This week Sara and I faced one of our toughest trials yet. In our 8 months of marriage we had to jump, holding hands, through tremendous hurdles in order to be law abiding foreign residents in Spain. I don’t think that I wrote tremendous big enough: TREMENDOUS. There we go, that’s better.
Paperwork for living in Spain has cost my whole family years of life and thousands of dollars. Today, we received letters, both at our address in Spain, and at our address in the USA. The letters from the Foreign Ministry were not only addressed to Sara, but to me too. I had already received the shock of the long awaited email from our friend at the Spanish Consulate five days ago, instead of saying our visa was ready for pick up, it regretted to inform us that the visa had been denied. Sara was denied entry into Spain. We had so many questions and theories of what on earth could be the reason for Sara to get her visa denied. Was it because a new President has been elected in Spain and the old Foreign Ministry is being replaced by the new ruling party? Is it because the out going party just wanted to blow through the visa applications before the New years Deadline (It was dated: Madrid, December 29, 2011) Could it be because they suspected that Sara and I have a marriage of convenience, since sometimes women enter Spain with false marriages? Could it be because Sara is also a Mexican citizen, besides being an American citizen? We had so much hypothesizing going on when we received the email of denied entry to Spain.
The bigger shock then came today though, because these letters answered our questions. Ironically, they answered our questions in Spanish, so it’s a good thing that we are very literate in technical legal Castillian. Most the Americans visiting the Spanish Consulate know very little Spanish from the looks of things, in the eight years I’ve been going in there, so I wonder what it’s like for other Americans who get the letter of denied visa, written in technical Spanish?
Back to the shock: It told us that Sara’s visa was denied, because my current Spanish Residency is revoked. It even said that if I was in Spain, that I had 15 days to leave the country! Good thing we came back in November, on our own terms!
If I wrote the whole story of my lifelong dream of serving God in Spain, I wouldn’t get much done in life, it would be TMI, and it could be unhelpful to my appeals process, but in a nutshell, all my work since sixth grade towards a career of service to the people of Spain, years and years of hurdles, could be Ruined Today because of one government employees misinterpretation of my job title in Seville. (BTW, you can read some of my lifelong dream of Spain in a book called: “The Walls of Spain” by J.D. Bennett)
Meanwhile my wonderful, gorgeous, and pregnant wife was a good sport moving across the world to Spain, and now she’s being a good sport not going back there. To that home in Seville where we’ve dumped our money. and our two cars. and the furniture that we bought with wedding gift money. Now our stuff is over there, but we’re over here and not even allowed to go to it. Sara perfectly abided by law, staying in Spain only 89 days after our wedding, to not overstay the 90 day Tourist Visa Maximum, her reward for being so law-abiding is a denied entry letter and a flagged passport.
Happy New Year and God save the King