It seems fitting that this is posted first, since it is the reason I have not posted about my other fun events that occurred these last two weeks.
I have been attempting to file everything that I have properly with the government to receive the ability to continue my studies. It is not that the university does not want me, but rather I must prove that I will not become a liability for the government of Spain while I am here.
I will not go into the details of exactly what has happened, because the numerous meetings and appointments at different offices bores me, and in the end all will be fine so there is no need to focus on the details. I am sure that one day we will all laugh about all of the troubles. Instead I will focus on what exactly I have learned:
#1. The documents you turn in for a visa are not valid, even in Spanish, when attempting to renew your paperwork. To me, this may be the most baffling part of the system.
#2 . Bureaucracy in every form sucks. The paper pushers may take as much time as they like to review your case, but when they want something from you, you only get 3 days to compile said documents. Also, the lack of personal contact creates an endless web of confusion. If I had sat down with someone when I first turned in everything, they most likely would have said no, but they also would have told me explicitly why and I wouldn’t be in this mess.
#3. Ask for help and lots of it. Do not just rely on emails, but go and see people in person and ask them to help you find a way to fix it. Do not ask them to do it for you, just to help you figure out what you need to do. People are not as likely to deny you assistance to your face, although it happens, and then you just want to punch the wall. Which maybe a way to get their attention, but if you’re not legal I do not recommend it. (Don’t worry I did not punch anything, although did think about swinging one at a very rude man).
#4. I now know where almost every immigrant police station is in Madrid and can give much better directions than google maps. Always allow at least 35 minutes for public transportation and another 15 minutes for getting lost on foot.
#5. With the right support system, things work out. I have not figured everything out and there are still many more hoops that I have to jump through; however, I have found that there are some amazing people who have helped me create a plan for how to stay legally in Madrid. I have people! (I think there is a commercial about that…) But in all honestly, there are many people who have gone out of their way to help me, some who I know well and others who were just doing their job. Those are the people who put a smile on my face and remind me that I will get through this process.
To review, I am currently still working on becoming legal, but I have a plan in action that should not backfire. In many ways we can say that this is just the test drive so that when I go through this same process next year I do not make the same mistakes.
I am looking forward to the day when I get the paper that says “favorable” so that for the time being I can rest assured and because there will be a huge party thrown to celebrate the accomplishment.