Monday, March 14, 2011


It has recently been pointed out (by several people) that my blog has not been updated in a while. I'd like to say it's because I've been too busy, or because my wife takes all the good topics and blogs enough for the both of us. But really, I've just been lazy. I've also felt like blog posts needed to cover interesting topics or be generous in content. Clearly, from this post, I'm changing my mind about this (since it is neither interesting nor long).

In January I moved from the visa line into ACS (American Citizen Services). I now spend my mornings helping American citizens (Amcits) renew their passports (for Amcits living in Costa Rica) or get emergency passports (for Amcits who had theirs' stolen). I see fewer boobs (see last post) but get yelled at just as much. It's quite different from visa work, and rewarding in a unique way. I like helping people, and especially cheering up Amcits who've had a rough turn of events on their vacations.

Passport adjudication is easier than visas, because the requirements are a lot more “documentary” (do you have proof of citizenship & identity?) and rely less on my judgment. Because I’m not so focused on judging the case, I can invest more emotionally in each case. I’m also speaking English to fellow Americans. All this to say that even though I saw and talked with more people doing visas, ACS feels more customer service oriented.

Can I say something about illegal immigration? No, not that kind. I’m talking about Americans who come and live and work illegally in Costa Rica. It’s amazing how easily we’ll flaunt another country’s laws when it doesn’t cost us anything, but get so up in arms about the same thing in our own country. I ask every American living in Costa Rica if they have their residency, followed by “why not?” (usually). The answers range from “it’s too hard” to “they always let me in without it.” There has been an increase in Amcit arrests for immigration violations. Hopefully these folks will get their acts together and I won’t be visiting them in jail.

This turned out a little longer than I thought.

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