Saturday, June 13, 2009

Somos Ticos! / We are Costa Rican!

It’s official! The Beards are new residents of Costa Rica!

God is so good! We, and most of our Gringo and Tico friends in Costa Rica, were amazed that everything came together in less than a year, let alone 9 months.

Some of the benefits:
-We don’t have to leave the country every three months for 72 hours to renew our passports
-We can legally work (FYI – because our papers were in process, I was okay to teach)
-We are covered under the free public health system
-We are except from tourist prices on national parks and similar foreigner fees
-We are one step closer to being accepted as members of the community and not foreigners

Here’s an overview of our immigration birthday:

4:45 - awoke (Though my alarm was set for 5 A.M. it was difficult to sleep. Kind ‘a like those Christmas Eve nights when you’re a kid).

6:00 - Depart for San Jose

7:15 - Arrived at Dirrecion General de Migracion y Extanjeria

Tabi on the potty bowl while we waited for our lawyer and for gates to open at 8:00

The clerk hadn’t arrived with our file, so we waited a long time for all of our bank receipts to be verified and each of our files to be approved. However, Naomi and our CR lawyer, Rosemarie, had some solid quality time together!

10:15 - Moved to the photo line for our CR ID card called a cedula.

10:45 - Paid for our cedulas to be mailed to San Ramon in 10 days, rather than waiting for the to be available for pick up on July 7th (the day before our trip to the USA).

Jonny Tico a.k.a. Juan Barba

Mareleen (English phonetics of a typical Tico's pronunciation)

La Machita - Little Blondie

11:00 - We waited in line to get Tabitha approved to depart the country. (Costa Rica has a law that minors cannot leave the country without consent by both parents that is then approved by the government office, which happened to be in the next building). Naomi and I, Jon, ran around making photo copies of documents, when we saw some old friends from Jac√≥. They informed us that we also needed a photo of Tabi. So we hustled outside, got a photo taken of Tabitha, and made our way back into line. We thought we were set, when half-way through the meeting with the official, she mentioned that Naomi, as a new resident of Costa Rica also needed the same approval. We were missing one document, a certified copy of Naomi’s birth certificate. We could get one inside the previous building, but it closed at noon on Fridays. It was 12:02. Oh, well!

Our view while we waited in line for Tabi's departure approval

Our monita (little monkey)

12:15 - We left the Immigration offices exhausted, but elated with the news that our 9 month wait was finally over. The gestation of our residency application had come to full-term and three new Ticos were born!

Tico Beards with our lawyer, Rosemarie

We then headed into downtown San Jose to our favorite eatery and hit the Asian supermarket before heading back to San Ramon.

Translation: HERE IT IS!
Cute little Argentina cafe on the corner.  Great food and atmosphere!

Super Sony: one of the few Asian markets in downtown San Jose

4:30 - We drove home and collapsed!

Tabi decided she was old enough to drive: watch out, crazy Tica behind the wheel!

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Please pray for us over the next three weeks as Jon makes and gives his 2nd Trimester mid-terms, completes more “red-tape” such as Naomi’s travel approval, our CR driver’s licenses, and preparing the Isuzu for the annual vehicle test.

Also we are making plans for our trip to the States in July. This will be our first trip back since arriving in April of 2008. We are excited to see old friends and establish new relationships with churches in the mid-west.

Our trip will be more than a vacation as we seek to connect with more churches and build our support team. Please pray that God will arrange our schedule, as 11 days is not a really long time to do this!

Please contact us if you have any questions about our trip or if you can offer any financial support to help with traveling expenses! (Would you consider sacrificing a meal out or a trip to the movies? $10 goes a long way to help our trip).

We can’t wait to see you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Immigration Or Bust!

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
Eccl 7:8 (NLT)

The family and I waited in what we hope to be our second to last line before becoming residents of Costa Rica today.

Let’s see… we’ve waited at the Division of Criminal Investigation in Des Moines for our criminal records, the Lucas building for our birth and marriage certificates, the Iowa Secretary of State office for “authenticating” our documents, the Costa Rican consulate in Chicago for certification of our documents, a lawyer’s office in San Isidro to certify testimony of Tabitha’s birth in Costa Rica, the Registro Civil in San Jose for Tabitha’s application and birth certificate, the police headquarters in San Jose for fingerprinting, the US Embassy for Tabitha’s consular birth abroad birth certificate and passport, and finally, Banco de Costa Rica to pay for our residency and ID cards (cedulas).

I will be taking Friday the 12th off of school in order to meet our lawyer at the Immigration office in San Jose at 8 A.M.

Pray that all our paperwork is in order and that we will be approved without a hitch!
Ps – while in San Jose we will also try to get our Costa Rican driver’s license. So, more waiting!!!