This morning is minus 26 degrees celsius. For our American friends that is just plain #@$%^&*!@# cold! Do we need another reason?
The past week of preparation has been a busy one.
- We sold a house;
- We began to sell some of my larger woodworking tools;
- We got the pension documentation prepared for our visa application; and
- We continued to take Spanish language classes.
I wanted to share the process we have been through so far in the visa application process because it has been quite an interesting adventure. We engaged a lawyer in Cuenca while we were there at Christmas. He instructed us on the many steps that were required and set the wheels in motion which included signing several documents and taking copies of our passports.
When we returned to Canada, we requested our pension providers to send us a signed "Confirmation of Pension Letter". This took about a week and they were just what we needed. A young friend of ours is a Spanish speaker and a student of languages at Queen's University. She translated the documents and then we went together to our lawyer's office. The lawyer prepared an affadavit to authenticate the original letter and the translation. He then put an official looking embossed stamp on all the documents. I think it is the official looking stamp that carried the day later on.
We then contacted the Ecuadorian consulate in Ottawa and he told us about an additional step that our Cuencan lawyer did not know about. Before we could get the documents legalized by the consulate, we had to have them legalized by the Canadian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Interestingly, there was an office set up in Ottawa specifically for legalizing these documents for other countries that require this step. (I am biting my tongue about the proliferation of bureaucracies!!) They put another official looking stamp on the documents and we were on our way to the Ecuadorian consulate.
The Ecuadorian consulate was very welcoming and helpful. We had to pay a fee of $50 US each for the consular officer to apply yet another official stamp identifying that the documents were "legalized". We chatted with him for a few minutes about his life in Ottawa and how cold it was compared to Ecuador. Officially legalized documents in hand (three very official looking stamps), we headed back to Kingston.
Our Cuencan lawyer had asked us to courier them to him so the next day we went to FedEx and asked that they be sent to Cuenca. I figured maybe $20 - $30. The total cost for the envelope with six pages in it was $100. Wow! In any case they should arrive in Cuenca this week and with them our lawyer tells us that he will be able to proceed with our pensioner's visa application. Many steps yet to go. I should mention that we could have chosen to wait until we arrived in Cuenca to begin this process but we felt that it would put us more at ease if these details were tied up before leaving.
Hoping this was illuminating for those that are making plans. The journey of several thousand miles begins with the first steps. Regards, Linda and David.