If any of you have experienced the daunting challenge of not just downsizing, but actual liquidation of home, assets and inventory, you know the sheer emotional toll it takes (not to mention the physical stress). Some of you will recall that we plan to make Manzanillo our permanent home and return to Canada in spring/summer to visit our kids and family who are spread out all over the country. On the bright side as one of our friends said, we are saving them a lot of hassles in the future. Having taken care of my mother’s estate, I know this to be true. At any rate the interruption for a two day trip to the Mexican Consulate in Calgary, Alberta, became a welcome break.
We jumped in the car for a four to five hour drive and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing back roads for a while. We live forty minutes outside Edmonton. This allowed us
to unwind a bit as we marveled at the beauty of the rolling hills, vast expanses of brilliant yellow canola fields in bloom and the farms and lakes that spread out over the quiet country landscape. Did you know that Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined? Soon enough however, it was necessary to merge onto the freeway and join the never ending stream of commuters between our provincial capital of Edmonton and Calgary.
We were well informed via the Mexican consulate website about the requirements needed to make application for our permanent Mexican visas. Then we had booked an appointment ahead of time. To be extra cautious we had also discussed our plan with a local Mexican lawyer in Manzanillo before leaving in the spring. The lawyer specializes in obtaining visas and knows all about the technicalities that we could encounter. It gave us some comfort to know that in her opinion we would qualify without problems. Having owned a condo in Manzanillo for the past seven years also helps. At one time, roughly three years ago we would have begun this process in Manzanillo but that has changed and it is now necessary to initiate application in Canada. We downloaded the application forms and did our best to comply with all instructions.
Armed with passports, current bank statements, financial assets documentation, completed forms and required copies, we made our way to the consulate in the heart of downtown Calgary. The only real challenge we had experienced thus far was with our passport photos.
The consulate requires these photos be smaller than the standard passport photos that are provided at photo service shops. Observing this we decided the only thing we could do was trim the photos down ourselves to the 3 x 2.5 centimeters stated. Fortunately there was enough background in the photos to do so without cutting off any part of our faces and hair. As it turned out, the measurements they ask for fit very precisely onto the small photo box provided on the form.
It was a very busy office. We turned in our information to the employee at the reception area and were then asked to be seated and wait. I found myself strangely anxious about the whole procedure and felt somewhat like a schoolgirl waiting in the principal’s office for approval. It’s funny how the mind works.
After about 30 minutes, we were asked to proceed to one of the offices where we were told that all was in order. We needed to sit for yet another photo and were actually finger printed. This was quite a surprise for me and my first experience doing so. I must imagine they may run these against some sort of data base as a measure to snag criminal backgrounds or for tracing information in the future, but that’s a guess on my part. Once concluded, a Mexican visa was pasted onto a page in our Canadian passports for presentation when we enter Mexico. I must say that when leaving the office I felt like I had won a lotto. We had so much riding on this success and our plans to make our home in Manzanillo.
Passports in hand, we now have six months to present ourselves to customs in Manzanillo and complete the final leg of our application. Now we can complete our journey knowing that all is in order. It’s a significant step in the decision making process involved in liquidation here in Canada. Otherwise, alternative plans would need to be made regarding residency designations in Canada and a whole host of issues surrounding our tax laws, pensions and public healthcare. We’re not done yet by any stretch but we are now well on our way.
As we near the end of August we are experiencing an unusual weather cold front and the weatherman has had the audacity to warn about possible frost overnight. Three weeks earlier we were trying to stay cool through a record breaking heat wave. The tumultuous weather patterns all over the world have us all concerned about climate change but I still can’t help smiling to myself knowing that there will be no snow to deal with this winter in our beautiful ocean-side condo. Color me absolutely delighted. Now back to sorting and packing.
By Suzanne A. Marshall
Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.
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