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 …
The first sound is never the birds
Neither the coo of the pigeon in the palm
Nor the call of the scrub blackbird
Trash truck sounds first
Diesel motor idle roar
Of tired haulers
(Car alarms activated)
Fresh bread morning whistles
Ice cream tricycle kazoos
Old Marta shouting, “Ta-ma-le-ta-ma-le-ta-ma-le!”
(The first time I listened late and heard ma-le-ta [suitcase] not tamale)
Pounding, drilling, sanding, scraping
Eleven million vying
Relax and respond
Never the first, never the last
Yet always the soothe in the din-
Awareness revealing the bird-song
For the coo of the pigeon in the palm
And the call of the scrub blackbird
. Lima, Peru 2019
When you live and work in Peru, your company/ organization has the legal obligation to check your health every two years. It is rather ridiculous.
This morning I arrived Jockey Salud at about 6:50AM and checked in. The clerk at the counter on the second floor told me to sit down because they were not attending yet. I sat down. About five minutes later a different employee told me to go stand in line because they were attending now. I returned to the first clerk who seemed to not remember telling me to sit down.
First they sent me to get my blood drawn on floor two. Then they sent me to the sixth floor to have my eyes checked. The attendant/ doctor/ nurse told me that my glasses are fine for my needs. I knew this. What I didn’t know is the name nor title of the person attending me.
Then, still on the 6th floor, I went to be weighed and have my height measured. This attendant/ doctor/ nurse told me to take off my shoes (very light weight) but keep on the two jackets that I was wearing this chilly morning. I was told a weight that I have never weighed in my life. Blood pressure and oxygen saturation also measured, I went to wait in the hall.
The next attendant/ doctor/ nurse listened to my lungs and heart, pressed my stomach, and had me touch my nose with my arms extended. She made sure I could move my arms and legs. Then, only looking at the numbers she was handed, told me that my numbers were with in all of the normal ranges. So far, the only person who looked at me was the eye attendant/ doctor/ nurse. Ironic?
Then down to the 5th floor to see the psychologist. I was asked to draw a human figure and copy some figures from another page without erasing. Before coming to this appointment someone told me to make sure I drew a line for the ground in my picture. Odd. The psychologist did not tell me his name or title either. The door said “Psychology.” When he asked me if I feel stress at work I laughed and said, “I work with 6th graders; it’s part of the job.” He seemed concerned. We agreed that it was not excessive nor something to be concerned about.
They sent me back to the second floor for a chest X-Ray and told me I could go home.
No names, no titles, very limited eye contact, no explanations about what was going to happen or why we were doing this.
I need to see if I can have my own doctor do this work, look at me, pay attention to me and inform me. I would be willing to do this on my own time with my own money to not feel like a widget on an assembly line.
The results will be sent to the school. Will anyone besides me look at the results? What if I am overweight or need new glasses? I’m not and I don’t, but what if? What are the consequences? Can they fire me for saying no to the tests? What about for having a fast pulse? This has never been explained to me.
Maybe we are just going through an assembly line, a legal requirement.
When I returned to school I received an email telling me that I signed in late to work using the fingerprint scanner. Although that email felt like a real slap in the face from the folks who sent me to this appointment, at least they notice me and noticed I was gone, unlike the attendants/ doctors/ nurses at Jockey Salud.
At the naturalization ceremony about three weeks ago, they told us that our resident ID cards would no longer be valid in one month. They told us to go get our DNIs right away. So, I started the process.
The folks at the RENIEC, the ones who process the DNI (documento nacional de identidad), told me it would take about two months and I could expect to have it on October 1, 2018, about one month after my resident ID card expired. None of my family and friends thought it would take so long.
The family and friends were correct: on August 20, 2018 I picked up my DNI. It took less than three weeks! Well done, RENIEC! How about that wanted-dead-or-alive face in the picture?!?!
Next steps: get a passport and change the documents associated with my bank accounts.
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.
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.
The correction came yesterday afternoon: I can go to Migraciones as of Friday, March 2, 2018. Let’s see what happens next!