Friday, May 08, 2009

the last 2 weeks

I've been a little scattered over the last two weeks. Last month really. We've been waiting for our visa paperwork to come through. It was supposed to all be renewed by 9 April but as that day approached we had no paperwork from dept. of higher ed so we had to apply for an extension on our current visa. That sounded much more scary and uncertain than it actually was. We just had to fill out some paperwork (easy stuff) and then get some signatures. Really easy in the scheme of things and it didn't even turn out to be a question of if. Really a nice change. And so we had an extension for 30 days and our contacts were assuring us that wouldn't be a problem, we'd surely have our new paperwork to file for a new visa within 30 days. Great.

So as the end of our extension approached, we became desperate again. We need paperwork! One of our contacts said it looks like it'll be a little longer, i'll call ahead to immigration, another extension won't be a problem. So again we went to immigration, filed the super easy paperwork and then brought it to the lady who normally ushers us to the next signature. Instead of sending us on to the next signature, she sent us to the office of the guy over her. We needed to have something explained apparently. Immigration man very kindly explained that he could give us another 30 days without a problem but we HAD to have our Higher Ed. paper work or we would have to leave at the end of this 30 day extension- there wasn't another extension that he could give us. Sigh...

Jonathan went to his office and explained the situation, something has to come through or I can't finish teaching. We got a call later in the day from his office, it seems that all of our paperwork expired with Higher Ed back in Febuary. They can't really do a renewal on something that has been expired. And without their paperwork, we can't have paperwork from another office, because that paperwork has also expired. At some point, someone in charge of handling our papers missed a deadline in February and no one really knows what to do about renewing expired papers. Sigh....

Which leaves us planning to make a short trip out the first of June because we're pretty sure this isn't going to be a problem they (2 different offices) can figure out a solution to AND get us the paperwork in 3 weeks so that we can take it to immigration. Sigh... And actually its ok. We've settled ourselves down to the facts of life and we have a stopgap solution, not a great solution but it buys time and we can stay here after a short trip out.

The problem I can't find a solution around is that our driver's license expires next week. We can't get a new driver's license without a new visa from immigration. I have all of the letters except the new visa to show them, without that, there's is nothing they can do. The nice thing was that they were apologetic about it.

And honestly all of these rules makes sense. Immigrations has granted us 2 extensions, but really, if we can't come up with some new paperwork after 60 days, they can't just let people extend indefinitely. Without showing that you are legal to be in the country for the duration of the driver's license, why should they give you a letter saying you're legal to drive? In truth, I'm glad they didn't bend that rule for my downcast, sweet looking face. This is a country that is digging itself out of a terrible reputation for corruption. They are in between two major nationwide elections that they've tried desperately to make fair and honest. They are sure to have problems and some inaccuracies, but for real, who doesn't? But the fact that the policeman, tried to think of another legal avenue for me to obtain a driver's license and couldn't, and respectively and politely explained the rules, THAT'S FABULOUS!! He's doing his job with integrity and I applaud that.

Truth and Integrity just happened not to swing in my favor and I can live with that. But I'm still pretty down.
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