“I’m sorry, you can only register one of your documents today,” the woman behind the counter told Ray. He stood there with all 10 of the documents (9 birth certificates and a marriage certificate) that need to be registered before we can begin the process of getting our visa to live in Uruguay. Although he wasn’t clear why only one document, he dutifully filled out the form and paid the fee and then returned home. When he told me, we mused that maybe it was too late in the day–the office opens at 10:30 but he didn’t get there until 1:30pm, just 2 hours before closing time, So, the very next morning, he and I went together to the office, getting there just after opening, with the remaining 9 documents and high hopes of getting them all registered. We got the same employee that he helped him the afternoon before. She now said that we could register 2 of the documents. She then explained that there was a limit to just one document that could be registered per person per day. When we asked why she gave a long, confusing explanation, that we understand to have something to do with insufficient government funds. So we left with two more documents registered and only 7 to go.
So, the next morning we decided we would just bring the whole family to the office and hope that even young children count for the “one document, per person, per day” rule. It is a little bit of a long walk to the office, so we decided we would get an early start at 10am. But when we awoke in the morning, we realized the electricity wasn’t working. So Ray sought to try to fix it and then call the electric company while I tried to figure out what I would make for breakfast without opening our refrigerators, one of which barely keeps our food cold under the best circumstances. The lights came back on around 10am, and we got our whole group out the door.
We were happy to discover that our same employee was helping us, and she was pleased to allow us to finish all remaining seven documents, as long a different person would sign each form, and that when we went to the cashier, one person would pay for no more than 2 documents. So, it was a bit confusing to work out who would sign what and who would pay for which, but we successfully completed the task.
We were home by noon and looking forward to a quiet day getting some work done around the home (Michele) and home office (Ray) after having had a busy day the day before. The day was mostly quiet and without incident. In the evening I set to work on dinner. I discovered my chicken had a horrible stench (maybe in part due to the time without electricity?) and that the stove wouldn’t work because it was too windy (the kitchen is outside). Providentially, I had enough food in the house to make something else, and was able to put it in shifts in our small oven. Ray unpacked our printer in order to allow us to print out some visa documents, as well as information on rental houses. He got out the adapter and plugged it in. Oops. He forgot to use a “step down converter” (which converts the electricity from 220 volts to 110 volts so one doesn’t destroy one’s electronics). It only took seconds and the electrical connection was completely fried, and just like that we no longer own a working printer!
I have related what a random day was like to give an idea of what our lives are like just weeks into our new life in Uruguay. There really isn’t a typical day, as we work on getting paperwork ready for our visa, try to get closer to finding a rental home and generally just learn how to live in a place that is new and different. We are enjoying the city and learning new things. Some things are harder than others. Taking the bus still feels foreign and intimidating, and so far we have only taken it with the whole family for church on Sundays, when it is less crowded. Rare is the day when I am not at the grocery store or the feria (outdoor market). But that gets me out in the community, practicing Spanish and learning how to shop. Overall, we are thankful that the Lord has brought us here, but even more thankful that He promises to care and provide for us.