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Mexico FAQ

21 August 2010
Dave Clingman


FM3 Renewal and a Trip


Hi guys.

Tuesday we went to the Mexico Immigration Office here in Guadalajara. You may recall last year that while we were trying to get our FM3 visas, we sometimes would arrive when they told us to and then discover that our papers were not ready. This year, we can check the status of our FM3 visas online, so that we don't go there until they are actually ready for us. The status online, however, only told us to present ourselves at the Office, and this after they had our applications for only three days.

We were both nervous that something else might be required before we can receive our FM3s, another paper, more proof of something, or some such item. You may recall that last year, it took us no less than twelve visits over nearly two months' time to get everything submitted and to receive our visas. We read online Monday that they wanted us both to appear after they'd had our paperwork for only three days. We wondered what new hoop we'd have to maneuver this time.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover they had our new FM3 visas ready! However, that wasn't the end of it. *sigh* Andrew received his FM3 with no problems. Sign here, here and here. Fingerprint here, here, here, and here. Then when the lady went to put my FM3 together, their computer system exploded. Literally. There was a loud explosion noise, and the computer system died. Rats. If we'd been just one minute earlier, I'd have received my FM3.

We did a couple of other things around town and returned to the Immigration Office after each one. Finally, just before closing time, the computer system was working. So, we are both now proud "owners" of FM3 visas. It took only three days for them to complete everything for us. What a HUGE change from last year.

When I first looked at the expiration date on my new FM3, I thought it expired in April. Since my passport expires in March, I thought maybe they wanted me to prove to them in April that I had renewed it. But I forgot that many countries, including Mexico, writes their dates as day first, month second, and then year, rather than month first like in the USA. So the expiration date of 04/09/2011 wasn't April 9th, but rather September 4th. So we have another full year before we have to renew again. And the new renewal process is so much easier than previously that we don't even mind, other than $2102 fee. (about $168 USD)

Walking Mela one evening in the park, I was surprised to see flitting flashes of light. Fireflies! I'd never seen one. They are fun to watch. When I pointed it out to Andrew, he said, "Oh, yeah, they're everywhere." But I'd never seen one until now.

For the past three days, men have been working on removing branches from the huge tree under which our van is parked. I was not looking forward to moving the van, but Andrew and I, with Larry's advice, decided it was not necessary to move the van. I was nervous, as there are some very large limbs up there. But they dropped them all piece by piece with no damage to the van, swinging the branches out of the way using as many as three ropes on a single branch. However, late the night after their second day, a different branch fell on the van roof and shattered a vent cover. The next day the tree cutter said he'd seen that one but thought it was safe. I wonder how many others he saw and thought were safe. Yikes.

Anyway, the big limbs that were worrying us so many months are now gone, and the only damage to our place is two fairly small semi circles of splintered concrete on the sides of our sidewalk where they dropped a fairly large piece before they took precautions by placing other limbs on the sidewalk as protection. The sidewalk should be simple to repair.

We had to move the shed to keep it safe, as the biggest limb was immediately above it. There was no way they could have avoided the shed. So, my tub is on top of the van, and I've been unable to soak for more than a week. Yes, though it took them only a few hours' work spread out over three afternoons, we had originally been told they'd be here on Thursday of last week, then Friday, then Saturday afternoon. Then we didn't hear anything at all until they simply showed up on Wednesday. But all is well now, and I can move my tub back into the shed today.

Andrew has acquired more private clients. Now he has full evenings with private clients, almost three hours each night, from Monday through Thursday. He told Mundo Bilingue yesterday that he'd no longer be able to work afternoons and evenings for them, and they were fine with him teaching morning classes henceforth.

Monday I finally get to see the specialist for my shoulder. Our pastor has volunteered to translate for us, just to be sure that everyone understands everything. Andrew speaks very good Spanish now, and he improves all the time, but we're sure the doctor will have some technical questions and comments. Please pray the doctor finds a solution to the pain and muscle spasms. Thanks.

We are heading north Wednesday for a couple weeks in the USA. It will be my first trip north since arriving in Mexico last year in April, and Andrew's first trip back to California. Andrew will get to meet my brother Rich. I guess he'll never get to meet my mom until Heaven. My sister Deb will be up at her new place in Washington, so we'll miss her this trip. Then we'll get to see friends up in the Fresno and Coarsegold area. It will be nice to catch up with them.

On our return route, we'll visit Las Vegas for a day and then get to see some of Arizona. We'd planned to tour a bit of Arizona during our trip south last year, but with the van brakes as bad as they were, we decided to not risk it. For this trip, we'll have only the car. We'll visit Sedona and the Red Rock area and also make a drive east of Flagstaff to see the meteor crater. Of course, since we are heading that far east, we'll also get to see a bit of the Painted Desert.

All in all, it should be a nice trip. We'll see some family (just Rich) and many friends, and we'll also get to see some new area. And I'll get to show Andrew some of the fun things in Vegas, though neither of us gamble.


Read update 5 August 2010

Read next log 7 October 2010

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