Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Progress on so many fronts today, its a almost unreal!  A number of updates for you, in entirely random order.

A:  The housekeeper does not hate me.  She kept the floors and the table clean all day, and she chose to eat lunch with us as well.  I think she had a headache this morning, and maybe she got a shot (or got punched in the arm?) yesterday.  I'm also pretty sure that her son's girlfriend had a baby on Saturday (feliz!) in Colombia, and has no intention of bringing the baby back to Caracas (oh - triste, lo siento).  That bought her enough grace to lose her cool yesterday.  We're all good.

B: Our carnet came through.  That is our diplomatic ID cards.  These are provided by the Venezuelan government, and are important for more reasons than I know.  For starters, I am always supposed to carry identification with me.  It is certainly best that I always carry identification showing that I am on a diplomatic visa.  But I'm not real excited about carrying around my diplomatic passport, or a grungy old photocopy of one.  Hence the carnet.  Also, as diplomats (or maybe just as foreigners?) we can get back all of the taxes we spend here - but we need our diplomatic ID number to do that.  This is about 17% of most bills we have, making everything quite a bit more affordable than it already was.  So, that's cool.

C: Our bank account is open.  We have a few accounts in the U.S., and that's where the government slips Dave's paychecks.  He is paid in dollars.  But in this high-crime country, it is ill-advised to use an international credit card or debit card.  So, we open an account in Caracas and only keep our minimum weekly or monthly budget there.   We now have access to our own money.

D: Our Finser account is open.  We can wire transfer money from our U.S. account to our Caracas account, but not directly.  Let me warn you right away - finance in Venezuela is bizarre, and I'm only going to touch on it a bit right now.  Bizarre.  So, as Chavez hates America he is also opposed to dollars.  So, you can not legally change dollars into bolivares in Venezuela.  We transfer dollars to Finser.  Finser takes those dollars and gives us bolivares.  I don't know why.  They put the bolivares in our account in Caracas, and we have money.  Now, this takes some time and, apparently, a number of failed attempts on everyone's part.  So we don't have money yet.  But we will.

E: Dave does not have TB.  Well, we only have results from his blood test and his skin prick.  We don't have the results from his spit test.  So, we're only 99.999% sure that he does not have TB.  Good enough.  Also, his cough has almost entirely left us.  Hooray!

G: Most of the lights work.  When we moved into out home, a few of the light bulbs were missing.  Within a few days, at least half of our light bulbs had stopped working.  One had even exploded!  So, the light bulb guy came this afternoon and replaced nearly all of them.  He ran out of stock before he could finish, and will return tomorrow.  He replaced three of the four bulbs in the kitchen, which made cooking in there such a pleasure this evening!

H:  I was offered a job interview.  This is kind of fun because I didn't apply for a job.  I did interview for a job back in the fall, and failed rather impressively.  The group of security guys who interviewed me did not seem impressed with how I drew most of my answers and examples from caring for my children over the past 7 years.  But apparently I made enough of an impression to be called in for another, much less impressive job.  I figure there's no harm in checking it out, so I have an interview on Friday.

I:  Our UAB has arrived in Venezuela.  This is our air shipment.  Your air shipment is intended to bring into the house the things you'll most need to be able to survive until your sea shipment comes.  We have been here nearly 4 weeks, and it looks as if our UAB will wait another 3 weeks or so to be cleared from customs.  It alternately amuses and annoys me to have to wait nearly 8 weeks for the things I can't live without.  Today, I made chili for dinner.  But I had to make it in batches, because I don't have my big soup pot.  Or any soup pot at all, for that matter.  Clearly I can live without my air shipment, but it will be such a treat when it arrives.

Alright, I'd say that's enough excitement for one day.

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