I’ve lost a bit of the righteous anger I had going for me last week, which has since dissolved into hopeless frustration, but I’ll try to recapture it for the sake of posterity.
The school is attempting to get us residency cards to make traveling and obtaining visas in Jordan more accessible. To that end, they hired a new H.R. representative to help us along that perilous journey through the bureaucracy. To demonstrate what a progressive measure the H.R. rep is, my friend Maya has been in Jordan working at the school since February. The school is just now getting around to applying for her residency. She says it’s a good thing a herd of us foreign teachers showed up or she would have never gotten in to this ultra-exclusive club.
Residency cards allow you to travel and enter Jordanian-run attractions for a tenth of the price you pay if you are a resident. We would REALLY like the cards by the end of November so we can jet off to Wadi Rum and Petra for the next Eid holiday, and the cards will let us pay roughly a twentieth of the foreigner’s price. Worth the wait. Also it will make crossing borders, our other Eid option, a heck of a lot easier. The second reason is that I don’t want a repeat of my experience attempting to come to Jordan.
Highly emotional and on the verge of hysterical about leaving my family, I was told by the guy at the Delta counter that I could not board the plane without a Jordanian visa or a return ticket to America, neither of which I possessed. The result of this confrontation was me bursting into tears at the counter (I said I was emotional) and my mother buying me a $2,000 refundable ticket back to the U.S., which we promptly refunded. As I am going home for Christmas, I would love not to have a fight at the ticket counter again, even though every person I’ve talked to about this has said the Delta representative was full of go-se (not to get too Firefly nerdy on you).
This promise of residency is what sent me into the questionable clinic in a previous blog (my tests came back clean, though I’d be interested to see if I’m still clean AFTER the blood test). It also sent three of us to the police station last Wednesday to get fingerprinted. After spending a week trying to get all three of us together to make the trip, I ended up skipping my morning class. We grabbed our passports and arrived at the police station, where they promptly made us wait for about an hour. They took my two friends’ passports to renew the visas but said mine had to be renewed through the Ministry of the Interior. We got back to school with zero ink having touched our fingers and some massive confusion about what was going on. The bottom line was that I had wasted an entire morning and that I would have to miss another in the foreseeable future for the actual fingerprinting.
Heather, who has needed her visa renewed by the Ministry for about a month now, went to our HR rep to ask when she and I would be shipped off to the ministry. The next day, apparently, but they didn’t need our passports, just the paperwork. They will, I predicted.
Sure enough, the next day, we got an email asking us to bring in our passports on Saturday. Boy, can I call it. I really like that I know more about the residency system than those being paid to look into it. I took both of our passports in to school on Saturday. The guy asked me some random questions, handed back the passports and said to bring them back today (Monday). What was wrong with Saturday again?
Ah, Jordan bureaucracy. How you make my blood pressure rise.