Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'll take the DMV, thanks.

I'm always saying that I can't describe my life here, and I really can't. There's nothing I can think tell you to compare it to at home. But I can't resist attempting to at least try to paint you a picture of my day today because it is the perfect example life in Nepal. I want to preface this by saying that I love this country.

And I love these people. And I love my life. I don't, however, love running errands in Nepal.

So here goes. