Actually, it appears that we do need our stinkin’ background checks. By the way, if you don’t know where that oft-quoted line comes from, either rent Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles, or check out that line’s Wikipedia page here (that’s right, the line has its own Wikipedia page).
Yesterday was the Professor and my first visit to the Spanish Consulate in Miami. It actually went better than we expected. For one thing, there were only about 15 people there in total so getting there an hour early in order to be the first ones in line was unnecessary. Secondly, we weren’t turned away because we didn’t have an appointment even though the consulate’s website specifically states in bold and in all capital letters that they will NOT see you without an appointment ( I guess we showed THEM).
However, the one thing that we feared would happen did indeed happen. The consulate official carefully inspected each of the documents we brought until she discovered that we were missing our FBI background checks. We tried to explain to her that we had submitted these to the FBI over three weeks ago but there is no way to expedite the process and no one at the FBI can tell us anything about our background checks until it’s been at least four weeks (and even then they don’t make any promises). We hoped that if we brought every single document with us to the consulate minus the background checks, they could at least go ahead and send our documents to Spain for processing. It turns out that the Spanish are not as laid back as we give them credit for. Beneath the disguise of long lunches, siestas, and bar-hopping, there lurks an annoying need to have all one’s paperwork in order.
So, what now? Well now we have no choice but to wait for a response from the FBI. Then it’s back to the consulate with our documents for the second go around. BUT, I am trying to be positive and optimistic about the whole scenario (and if you read this blog, you know that does not come naturally to me). The silver lining is that we can now spend more time in Miami catching up with our family and friends and saying goodbye to our hometown. Plus, (and this is my cynical side coming back out), if the whole process was smooth sailing, what would I have to blog about?