So, I started my first week at [unnamed governmental organization]. On my first day, an ex-con threatened to kill me, a small Caribbean woman tried to convert me, and a guy who had his pants buckled at his knees asked me out--oh, but he wasn't there to seek services, he assured me; he was just visiting his friend.
On day two, I was locked in a closet for fifteen minutes, later discovered the "panic button" I have under my desk in case someone that shouldn't gets by the metal detectors at the front door, and had to explain to a woman who was texting on her $200 blackberry why she couldn't receive governmental aid.
The highlight of the week was, when I was called on to help a "Spanish woman" fill out an application. The dialogue goes as follows:
Me: "Si. ¿Usted necesita ayuda?"
Woman: "O, si..com..com..la..."
Me: "Espere..[taking a guess] VOCÊ FALA PORTUGUÊS?"
Woman: [smiling] "Sim, sim! Ta bom! Eu sou do Brasil e estava falando português e ninguém me entende.''
I speak Spanish 2/3 of the time at work--speaking Portuguese was such a delight that I actually spent the rest of the day with a ridiculous smile on my face, even though I couldn't help the woman because of her immigration status. Er, which brings me to the next thing. In Chicago, a Spanish-speaking man was detained for three days and almost deported to Mexico. So what, you say? Here's the kicker. HE WAS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. According to NBC Chicago, the man, Eduardo Caraballo, a native Puerto Rican, was picked up on miscellaneous charges and then held for three days and almost deported because his documents appeared to be fake. See, this is what happens when we're misinformed and ignorant about things. In the interview, Mr. Caraballo speaks English, but if anyone had bothered to interview him in Spanish, I'm sure they would clearly hear his Puerto Rican accent and anyone with half an ear could distinguish it from a Mexican accent--even though I'm reminded of the scene in the movie El Norte, when the main characters who are from Guatemala get picked up by Immigration and start cursing like Mexicans (in order to get deported back to Mexico instead of all the way to Guatemala) prompting one of the white immigration officers to say in English, "Gee, they sure sound like Mexicans."
And yes, Puerto Ricans are, by birth, US citizens, being that the island is a commonwealth of the United States, like Guam and the US Virgin islands. Actually, a new law was just passed that states that all Puerto Ricans must obtain new birth certificates to combat immigration fraud and identity theft. I read in a book somewhere (this is vague, but I'm sure it was involved with thesis research when I was interested in the Caribbean) that there was an instance (or many) when a Colombian girl went to visit her "relatives" in Puerto Rico. While she was there, she obtained an [illegal] birth certificate that now "made" her a US citizen.
Oh, the world.
In other, much more trivial news, I was denied entrance to a club for the first time. Why? Because we didn't "know" anyone inside. Funny, isn't it?