This weekend I ventured downtown to apply for my visa at the Spanish Consulate.
After a week spent running around getting my paperwork in order I presented myself and a stack of photocopied forms to the consulate at 9 in the morning. After waiting ten minutes for the office to open I handed my paperwork over to a grumpy man. He spent the next five minutes berating me for not reading the instructions carefully enough and saying that I wouldn't be able to complete my application. Thankfully, the crisis was averted by a photocopier in another room and a trip to the post office. Still, it took two hours to get all the paperwork finished. My appointment was for ten minutes.
A note to those who are going to apply for their visas:
- Read the directions carefully. Five times. Then again. I found at least three different sets of instructions online through the consulate itself, plus the set provided by my study abroad program. Each set was slightly different. Follow them all.
- Don't let parents hover. Officials dislike interference and will not look kindly on their involvement.
In the two hours that I was in the consulate building I had plenty of time to engage in my favorite form of Spanish practice: eavesdropping. I was able to understand most of what the consulate employees were saying to the spanish citizens. Then, the man in front of me who was applying for his visa had to read a letterhead that said "Gobierno de España" to someone on the phone. He pronounced it "Gor-bri-er-no de Espana". Maybe it's petty, but it made me feel better about myself; my accent may be bad but it isn't that terrible. Between the two experiences I was feeling pretty confident about my Spanish, even if my direction reading skills need assistance.