Living in a Telenovela

Esteban told me that I should stop writing about the alarm saga because it must be really boring to anybody reading this. Sorry! We are getting really bored with it ourselves. The only thing is that it has really been illuminating in terms of how things work here and how people deal with situations.  I feel like I am living in a telenovela (a Latin soap opera). We are in a Latin household with a stream of characters coming in and out (literally, our doorbell rings all day long with various members of our nanny’s family and new friends stopping by). Our nanny’s family has adopted us and our plight with the alarm. Or maybe it has taken on a life of its own as we wrangle with the conjunto administration and the police and everybody gets sucked into the drama. Multiple trips to the police station – bored police officers, flirty police officers, police officers playing with Saige (even men seem to love babies here), police officers looking for a bribe.

To sum up the last 5 days or so, we finally got the police to come out and issue our neighbor a citation. She didn’t want to sign it and then didn’t show up at the police station as requested in the citation. Apparently she gets three tries so they issued another citation. While this process could normally easily take months, the flirty police officer on duty issued the second citation for the following day. When we showed up at the police station the following day at the time stated on the citation, we found out that the neighbor had already stopped by saying that her alarm only rings for a few seconds and doesn’t bother anybody. Clearly she is not interested in coming to a compromise.

So what the police suggested that we do (because this citation business could go on for awhile) is that we get at least twelve signatures from other neighbors who are bothered by the alarm. With these signatures, the police can ask the city government for permission to go to our neighbors’ house and take out the outside alarm speaker. Now we are talking! But how long will this take? The police officer said that it should take less than a week to get the authorization from the city. I am skeptical but hopeful.

And then there are more serious problems in our telenovela.  Our housekeeper  is trying to leave her husband because he is a drunk and extremely abusive.  She told me last night that he has been using electric shock as a way to punish the kids! He is threatening to take the kids away if she leaves him and plus, how would she support her kids and where would she live, given that the house is his??? Ugh, it’s heartbreaking and I have no idea how to help other than to give her a raise and send her home each night with some extra food for the kids. But that’s not nearly enough.

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