Monday, August 27, 2012

Legal Immigrant

Well, I hit the ground running yesterday! Part of being a foreigner here is renewing my residence permit every year so I remain a "legal immigrant". My permit expires Thursday, so I knew I would have to go down to the central police office and renew my residence permit sometime this week. Yesterday, I emailed our HR department to ask if they could send over my renewal paperwork right away. I got a phone call an hour later from a colleague who also needed to renew hers saying that they were sending the paperwork for both of us over and we could go together. For some reason you have to go the same day as the contract renewal letter is dated, so we had to go yesterday. So, we trekked down about 1:45. I have to submit a new picture every year, as well as various copies of my passport, so I went to get my picture taken first. Every year I say I’m actually going to have a nice picture taken, but every year I end up going while I’m jet lagged/sick/extremely overheated at the end of August, and I always look depressed and/or deranged in my photos. Yesterday it was the hair that gave me away. I wanted to explain to the police officer that I had just come back yesterday, as he could see from my paperwork, and that’s why my hair is bad in the picture. He didn’t seem to care, though, so I let it go.

We got to the office and got our number at around 2:30. I got number 500, and there were 44 people in front of me, my paper number informed me. Bad sign. So, we decided to go back out and sit in some A/C for an hour. The only problem is that to get into the police compound you have to go through two security checkpoints. My colleague is getting married in 3 weeks and had just received a package with her wedding shoes in it, which she brought with her. So, at every checkpoint the guards made her open the box and they went over the shoes carefully. In total, I think we went through 6 checkpoints yesterday. At least it was her, not me, who mentioned that maybe she shouldn’t have brought the shoes in retrospect. I’m glad we were together, though, because she had her Kindle with her and we played word games while we waited until her battery ran out.

Anyway…we got our paperwork turned in at 4:45, and it just so happens that my husband works next door to that building. Convenient! I just waited 30 minutes or so until he got off work, and we headed home. I should get my documents in about 2 weeks, so that’s all taken care of. I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly, so that was definitely a nice welcome home!

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