How I Spent My Birthday

So, here’s how I spent my birthday…prepare yourself…
Paul and I received a message a few weeks ago saying that we had to go pick up a legal document on Saturday, April 4. Whoopee. Just what I want to do on my birthday, go down to the immigration office. But we think that since we have an appointment we’ll be in and out in no time. We are so naive. Have we learned nothing in the past year??
We leave the house at 2:30 p.m. and arrive at the immigration office about 3:20 p.m. Our appointment was between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. Upon approaching the office we see a good many people outside. And I don’t just mean 50 or 75 people, it was more like 200 or 250 people, from every tribe, tongue and nation, or so it seemed. We ask a very kind police officer if we need to wait since we have an appointment. Can you guess the answer?? I’ll give you one guess. So we head to the back of the line to wait….and wait….and wait.
Luckily, we remembered to bring along some reading materials just in case something like this happened. After about an hour of standing, not in a line mind you but a cluster of people that probably looked like cattle to onlookers and passersby, a young Indian girl in front of me passed out due to overheating and the lack of oxygen available in the middle of herd.
We finally make it to the front and what do we learn? There are three more holding pins in front of us before we get to the door. By this time we have moved from about 75 yards or so from the door to about 50. The gates open for us to move to the next pin and just like cattle everyone is pushing and shoving so much that the police (aka herdsman) have to stop everyone to make them quit pushing. Luckily we were able to escape to the next pin before this happened. Maybe it wasn’t escaping so much as it was pushed out front.
After about an hour and a half we had worked our way through all four holding pins and were in line at the door. We were ushered inside and sat down for about 10 minutes and then went inside. We had made it, we were inside!! This was it. We got to the window and received our documents without incident. We rejoiced!! It only took a year and a month to get this document. We head home and decide to wait for a bus instead of walking all the way back to the train station. We waited for 45 minutes or an hour. Bus never came. Public transportation is wonderful. We took another bus to a train station, waited for about 15 or 20 minutes for a metro and finally arrived home at 7:00p.m. Remember we started this little trip at 2:30p.m. It was a great birthday.
Oh, and the best surprise was that after examining our newly received documents closer, we discovered they expired in December 2008. Happy birthday.

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One thought on “How I Spent My Birthday

  1. Oh my gosh! I just love Europe…
    your story reminds me of stuff I have gone through here in Spain, though my experiences haven’t been quite as traumatic…wow!

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