Last week I received a call from the office person at the Chilean embassy informing me that they were ready for me to bring in my passport and pay the fee. Anyone who is in my world at the moment will know that over the past 1.5 months I’ve been fulfilling my sickness quota for the entire year: getting all the flus and colds out of the way (repeat after me, the cup is half full.. the cup is half). Life being life there are still deadlines to meet and things to be done, suffice to say that I’ve been feeling pretty tired… and If you don’t know this already, sleepiness is my blondeness trigger… what am I saying… I’m not unfamiliar with doing embarrassing things when I’m fully rested. Yes, I sometimes make a fool of myself, and I’m making no excuse for it (but really, I only do blonde things when I’m sleepy, cough, cough).
Upon arriving the embassy (haha gate, who’s in control now huh – see my last post if you don’t know what I’m talking about) the lady behind the desk gave me a form and asked me to check that the information was correct and then to sign at the bottom. As I peered down at the form I realised it’s in Spanish!! (que sound effects) Breathe, this is fine, this is no problem, you’ve been learning Spanish, this is the first of many times you’re going to be looking at forms in Spanish, you’re doing fine in your paper and are prepared for this. Just read it. Ok.., nombre: Amanda, yep, that’s right. Apellido: Williamson. Ok ok. This is fine. Everything looks fine. Great, and now I’m signing. Done. Next, thumb prints. (I know exciting right, it’s like I’m a criminal!!). Done!
The lady was so lovely that she allowed me to go to the staff bathroom to wash the ink off my hands properly. I’m already feeling very nervous at this point, so am being extra careful not to break anything… it happens more often then you might think… I happily washed my hands in the bathroom and was ready to move onto the next task on the embassy’s agenda .. then looked down at the basin. Oh deary me. Oh nooo. The beautiful pristine basin was BLACK from the ink on my thumb. I got ink everywhere.
I splashed water on it: nothing. This needed elbow grease. After a good five minutes of cleaning (or should I say moving the ink around) I finally got it clean.
I walked back to the reception quite relieved really, and gave the receptionist a big smile. “Amantha” (I love how my name sounds with accents!), “you’ve signed in the date column ”, and there goes my smile. “Oh gosh, yes, oh I signed where it says fecha”. What can I say really, yes fecha (date) and firma (signature) look very similar, but… nope there’s nothing. “Sorry”. Round two, two new documents, two new thumb prints two signatures and another trip to the bathroom…another go at cleaning the basin.
“Ok, what next” I asked after emerging from another round of basin cleaning. “Amantha, I’m sorry, but I printed the documents with yellow marking on them, and that’s not allowed, we’re going to have to do that again”. After six thumb prints and two trips to wash the ink off my thumb I had it down.
“Finally we’re done. Now all you need to do is take this deposit slip down to the bank on the corner and then bring back the receipt”. Ok that sounds fairly simple. So I walk down to the corner. Where is the bank? Nope, can’t see it. Upon asking for directions (yes, that’s what women do, men take note, there’s no shame in asking for directions) I marched down to the lights I was told the bank was infront of. Then I asked someone else for directions because I still couldn’t see it. “You’re standing outside the bank now, the entrance is just there”. So I walk on in. Surely enough I see the words bank everywhere. But I can’t see any tellers etc. So I walk up to the receptionist and say “I just want to do some banking, I want to make a deposit using this slip, where do I go” The lady’s face goes completely red as if she’s holding her breath, and puffs of air escape from her mouth as she trys to talk with a straight face. “Um” (she says holding back her laughter, chin quivering) “you’re at the reserve bank”. Crap. I turn around and she’s right, that big word in front of bank, ”reserve”. Oh crap.
I swear she was reaching for her phone to make a twitter update about the girl who wanted to do some banking at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as I was walking out. I could hear her giggles.
The sign says bank!
I eventually got back to the embassy with a receipt from a bank that actually does banking.
I should get my visa and passport from the Chilean Embassy this week or next.