Last Saturday morning we had the opportunity to bring breakfast to an elderly sister who had fallen and was bedridden. Chet decided that waffles would be great to bring since we weren’t going to even try and duplicate any Ecuadorian dish. By the way, breakfast (desayuno) is not a big thing here, the big thing is lunch (almuerzo). Most people get off from 1-3 from work (2 hours, yep, try it sometime) and so lunch is a big meal, including sopa (soup, some rice, chicken or meat grilled or bbq’d or vegetables, fresh squeezed juice and dessert) all that can be anywhere from $2 to 6 depending on where you eat it. Anyway…
Later Saturday morning everyone who was out from our service group (about 10-12 people) stopped at her house to see how she was. It was really neat to see everyone crowd into her small sitting room and they just sat and talked…and talked. She really enjoyed it you could tell and it obviously was not a singular occurrence. Then someone asked her how was her breakfast? Well, that led to a whole discussion on waffles and how we found such a deal at the local Coral (remember Walmart on steroids?) on a waffle maker. Then the sister’s wanted to know how to make them. I said “Oh, well my husband will show you sometime”. He thought it was funny of course my volunteering him, but hey he is the Waffle King! Next question immediately from them was “When?”. The long and short of it is we had a waffle party the next day, Sunday, at Sister Piedad’s house (her first name), with Chet at the helm.
It was fun, everyone talking at once, laughing and of course we just kept nodding and saying “Si” or “NO, NO…don’t put that in…Yet!”, in English, not Spanish which got more shouts of laughter and generally being ignored. There were lots and lots of waffles because they brought their waffle irons too. Plain waffles, waffles with strawberries and waffles with chocolate chips, waffles with all three of the above plus whipped cream and Sister Piedad made an amazing vegetable lasagna! They don’t put marinara sauce in their lasagnas here, it is very, very good and I love sauce in my lasagna. They also sat and made homemade tiny empanadas with queso (cheese) while the waffles were baking. Piedad finished up the menu with a homemade passion fruit cake, yeah, yummy. We had a feast and a fiesta.
The gathering was a nice break from the headache of my residency issues. Not Chet, just me. My name has undergone at least 4 changes since birth. They put the wrong last name on my birth certificate, then when I was 5 my dad changed our last name to be what my great grandfather’s surname really was. Then I started changing the spelling of my first name in high school when I took French. Then I got married…and married again. Then I legally changed the spelling of my first name to the way I had been spelling it in high school. Result: One big headache. We visited the immigration office 2x in one day last week and the Office of Foreign Affairs with our attorney. Next day, off to get fingerprints which have to be sent to the FBI to prove that A. I am not a criminal B. I am who I say I am and C. that Chauntai, Chaunte’, & Chante’ are one and the same person.
The FBI won’t send us or our attorney the fingerprints here, they have to go to an address in the States, then they have to be ‘apostilled’ by a federal agency and then sent back here. It’s a tense waiting game. The FBI usually takes 6 weeks to return reports but I am using a FBI channeler which supposedly guarantees to speed up the process. I have about 40 days left here before I have a real problem on my hands. We may have to either apply for a 30 day extension of my visa or go to Peru or something for a little bit. Hmmmm, I would like to see Machu Picchu…just trying to keep it light as Chet likes to say.
I was able to get fingerprint cards from a sister in the English congregation who had to go through the same thing, for different reasons. She was very encouraging though as she, her husband and 4 young children (2 sets of twins, all below 10 years of age) recently immigrated here from Michigan. It wasn’t easy for them either but they have their residency now. The brother who is our attorney brought tears to my eyes when he told us he doesn’t normally pray for his clients in the world who are immigrating here, although he works hard on their behalf, however he constantly prays for us and for Jehovah to help us. Isn’t that sweet? Very heartening. Especially as we have a few more hoops to jump through. Lesson: Make sure if you change your name you think twice because one day you may want to immigrate!