Saturday, March 07, 2009

run home

There are days in our lives for which we wait with painful anticipation: Christmas, when a child. A sixteenth birthday when a teenager. And the day the FM3 arrives when you are moving to Mexico.

Friday was my day. I drove up to Portland to have lunch with a colleague who retired a few months ago. We ate at what was once one of my favorite restaurants -- and is now just as good under a new name. Catching up with my friend was even better than the meal. He gave me a few "when you retire" pointers that I will put to good use.

Then I grabbed a copy of my signed passport, my Oregon State Police "he-has-not-been-caught-doing-anything-bad" letter, and an apostilled copy of my income source -- and headed to the Mexican consulate.

I arrived to the same general pandemonium as my last two visits. But my appointment with the consulate assistant was literally an oasis of calm in a hurricane.

She called me to the desk right at my appointed time. I handed over my documents. She took my photograph and three fingerprints. I paid $134. I was done. And out the door in less than 25 minutes.

In two visits (I do not count the first one where I surrendered in ignorance), I had the document that will let me enter Mexico as a resident retiree. And I must give credit where credit is due. If Paty of
Casa de PATY had not provided me with the information on how to find the visa office, I would have simply abandoned the task.

Jennifer Rose, of course, kept encouraging me with the Portland consulate's reputation for customer service. I thank both of them. Blogdom is a great support center.

On Friday night I also closed another chapter in my Salem social life. For several years I have had season tickets to our local theater. I realized that tonight will be my last visit to that theater.

I almost did not attend. The play was "Seussical," one of those Broadway productions of mindless pap that is designed to separate tourists from Des Moines from their hard-earned dollars.

I almost did not attend. But I am glad I did. The show turned out to be as hollow as a politician's promise, but it was just good plain fun.

Even more important, it gave me an opportunity to say goodbye to cast and audience members -- some I have known for 30 years. But like all good relationships, we will continue to tell each other's stories -- no matter where we are and what documents we carry.


Paty said...

I did nothing special to help you; you would have found the correct office eventually. Those of us with webbed feet must help one another, especially with our adventure in new lands.

Have no fear, your encounters with endless bureaucrats and mind-numbing paperwork will continue. But living in Mexico is worth it; nothing short of being shot at would motivate me to leave my new country. There is a quote you will see once in a while that essentially says, "When the dust of Mexico settles on your heart, you will find no peace in any other land". It has certainly been true for me.

Miguelito said...

A lawyer with a clean bill of crime from the police? How many can say that? You are to be commended. I hereby commend you.

Babs said...

Yee ha - let the FUN begin!

Steve said...

Paty -- I assure you, after my first strike out, I was ready to never enter the lobby of the consulate. But I learned quite a bit going through the process.

Miguelito -- Praised with faint damns. I accept them on behalf of the entire profession.

Babs -- I asure you that the fun began years ago. It merely keeps on rolling.

glorv1 said...

Congratulations Steve. I wonder how you will post once you're in MexicoLand. Will you be the same serious sounding but once in a while joking type of person? It remains to be seen, but hey I sure will be looking forward to reading what you have to say. Take care and hugs to Senor Jiggs.

Steve said...

Gloria -- I assure you that the guy I am is the guy I will be.

Anonymous said...


I'm sure you have been informed about having to go immigration where you are going to live within 30 days for their stamps and so forth.

Steve said...

I knew. But thank you for the reminder. I will be registering in Manzanillo.

1st Mate said...

Steve - the hard work is over on the Fm-3, I'm sure when it comes to renewal time you'll be able to do it yourself. Hey, I did it, and with your background you're a lot more qualified. Wish I could stick around til you get here but we will probably head north around March 28. Anyway, I spent a couple of days in Melaque and I thought of you a lot while I was there. Maybe I'll be able to get some photos on March 17.

Steve said...

1st Mate -- I am now looking forward to the registration and renewal processes. Getting through one bureaucratic blockade is encouragement to take on the next one. Sorry I will miss you this trip, but we will run into one another one of these days. I will be driving through Guymas around 18 April.

aighmeigh said...

Congrats! It's so nice to see how everything is coming together so nicely for you! I know it has to feel so nice to check those things off your list! :)

elliott said...

Well, I'm not sure about Manzanillo, but you'll only be 4 hours away from our community theatre here in Lakeside. Actually, I'll be very surprised if they don't have something equally as hilarious in Manz. Congratulations on your FM3, and by the way, I'm very pleased to be on your blogroll. Thanks!

Steve said...

Aighmeigh -- Thanks for the encouragement. My issues really pale next to the procedural hurdles you have faced and crossed.

Elliott -- I am certain I will find some theatre in Mexico. Thanks for the tip. I have been enjoying your blog.

Larry Lambert, Mazatlan said...

Woo hoo, you're on your way. Really. Now you can sit back, think about it, and accept that the physical journey has started. As soon as you realize that, the mental conditioning begins. It doesn't matter that the body is still in Oregon. You're on the road. You're starting to think about what you'll see on the drive south. About the different food you'll encounter after crossing the border. I'll just bet the professor has seen a certain spring in your step.


ken kushnir said...

Can't wait for the stories we are going to get when you have been here for six months!

Steve said...

Larry -- The visa will be a psychological watershed. I have been trying to avoid thinking about retirement until it gets here, but it is starting to intrude into my thoughts.

Ken -- I trust I will experience nothing but shock and awe.