Yesterday Steph and I took another trip to Izcuchaca with high hopes of quickly finishing the final steps. We needed to pay a fee at the Banco de la Nacion, get pictures of Walter for his passport, and take those and a photocopy of the birth certificate to RENIEC to finish the paperwork.
Well, Walter was intent on sleeping, so we could not start with the photos. Steph wondered aloud how Abbey can wake Walter up with the slightest provocation, but Steph’s jostling and tickling and poking and talking did nothing to rouse him.
I could see the line at the Banco was all the way out the door, so I left Steph sitting on a park bench while I went to wait in line–for over an hour. As I got close to the front of the line, I pulled out my passport and the code to pay the fee and my wallet. Except, my wallet was nowhere to be found.
It always lives in a certain pocket of my backpack, but after some silent, frantic searching, I realized it had left the safety of its home and was roaming wild on my dresser at home.
I quickly messaged Stephanie and told her my problem and asked if she could bring money, assuming she had some along.
Steph is one of those millennials with a pre-millennial way of life. She believes phones are best equipped when on silent and buried at the bottom of her diaper bag. My only hope was that she would get bored enough with waiting that she might pull out her phone to message someone. I did not want to leave the line to find her, only to have to return and wait another hour.
The line continued to progress. Steph continued to enjoy the peace of being alone on a park bench. My blood pressure continued to rise. The security guard had seen me send a message to Steph and told me phones were not allowed inside the bank, so I could not try again.
I was but a few people from being called forward when Steph ambled into the bank, rather more calmly than I felt was appropriate. She sweetly handed me the money I needed and said she’d go ahead and get Walter’s pictures done herself since he was now awake. She’s capable that way.
I gave the bank lady my passport and told her I need to pay the fee. She said it was for a DNI, and looked at me like I was an idiot. I said I knew that. She said she can’t use a passport number to pay a DNI fee. She needs the Peruano number. Uh…
I told her that RENIEC had told me to pay here. She said she can’t pay it without the baby’s number on his birth certificate. Guess what! I had copies of that in my backpack! I paid and left. I’m pretty sure my heart is under more strain than it has been in a long time. (Side note: I discovered yesterday that I have lost ten kilos in the four months we’ve lived here. I think stress may play a factor.)
I tried calling Steph. She didn’t answer. I was not surprised. I sent her a message. Shortly afterward she messaged back and said she was peacefully sitting on a park bench on the far side of the park where I could not see her from the bank and was unlikely to find her. (She didn’t say it in those words, but that’s what it amounted to.)
Rafael had been sending periodic messages, asking if I was out of the bank yet. I was unable to reply in the bank, so I called and explained. Their store was only a block away from RENIEC, so he said he’d meet us there.
We had everything we needed and gave it to the official. He said he couldn’t possibly process this paperwork, as all three of us had exactly the same last name, and Walter had the same last name twice.
I did not scream. Out loud.
Rafael explained a few different times why this was the case and showed the passports and birth certificate a couple of times as evidence. The man said in that case it was fine. Rafael definitely deserves a sticker.
The man did the paperwork and proceeded to get prints from all my fingers a few times. Rafael said I could be glad he didn’t ask for my toe-prints; he said they do that sometimes. I think that was a joke. Maybe.
Glory, hallelujah! We had everything done and were presented with Walter’s DNI. He is officially a Peruano. Rafael was thrilled. He said Walter is theirs now, and when Walter turns eighteen, he said he knows Walter will choose to stay a Peruano.
There was much rejoicing on our part and Rafael’s. We took some pictures together to celebrate. Elisabet said it would be a good testigo, too, if we ever needed it.
And so ends this tale. And we all will live happily ever after.
Thanks for your support!
P.S. Many times yesterday our thoughts were with our family in the States. It seemed a special coincidence that Walter received his earthly recognition of his residence in Peru the same day Nanny received her earthly recognition of her residence in heaven. We will miss her.