Thursday, October 29, 2015
Cedula cards obtained. . . What We're Doing Now
Has it been that long since an update from us? Looks like it has! Oh, boy, where to begin. . . (smile)
As we have begun to reestablish contacts with our Cuencano/Cuencana friends, we have been blessed by the Lord in a number of ways. For starters, now that we have our Resident Visas in hand, we were finally able to procure our Ecuadorian National Identification cards, our Cedula cards. We emailed our Facilitator in Quito some pertinent information that is found on the cards, and sent him our US Passports again - for the fourth time in the entire process from start to finish - and received them back within a few days with a couple of official documents needed for processing the Cedula cards. We also had to supply copies of our first page of our US Passports, as well as copies of our new Indefinido Visas just obtained that were recently processed by the Ministario de Relaciones Exteriores. Oh, and pay $40 total for the two of us for processing the Cedula cards at Registro Civil, located on one of the streets, as it turned out, that we had stayed while tourists last year at a very nice vacation condo we enjoyed.
From start to finish, obtaining our Cedulas took a total of two calendar weeks. . . a far cry from all that we previously endured in getting our Visas!
Registro Civil is far better than visiting a DMV office in California. There are similarities, to be sure, but there are helpful differences. Registro Civil, by the way, is where you go to register birth, marriage, and death certificates besides obtaining ID cards which the Cedula card is, of course. One of the good differences is that there's no waiting line there. Our legal receptionist, Merci, let us know that up to a few years ago Registro Civil had no seats to sit on and also had waiting lines outside the front door that were long and not well managed. We were glad to sit on the nicely contoured seats and not have to wait in much of any lines (two of 'em). Pretty nice deal if you ask me. Nice modern clean office, too.
They're modern in technological ways, too. You'd see if you were there the television screens saying in Spanish - of course - "Now serving S24" or words similar. Just like the California DMV does with a queuing system just like we were already used to. Same robotic female type voice, too. The guards assist in shouting out the service update numbers so that the clients are properly informed. . . you won't be passed over for service if your hearing is intact.
I went to my station with documents in hand and answered a few questions about where I lived and if everything on the application was correct. I said we live in a different sector - neighborhood - than what they listed, and they changed it, no fuss. I then got my photo taken (two attempts) - no criminal mug shot, this - but you have to close your mouth for the photo by the clerk's own direction. That's Latin America for you. Then back to my seat to wait to obtain my new Cedula card.
Carolyn Anne went through the same process with a different clerk (can't wear glasses for the photo, by the way) but due to technological problems with the computer software she got delayed in getting her information entered. This likely ended up in getting her card taking longer to process and make, as I got my card from the next station earlier than she did. We had to patiently wait one more time once again for about 45 minutes due to the technological snafu, but she did get it. You have to look over the card and make sure the information is all correct, then you hand the card back to the clerk, who activates the computer chip embedded in the Cedula card, and you're good to go!
The end result is a Cedula card that is in color, with fingerprint, thick and durable. You *don't* want to lose this card, as it can be a hassle to replace it, from what I have been told by our legal receptionist and other fellow expats here. We've made copies already, and will be using them instead, laminating them to look like the real thing and keeping the originals in our safekeeping. You use the original Cedula cards for things like flying out of the country and so forth. For every day activities, use the copies. That's what the majority of Cedula card holders do, anyways.
Process over! !Gracias adios! (and help from our abogados at Coloaustro and our Facilitator Joseph Guznay as well. . . we couldn't have navigated the whole process of getting our Visas and Cedulas without you.)
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On the relational front, we have been occupied getting our volunteer/professional lives in some kind of direction and order. Carolyn Anne has been volunteering at Clinica Hogar, a ministry through Fundacio'n Hogar of our church here in Cuenca, Iglesia Verbo Cristiana. Her RN nursing skills have not necessarily been used at any kind of high level, but the mundane and tedious support activities she does do, such as organizing and readying medical supplies for later use is ultimately a blessing to those on the staff there. She is happy to do the little things as well as the big things, and with that kind of flexible attitude, she may enjoy her time spent volunteering there.
