I have waited in all the necessary lines and jumped through all the necessary hoops in order to become an officially recognised extranjero, translation = alien or foreigner. I think I prefer the former.
It was easier than I had thought it would be but involved a fair few steps and visits to different offices. In general the Spanish seem to lack any sense of urgency, laid back Vancouver feels light speed fast in comparison. A result of this is that any transaction in an official capacity tends to take a long time. For example, this morning I had all my documentation ready and arrived at the appropriate office to file my NIE application. I was 8th in line when I arrived 30 minutes before they opened. When my number was called I handed over the necessary paperwork and was presented with a payment form. For unknown reasons they don’t accept payments in the office, the form is taken to any bank and you are then given the receipt to bring back as proof of payment. Realising it would be better to not make a 2nd trip to the office I went to the nearest bank, paid my fee and returned to wait in line once more. This time I was 18 people back in the line, the machine that spits out your number kindly tells you how far back in the queue you are. I waited another 45 minutes or so until it was all said and done… total time there: 2 hours. The 2nd time I was served there must have been 30-40 people waiting, there was 1 person working.
In any case I now have my NIE, the magical number that makes most publicly funded system available to me, such as the library and bicing. It was the last official step I needed to do to be settled here.