I have faced a few challenges this past year. And four of them have something in common. They all begin with the letter “I”.
First came INM. Mounds of paperwork and unnecessary photocopies, redundant photos and fingerprints, and several visits to Migracion here in Guadalajara as well as a visit to the Mexican Consulate in McAllen, Texas.
Several months later, I was the proud recipient of a residente temporal tarjeta. But that was only the beginning!
Next it was time to apply for health insurance. What? That long complicated number on the tarjeta is not my CURP number? I need another number? Of course! More photocopies and photos! And then I magically receive this number on the internet days later.
On to IMSS. CURP number, documents translated from English into Spanish, photocopies, photos, malfunctioning computers in government offices…….. I think that about covers it.
If you want to read more about these experiences, check some of my past blog posts. The “It’s Complicated” series address the health insurance issue. “Finally” deals with the visa process.
In Mexico you can apply for an INAPAM card when you reach the age of sixty. This card entitles you to a variety of discounts, the main one being transportation for me. And they even gave me a new name on this card! And it has a lovely (not) photo of me as well as a fingerprint. By the way Kyle, your name and phone number appear on this card as an emergency contact. Please don’t change your number. I don’t want to go through this ordeal again either anytime soon. Too much paperwork and translated documentation. Oh, and thank you for being my number one son!
The fourth hurdle is the IRS in the USA. I have published two books with an American company. But I am a Canadian, a foreign author. Changes in legislation necessitate that I apply for a tax number or my publisher will withhold a ridiculously high percentage of royalties. A nuisance, but no problem. The form is completed and then submitted.
Weeks later I receive a letter informing me that they require additional information confirming my identity as a Canadian citizen. The two pieces of identification must contain photos. And they request original documents. No photocopies for this country. And the documents are my passport and my driver’s license.
So here I am living in Guadalajara and they expect me to forward these original documents to them. Anyone who lives in Mexico will clearly understand how ludicrous an idea this is!
The letter also provided a phone number in the contact info. But it’s Friday! Apparently the weekend starts early in Austin, Texas. Oh well, there’s always Monday………..
Who is the world is Tennison Miller and why am I writing about her? She hinted at it one day, so here it is.
I live in shared housing here in Tlaquepaque and it is an amazing experience. We share far more than a house together. My housemates come from all over the world, bringing their culture and languages along with them. Stimulating conversations abound and we have incredible adventures together here in Mexico.
Tennison arrived here three weeks ago, along with her bubbling personality and contagious enthusiasm. She hales from Noosa, Australia and has always lived only moments from the beach. Now how awesome is that?
Her first morning here off we went to Jahanve for breakfast. Then we strolled through Centro Tlaquepaque and the Jardin Hidalgo. In the evening we went to an Advent and Carol service at a church.
The next day Tennison began her four hour days of studying Spanish at a language institute, in preparation for her five month university program in Queretero beginning this month. That’s right. “Uni” as she calls it. Tennison is only 19.
While here Tennison attempted to explore Tonola and museums in Centro Guadalajara. Yes, attempted. Not all buses marked 275B go to Tonola. Instead Tennison found herself in St. Martin. And one day in Centro both museums she had chosen were closed. But she did strike up a lively conversation with a Viet Nam war vet, so all was not lost.
And Tennison actually did make it to Tonola. She was on her way back home from the old bus station and missed her stop and wound up in Tonola at night when the markets were closed.
Kidding aside, we sipped many a cappuccino at Jahanve together and I introduced her to authentic Mexican churros. She told me a lot about her life in Australia, and introduced me to extremely useful jargon such as “budgie smugglers.”
Tennison was delighted with the decorative Christmas tree near El Parian, and I took this selfie.
We also went to El Lugar Secreto to hear a Mexican band singing British rock. And Tennison ventured out to Ajijic one day on her own.
On New Years Eve we prepared a great dinner for our housemates and friends and rang in 2015. Here she is serving up her yummy brownies.
And all too soon her time in Tlaquepaque was up and it was onward to Queretero. But there was more drama here too. After unsuccessfully purchasing a bus ticket on the internet, Tennison went to Oxxo. To her dismay, when she examined her ticket when she got home it was for 1:30 am not pm as she had requested. So off she went to Central Nueva to exchange her ticket, as Oxxo wouldn’t do it. She returned home later in the day, happy as a lark, clutching her new ticket.
The next day we walked to the corner and along came an empty taxi, unusual for this neighborhood. And Tennison was soon on her way to Central Nueva.
Hours later I received a What’s App message from her. The bus had arrived in Guadalajara late, and it was also oversold. There was no seat for her! So she had to wait another two hours for the next bus.
And the house is so quiet now. I miss her infectious laughter and bright smile. And I will definitely have to go and visit her before she returns to Australia. Tennison is beyond a doubt one of the most fantastic housemates I have ever had.
Have a fabulous time in Queretero Tennison! Many more adventures await you here in Mexico.