Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Think I'm Legal

Monday was my long awaited and stress inducing interview to change my FM3 to an FM2. The final step before actually being handed the booklet that allows me to live here (almost) hassle free for another year.

Part of that process is getting fingerprinted all over again. Thus the green thumbs!

My interview was conducted by Manuel. (not his real name) He was the first agent I dealt with over 5 years ago. Usually a nice, friendly, helpful guy. Not so yesterday. I don't know if he had a wild hair crosswise or what but he was just plain mean. The interview went like this.

I take a chair in front of his desk in a tiny little office space shared by another guy. The office is so small that the chair sits sideways to his desk. He shuffles through my papers, types some stuff into the computer, which I can't see. Then he turns his attention to me and says

blah, blah, blah, blah pierna derecho blah blah blah blah derecho?

To which I responded

Perdon? (excuse me?)

He then raises himself up stiffly in his chair and haughtily says to me, in English

You have lived here long enough now. I am NOT going to baby you and speak English. You either understand Spanish or not.

Ok then. I never asked him to speak English to me and the only reason I could not understand him was because he asked me that question as fast as he possibly could. On purpose, I think, so he could give me his little speech. I wanted to say

Listen you little presumptuous, officious twerp, I could certainly understand you if you had the decency to speak clearly, distinctly and courteously to a foreign guest in your country. And it is none of your business or concern how difficult or easy my life is based on my ability to speak Spanish.

Instead I said. in Spanish

I'm sorry. I didn't hear you clearly and didn't understand the question. Could you please repeat it?

Whereupon, in Spanish, he replied

do. you. still. have. tattoos. on. your. right. leg. and. right. chest?

I said yes. (like I would have had them burned off since last year or something?)

Then he typed some stuff into the computer again, printed out a page with all of my basic information, tossed it over to me and said to review it and sign it at the bottom. That completed, out came the ink pad.

He fairly yelled at me to push my thumbs into it and press them into the correct spaces on the form. Then he sat there to see if I would do it right. Since one of the places was actually in my new FM2 book, I read where to put left and right very carefully. Of course, he was telling me to hurry up at the same time.

All in all, I was glad to get out of there and was just boiling mad. At least it is all over for another year. My lawyer will collect the actual FM2 book for me once the pictures I gave them have been attached.

Why does Immigration always have to be so stressful?


Calypso said...

Hombre - Of course the experiences are myriad - some good, some not.

I am often accused of belly aching about the red tape which often comes with an attitude such as you experienced.

Because of our mixed experiences, it is NEVER a task looked forward to - Anita will begin the annual process any day now. You haven't lifted my spirits towards the idea ;-(

K.W. Michigan said...

Congrats to you! The officer probably didn't "get any" the night before, so he took it out on you! I know that wasn't nice to say ....

Sue said...

Nasty! I think Immigration people everywhere have this attitude going on. I've encountered haughty attitudes with US, Canadian, and Mexican Immigration. One time, while driving across the Canada/US border to go to the airport, the US agent asked me if we didn't have airports in Canada. Hello? Are you mad because I'm giving your airport business? I just don't get 'moody' people. Not a way to feel welcome, that's for sure.

Glad you made it out without blowing up (I KNOW the feeling). Congratulations!

Brenda said...

Sounds like an ugly experience. Glad for you that it is over for another year.

Anonymous said...

We finally received our 3rd FM3 after 11 visits. Nothing was ever wrong or missing, simply gave us one new task at a time. I would mention there was no rudenes and the receptionist spoke english. Being presently 81 years of age I will posibly not outlive the present fm3 and will not have to do it again.

el oso

My Way said...

That dude is a jerk. But I'm glad you got out of there alive and hopefully with your docs.

I remember the first time I went to immigration for my interview and the guy was very very nice to me. But then, I'm a woman and he was flirting....

Steve Cotton said...

I hate filling in forms in English -- seldom do it correct the first time. I can hardly wait to do it in another language. It will be like returning to boot camp.

Anonymous said...

You people are really rude not only with Mexicans but with everybody who wants to go to US. I had seen American migration agents who scream out loud to people and they make emphasis with the “weaker” ones: old people, poor people, Mexicans….

YOU DON’T SPEAK SPANISH??? I mean you live in the country and even if the agent spoke quickly you should be able to understand. ALL the day you are listening Spanish. This is the first time you are abroad, isn’t it?

Michele in Playa said...

Well, congratulations on reaching this milestone. I'm sorry your experience sucked. So far, knock wood, we have had no trouble (possible because we pay someone to do everything but pee for us). My next task is to get a driver's license. Joy ;)

My Way said...

Anonymous - I really love your name. It is certain not uncommon but pretty none-the-less. I am currently trying to learn French, Greek and Latin and I find that standing on my head for 1 hour a day does wonders for the soul. Let me know if you are interested. Lots of love, hearts and happy faces are being sent your way. Hugs and kisses! P.S. I think you're hot.

Islagringo said...

calypso: sorry. the two years preceeding this one went without a hitch and amongst much civility by the employees. They are under heavy scrutiny over there right now and under a lot of pressure. It shows.

kw: you are right. Not very nice. I didn't like his assuming I speak no Spanish, so I am going to assume nothing about him.

el oso: welcome back! I always enjoy your comments. You are going to outlive all of us!

my way: as you know, tits are a great ass et down here!

steve: how well I remember boot camp. It is very similar to that, except you don't always understand what they are saying.

michelle: I think he was just having a bad day and sick of dealing with people. His behaviour is unforgivealbe though, no matter what the cause. I have both motor vehicle and motorcycle licenses. Na, na na!

anonymous: I have saved you til last. I would have put more creedence to your statements had you not hidden behind the veil of anonymity. That said.....I totally agree with you about the assholian behavior of US border guards. They are rude beyond belief and there is no excuse for it.

You have made an assumption that I don't Spanish. While I am by no means fluent, I can hold my own in any conversation and get what I need to get done done. You missed the point totally. He was purposely speaking so that I would NOT understand him because he just wanted to yell at somebody.

And I do not listen to Spanish all the day. I have to insist that my friends speak Spanish to me. This is a tourist island where everybody speaks English. English = dinero. Even if they speak English to me, I try to carry on my part in Spanish. Good for both of us.

Does visiting 27 world countries and living in Germany for 7 years count as more than the "first time visiting abroad"?

Drop the attitude or get off my blog. I have no time for it.