the opportunity to think critically? I want people to think deeply and from various perspectives. I want people to see the world in shades of grey while avoiding dualistic thinking. We weave the tapestry of the world with many colored threads. That beauty is diminished with either/or thinking.I think about the future. When we care for the world, the air, the water, we will preserve the world for future generations. No one wants to breathe dirty air nor drink contaminated water. Which candidate will promote healthy development so that the future is better for all? We know that some resources are non renewable. How are we preparing now for a future without those resources? Which candidates will help us create a better world for the future?
The world I long for, I try to help create everyday, sometimes with more success than others. In addition to the above, I think about rights and responsibilities, the dignity of work, health care, peace, and solidarity with the most vulnerable. My vote can help create that world. I will do my part.
Please do your part and vote your values, hopefully for an inclusive world built on solidarity, love, and hope for all.
In August of 2018 I became Peruvian. Yesterday, I received a message from Migraciones saying that I needed to update my information because I was a foreign national. The only problem? In August of 2018 I became Peruvian. Yesterday, I received …
Yesterday’s low temperature in Minneapolis, twenty eight degrees below zero (-28 °F), is outside my comfort zone. I believe that most people would say the same. At the same time, many people braved the frigid temps to get to work or help a neighbor while others lowered the thermostat in their house so that there will be enough natural gas for all. Again, outside one’s comfort zone.
Today, a friend of mine continued the process of applying for his post secondary education as he set up an interview at an area college, rescheduled the interview because of the cold, and then attended the interview. While I have been supporting him in the process, he is the one moving it all forward, stepping outside his comfort zone.
So, be brave. Take a positive step outside your comfort zone. Try something new and see what happens. Begin that dream journey with a single step, even if, especially if, it’s outside your comfort zone.
Remember though, dress warmly if it is -28 °F.
Well, it finally happened- I became Peruvian today at an 11:00 AM ceremony!
We were asked to arrive at 10:00 AM for the rehearsal… and probably to make sure that everyone arrived on time for the ceremony (they said that there will be pictures and a video available this afternoon and I will add a link to this post when that happens: Link). The ceremony did not start on time which, we were told, is extremely unusual but the official who was in charge had to take a “high level phone call.”
I was asked to be one of the speakers at the ceremony and I agreed. I have no idea why I was asked to speak- perhaps because others said no, perhaps because I was sitting in an aisle seat. There was also a woman from Dominican Republic who spoke; one man, one woman.
During the ceremony, the new citizens sat on the left side of the room while the guests sat on the right side of the room. On the left side, the women sat in the first rows and the men sat toward the back. Odd. This separated some couples.
The ceremony ended by 11:45 AM. It included an oath-taking, singing of the national anthem, a roll call of names where we received our new document and a rousing speech by the, um, head of migraciones? I am not sure of his name. Very Patriotic!
Now I will apply for my DNI (the national ID card) and then my Peruvian Passport.
A very good day! It was also the first day of school here in Lima so I needed a substitute on the first day.
A big thanks to Ana Maria, my extended family, my school family and Peru for this opportunity and all of the support during this process. ¡Viva Peru!
That part about Tuesday or Wednesday? Nope. It’s Thursday. This Thursday. This first-day-of-the-new-school-year Thursday. The day after tomorrow, August 2, 2018, I will become Peruvian. I offer apologies to my students and colleagues for my absence but I do not dare ask to go on a different day and put at risk this ten month odyssey; in 25 years of teaching I have never missed the first day.
I will bring a voucher from the Banco de la Nación for S/. 15.80 (that’s about $5.00), Form F002, and my ID card. I will arrive before the 10:00 AM ceremony in formal attire (coat and tie?) with my one guest, my wife, and go to windows 38 and 39 in Room 5 on the first floor (those are the details from the email that I received).
Watch for pictures in just a few days! Yep, I’m pretty excited.
The phone call never came… but the email did on July 20, 2018. It said that Migraciones was ready to make me a Peruvian citizen and that I should contact them when I returned to Peru (I was visiting family in Minnesota). So, I did. (In all fairness, it is possible that they called but I could not receive the call when I was out of the country.)
Today, I contacted Migraciones and was told that my name would be added for the next ceremony. The ceremonies usually happen Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 10:00 AM. In the next few days (after Fiestas Patrias here in Peru) I will receive an email with all of the details.
I await the next step.
When I wake up in the morning, sometimes I think, “Today will be the day!”
Today will be the day when the president of the United States says, “See how easy it was? See how easy it was to take a nation and lead its citizens down a path of fear and scapegoating? To prey on your insecurities? See how easy it was to take a nation, desperate for a hero in the age of Marvel Comics movies, and get you to follow me, look up to me, be afraid of me? Did you see how I quickly made our friends into enemies and our enemies into friends? Now do you understand how other countries allow despots to rise to and stay in power?
“Vilifying the other is easy. I showed you that, and you need reflect on your response. Now for the hard part- loving our neighbor. Now that I’ve got your attention, let us work together to find common sense solutions that will bring us together. Let us remember the values that make us who we are. Let us remember our common humanity, knowing that by working together, with and through our differences, we can find common ground for the common good. That is what my leadership is all about. Life is not a zero-sum game where there are only winners and losers. Life is about becoming, becoming better tomorrow than we were yesterday, seeing the other as ourselves, and walking together.
“I invite you to walk with me down this bumpy road. We make this road by walking, just as we create the world every day by what we say, what we do, and how we treat each other. The power is in our hands to become, to grow together, to share our common humanity.”
Unfortunately, today is not that day. Maybe tomorrow.
Here’s a quick update on my process here in Peru.
During the last installment of Becoming Peruvian I mentioned that Migraciones would call me during the first week of May. No one called. It is now the second week of June and I have yet to receive a call. Ana Maria contacted the folks at Migraciones and they told her that the call will come. They also said not to worry if we will be traveling out of the country- if no one answers the phone, they will call back.
Good to know. I continue to wait.
Letter in hand we headed to Migraciones today. The trip only took about 35 minutes, starting at 10:15 A.M., from La Molina; so far so good.
We arrived and quickly found Room 5 on the first floor, it’s the one straight ahead in the back, and I got in line to get my number. The lady handing out numbers told me to go directly to desk 44, just like the letter said, and not wait for my number to be called. The security guard told me I had to wait for my number to be called. I waited.
A few minutes later my number was called by the lady at desk 45. When I got there I asked Raquel about the letter, Mr. José and desk 44. She said she could help me… and she did. She found my file and went through the pages putting sticky notes on many of the pages and asking about “Islay,” the district where Mollendo, Peru is located. Thankfully, Ana Maria was there to answer the questions. She asked why I had two different passport numbers (the U.S. changed my number a few years ago) and was satisfied with the answer and my showing her my passport. She did not ask about the names on the marriage certificate.
Questions answered, she showed me the document she had prepared and asked me to check it for accuracy. I appreciated that. Then she handed me a pen and I signed three copies of the document that she had prepared. Then I marked each of the three pages with my fingerprint, right index finger. She kept the three copies. I thanked her and headed toward the door where they checked my backpack to see if I was stealing anything. I wasn’t.
In two months they will call me to set a time for the ceremony. Then I will become Peruvian. Based on previous experience, I am expecting the call in three months, or four. I hope to be proven wrong in my prediction. Everyone was very nice and the process is in motion.