The singing lady from my previous visit received the documents today. She was very kind with a positive, can-do spirit. She also had a good sense of humor about the limitations of the system.
We arrived at Migraciones in Breña at 9:45 AM for the 10:15 appointment. The taxi ride, again, took 45 minutes. This time they called me in at 10:00 AM, 15 minutes early. As she reviewed my paperwork she commented, “Hiciste bien tu tarea.” That means that I did my homework well, the papers were all in order. I thought that the amount time in the office would be less this time but I was wrong.
As she reviewed the papers she rearranged them, checked them, returned some of them to me and asked questions. She had me put my fingerprint on several documents and went to the waiting area for Ana Maria’s fingerprint. She asked how I met Ana Maria, if I had ever been to Arequipa, what I teach. I couldn’t tell if this was normal conversation or her checking out the veracity of our marriage. She also asked why we were giving her all of the documents that were required for our marriage license from 17 years ago. I explained the problem with my last name, at which time the lady from last week chimed in with an, “I remember you; they gave you two last names.” Yep, that’s why we returned.
Then the singing attendant took out two highlighters, one pink and one yellow. She began looking through the list of arrivals and departures that Ana Maria and I had in the system; she wanted to see if we were both in Peru when we married and if we traveled together. She also took out two forms that I needed to fill out and sign. I asked her, “Aren’t these the same two forms that are on the second page of the other form, the one I already filled out and signed?”
She smiled and said, “Yes, they are. Please fill them out.” Her demeanor told me that she understood the stupidity of it. I appreciated that. Systems!
Ready to open the new citizenship file in the computer she logged in and, well, everything can’t go right: the system was down. After trying several other computers she looked for and found a tech specialist. The mere presence of the specialist threatened the computer enough to make the system work (a very similar thing happened to me at school a few months ago!).
At about 11:20 I left her office with the number of my case file and a promise that I would hear an answer in 30 working days. I also had her office phone extension because as she said, “Sometimes it takes longer and you have to call. But we try and we are getting better.”
This was a day of good service in a year of good service. Now I wait.