Monday, June 10, 2013

Getting my Cedula.

Hello everyone.  It has been quite a while since I have posted.  Only because I have been extremely busy piecing together my new life here.  I finally got my Ecuadorian "Cedula" which is great, considering how complicated it can be to go through that process.  I was ready with my perfect "carpeta" with all my apostilled and translated documents they needed to properly process my Ecuadorian ID card.  Well, it turns out when I got my Visa, one of the required papers for my Cedula had my last name as "Bruner Ii" instead of "Bruner II", which made the whole process a nightmare.  The Registro Civil wouldn't take my paperwork and they made me go back to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores to have my name corrected.

When I got to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores they told me it was impossible to change it, then printed out an email they wrote internally stating this.  I had to go back to the Registro Civil with this paper, which proved to be helpful... for now.

So I keep shuffling through the endless lines getting passed back and forth to different cubicles and windows until finally I land in the area where they are supposed to take my photo for my ID card.  When I sit down with my approved paperwork, the lady decides to review the papers one more time.  Just my luck.  When she looks at my paperwork she notices that they put my middle name where my last name was supposed to be on the paperwork.  Not a big deal right?  OH YES.  Big deal here in Ecuador.  Every paper has to be perfect.  She told me she could not process my Cedula until this was fixed.  My face and eyes turned into an inferno and I nearly turned into the Human Torch hearing this.  I was close to exploding.  I looked at her computer screen and said, "Can't you just type it into your computer correctly?", in Spanish.  She responded "That is impossible" and rudely told me to go.  She must have really been proud of her position of authority.  I saw clearly on her computer screen she could type whatever name she wanted.  I realized it was pointless to fight so I went home in defeat, then went back the next day to the Registro Civil to fix the same stupid piece of paper again.

Turning Point:

When I arrived at the Registro Civil the next day, I had an epiphany.  When they made my original document they could not make my name "Bruner II" because their system was set up to automatically capitalize the first letter of each name and make every letter afterwards lower cased.  As a result, my name became "Bruner Ii".  With this discovery, I decided not only will I get my Cedula TODAY, but I will also teach the girl behind the counter a little trick so the next "II" that tries to enter this country won't have to go through the hell I went through.

It is simple actually.  In most fonts a capital I looks exactly like a lower case L, so my solution was to make my "II" by having the clerk on the other side type "Il".  It took a lot of convincing and humbling to the kind girl on the other side but she finally tried it and it worked like a charm.  She cracked a thankful smile and I was happy to make her day as she did mine.  She also corrected the other error on the document and returned it to me to submit again.

I returned to the Registro Civil with renewed vigor and energy, along with positive thoughts, which paid off dearly.  Not only was the document corrected right, but in the same morning the Registro Civil decided they no longer needed 1,000,000 pieces of paper to hand out a Cedula.  They were going "Paperless".  My paperwork (what was left of it) was finally approved and my photo was taken.  I was able to pick up my Cedula 3 days later.  It was a hard fought battle but I remain VICTORIOUS.  I would never wish my experience upon anyone, but I have also heard of worse experiences.  The moral of the story is, if you can afford it, get a facilitator to handle these type of matters on your behalf.

Wish me luck... My driver's license is next.