A layer of DC grime

Well this is embarrassing. Over a month since my last post. I do have an excuse for the lack of updates though: absolutely nothing was happening on the Spain front. I still hadn’t received my background check from the FBI. There were no new emails from the Junta or from my school. I really didn’t want to bore the Internet with posts every week basically saying, “So . . . I still have the exact same papers as last time.” Thus passed a very long and very tedious 4 weeks.


Thankfully, that time is through. First of all, I received my background check on Tuesday, July 26. It felt like an anticlimax, since it looked exactly the same as the previous background check I had requested, except that this one came with an ink signature, and a raised seal, as well as a piece of paper explaining how to get an Apostille of the Hague. I was all set to drive up to DC after I finished my class Thursday evening and get downtown as early as possible on Friday morning. Then I did some research and discovered that the consulate of Spain is closed on Fridays. It was slightly frustrating knowing that I would have to wait until Monday (because MONDAY was AUGUST, not July! I would be applying for my visa in AUGUST! Horrors!) but there wasn’t much else I could do.


So on Monday I woke up at 5:30 am. My awesome mom packed me a lunch (I was going to say, aww, just like high school! except I packed my own lunches in high school) and I was on the Beltway at 6:15. After a lot of confusion and some terrible parallel parking, I was standing in line at the Office of Authentications, which is actually not in the State Department building at all. It is up and across the street in a little shopping plaza, next to a sketchy convenience store and a most welcome coffee shop. My number was 12 and I guess it took about an hour to be called and give them my background check. I raced off to feed the meter and then came back to the office to wait. 45 minutes later I had my document back, and a fancy sheet of paper attached to it with the apostille. This was about 9 am, which was great since that is when the consulate opens.


Back to feed the meter again. This is when I realized that I had exactly 2 quarters left, which would be great anywhere but DC, where 1 quarter will get you 7 minutes of meter time. I put in the quarters and hoped for the best, as I turned around to march back up to Washington Circle.


So, DC summers are always hot and muggy, but this one has been especially atrocious. My parents, who as you may have surmised live in the DC area, have been telling me all summer how disgustingly hot it has been, but today I got to experience that for myself. By the time I got to the consulate, I felt like every inch of my body was covered in sweat. I was wearing jeans and they felt like they were shellacked to my skin. Even the AC of the consulate was not helping.


The line at the consulate was much shorter, and since I had made 5 photocopies of every document I had, it took less than 10 minutes at the counter to apply and pay. In 5 weeks I should have my visa, according to the woman who helped me. Cue me racing back to my car, sure that I was going to find a ticket flapping in the breeze. Either the cops were slacking this morning, or I am just lucky, because my meter was expired and there was no ticket. I jumped in the car and drove directly to work.


Today was exam day, so I didn’t have to do any teaching, but I did have to be present. By the time 7 pm rolled around, I was tired, having been up 13.5 hours and taking a long car trip from my parents’ house to my work. I was still sweaty. Also, I was more or less filthy. With nothing else to do while my students took their exams, I examined my fingernails and discovered a thin layer of DC grime stuck to my sweaty skin. I was also facing going back to an apartment that had no furniture, no TV, and very little food.




I have applied for my visa.


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