One important aspect of the volunteer work at Clinica Hogar is prayer. Carolyn Anne engages in prayer with the patients with ease and in a way that assures God's love for them and their family members present. In Spanish, too. . . or may I say in all likelihood, Spanglish. She's improving her Spanish language skills day by day, as I am as well. The improvement in her Spanish is noticeable by those we know, and is of course appreciated by the locals.
I meanwhile have ended up back at "Square One" in my endeavors to obtain a position as a profesor de Ingles at Arco Institute - likewise a ministry of Iglesia Verbo - but not due to anything about me personally. As it turns out, the Directora of Arco quit her position last Friday. Whatever agreement she and I had is now history regarding my future employment there in teaching English to students. I am currently trying to establish contact with the leadership at Verbo to find out who I need to talk to in order to possibly obtain a teaching position there at Arco.
Meanwhile, on another teaching front, I had made a private agreement to teach English to three girls from one family upon my return from the United States. *That* effort turned out for naught as well, as the father decided to pursue Arco Institute as the provider for the girls' lessons. That was, actually, my advice to him before I left for the USA. So I don't feel particularly bad about the outcome, and the girls are getting quality instruction that includes Internet support during the week via a site online. I am, however, in possession of a number of ESL/EFL books I purchased Stateside for these girls that are not going to any immediate use at the moment. We'll have to see how God works that wrinkle out, eh? $200 worth of books, which includes the cost - Stateside only - of shipping the books to me at a friend's California address. They'll get used in due time, just don't know when.
So many new folks - and familiar friends - to see of late, especially through our connections at Iglesia Verbo, and we can't see all of them at once! We have been in regular communication with some new folks we haven't met previously (except via Gringo Post on the 'Net), Peter and Joan Vaughan, and we were able to host them here at the new Ecuador location of Pilgrim's Rest. A delightful time of almuerzo - lunch - and conversation about what God is doing on an international scale. We are blessed to have them here in Cuenca for this season of their lives.
We have several friends from our Celebrando la Recuperacio'n - Celebrate Recovery - group that meets weekly at Iglesia Verbo as well, and we plan to meet with them on an ongoing basis at group. They have missed us, and we them. Due to Carolyn Anne's arthritis flaring up from time to time, we haven't made each meeting since our return to Cuenca, missing one. As it turned out, the entire group sent us a bunch of flowers with a lovely card letting us know we were loved and missed. Wow! We of course didn't miss the next meeting. . . (smile). Actually, I was told privately in group that I am an example for those in the group, considering my life and my age and health status. I told them a little more about myself and my life challenges that night. . . so much I could say, but I kept it short, speaking in Spanish of course. Wonderful folks that the Lord loves more than they may realize. The honesty and humility shared are a marvel to behold.
We'd love to have almuerzo or cena (lunch or supper) with some of these folks in due time. We'll see what develops and where the Lord leads in all of this.
Carolyn Anne maintains connections and visits regularly with some Gringo friends of hers she meets in El Centro (Historic downtown center). We will be attending a social dinner/dance with that circle of friends later in November. Already purchased a pavo (turkey) at Coral for Thanksgiving. Never prepared a turkey here in Ecuador before, and there's sure to be a wrinkle or two in the fixing of that bird. Not too expensive if you buy it from the store frozen like we did. I've seen via Gringo Post that some enterprising Gringos are going to have Thanksgiving Day spreads costing around $50 per person on up. We don't want to blow that kinda money, soooo. . . We'll be here for the big non holiday here in Ecuador that is so well observed in the United States. Who will we invite for the Thanksgiving Day feast? We don't know yet! Stay tuned for what happens next! (smile)
As I was typing this post, it rained a bit this afternoon as it often does here in Cuenca. This time, however, I saw a bright multicolored rainbow that soon became a *double* rainbow! Where it touched land from our vantage point at our condo was in the vicinity of where we had spent so much of the last ten months in obtaining our Visas and Cedulas: the legal district along Calle Juan Peralta south of El Centro, which includes the Corte Judicial where court cases are tried. The Industrial Office Center building, twenty stories high, modern and with windows gleaming, is in the foreground of that legal district. The rainbow touched ground just outside that tall building. Amazing sight to behold!
You can be sure we took a photo of this scene before it changed on us. We'll upload it and get it here for you as time and skill permits. Selah.