||[ Thursday, 13 Jan 05 | 14:01 ]
Tuesday night I received a call from my real-estate agent that escrow had closed and the papers recorded at the County Clerk’s office for the sale of my house. Wednesday I checked on-line and the money is in the bank!
Now an expat!
Tuesday morning I went to the US Consulate in Barcelona to sign up as a US citizen living abroad. Their claim to fame is that this Consulate is the second-oldest in the world, dating from the 1790s. Security was certainly beefed-up, think lots of bullet-proff glass. When I finally talked to an agent, she was friendly and checked over my registration form. They refer to this as their warren program to keep US nationals aprised. They also provide a way to vote when abroad and help with US income tax preparation. A little home away from home.
A step into the past...
My passport is about to expire on my next birthday and I can renew it at the Consulate. It takes 5 days as it is flown back to the US for processing. One of the passport requirements is to submit two recent 5x5 cm photos. The Consulate provided me with an instruction sheet that is in English on one side and castellano on the other.
This morning one of the hotel staff recommended a photographer and I walked down to the shop. It was regular portrait photographer and he led me into his studio. He had a brace to hold my head still and used a view camera. Some of the equipment looked older than I am. I jokingly asked if the photos would be in sepia.
He took a number of pictures commanding me to look up and open my eyes wide, and focus on his hand. The best portraits are obtained by not looking straight-on to the camera, but just a little to the side. The cost was 16 €, which I thought was cheap, when you consider that this was a professional photographer and not some Polaroid button-pusher.