Thursday, August 25, 2005

Temporary Insanity

Tuesday morning Yaacov and I went to the "Misrad HaPanim" (aka the Office of the Interior Ministry). My visa expires on Sept 1 and, obviously, I need to get it renewed. I don't want to get into all of the details of how I am able to stay in Israel even though I am not Jewish. Let's just say that there IS a PROCESS and I am following it as best I can.

For those of you unfamiliar with Israeli bureaucracy, please imagine your local DMV. To the mix add clerks that are underpaid, overworked (debatable) and way under-motivated (there's a union, of course). Throw in a good helping of different languages - Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian, and French just to name a few. Think institutional paint job, bad fluorescent lighting, uncomfortable chairs, crying babies, dusty plastic plants, and long lines.

Yaacov and I met with a clerk. We sat across from her desk in a room with stacks of papers, passports and ID cards everywhere, a copier, half-dead plants - ok - it's just so not organized. We filled out the form. She asked me what I had been doing in Israel for the past six months. Then she explained that in order to renew my visa that she needed a letter from the police saying that I hadn't committed any crimes since I have been in Israel. She didn't know how long it would take - maybe three to six weeks. "Call back in a month and see if it's here."

So, what to do in the meantime?! Well, we paid the money for the renewal. She entered all of the info into the computer. I need to carry the receipt in my passport until it's all official.

I don't know why, but every time I go to this office and through this process, it makes me COMPLETELY BONKERS!!!! After we left the building, I threw a little temper tantrum in front of Yaacov (poor thing!). After a couple of hours I felt better, but I am still totally frustrated by the whole crazy mess.

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