Thursday, July 28, 2011

Soccer, Santana School Visit and Visa Paperwork

This morning was Nick's second day of soccer practice, and we took the bus instead of a taxi. The bus is the same one we rode to Mall del Rio, and it goes right pass where Nick practices. The bus ride took about five minutes longer than the taxi, but you can't beat the cost savings (taxi $3, bus $.50). Nick scored a goal during the scrimmage today, and his teammates seem to have accepted the new gringo kid.

After getting home from soccer we had to take a taxi to the Santana School for a meeting with the Secondary (High School) School Principal Margarita. She explained the school's philosophy, uniforms, academics, costs, and the application process. One uniquely "Gringo Rule" that was explained to us came about because of some previous experiences with gringos. Example, an Ecuadoran family can pay the tuition and fees on a monthly basis, but gringos must pay 2-3 months in advance, because evidently some gringos have just quit midway through the school year without any warning. We have to get a slot or quota from the government for Nick to attend Santana, and evidently there are limited slots in the Santana School. We told the Principal that Nick would be entering 8th grade (completed 7th in US), and she told us there were no slots available in the 8th grade class this school year. We thought great, now we have to search again for a school for Nick. But, after talking with the Principal, she explained that Nick should be entering the 9th grade, because in Santana 1st grade is Kindergarten. Obviously, we were relieved that there is a slot available in 9th grade, but now we must begin the application process tomorrow which includes testing for Nick, and interviews with a School Psychologist for the three of us.

This evening we meet with Linda, who is our lawyer's (Gabriella Espinosa) representative here in Cuenca. Yesterday we received a call from Linda telling us we needed to go to the Immigration Office (near our apartment luckily) to get a "Movimiento Migratorio" for each of us. Susan, and I walked to the office with little idea of what to do or expect, but after about an hour and a half we walked out with the documents we needed, and $15 lighter in the wallet. So, now Linda has all our Visa paperwork to send to Gabriella's office in Quito, and Gabriella told us she expects to have everything submitted within the next two weeks. So, we have started the journey through the visa process, and we hope to avoid any surprises.

A long day is complete, and we are one more step closer to having our lives in order.

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