Not all Sunshine....
We’ve been here almost a month now, and it is idyllic. But for any of our blog readers who may be getting fed up with endless glimpses of La Vida Loca as provided through our writing, we just wanted to reassure you that life is not all sunshine.
Yesterday provided a slight reality check. Firstly, the weather this week has been unsettled - some incredible cloud formations, a thunderstorm, a few heavy downpours. We can cope with this, as we know that it will not last for too long, and the country needs rain. In fact, we both love dramatic weather, so ‘blow winds and crack your cheeks’.
However, yesterday saw our second visit to the Oficina de Extranjeros and we realised that the accounts of other experiences are not to be taken lightly. You will recall that we have been to the Oficina twice previously: once on a national holiday and the second time, we were handed another form to complete and sent away. This time, we thought that we had everything we need, based on information we have gleaned from a wealth of sources - bank statements that show that we are not likely to be a burden on the state, and evidence that we have medical cover.
Our third visit, yesterday, just brought it home how woefully inadequate our knowledge of Spanish is. Generally we have found that the system is efficient. We had an appointment and we were seen fairly promptly. The chap behind the desk had a good look through the paperwork we provided and the EX18 forms we had completed, and asked a few questions, but we were ill-prepared to answer them. The EX18 forms are needed if we are to live in Spain for longer than 3 months. Our Spanish extends, with a degree of confidence, to asking for beer, food and the bill, not as far as replying to numerous administrative queries regarding our residential status. Andrew displayed more confidence than me; I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a juggernaut!
It transpired that one month’s worth of bank statements is not enough; we need to provide 6. We also need to show the policy document for our medical insurance so that the extent of the cover can be ascertained, which is fair enough.
We both left feeling somewhat chagrined, and were pretty silent as we walked into town. The confidence gained from our first week at language school had pretty much evaporated as we realised how much we have to do to feel unlike complete aliens in Spain.
Mind you, we both managed to get great haircuts as a treat, and we woke up today to a beautiful morning here in the valley and the weather looks settled again for the foreseeable future. We learn by our experiences, and if the Oficina de Extranjeros want half a ream of bank statements, then they shall have them! Stay tuned for visit no. 4…..in the meantime, dos cervezas por favor.
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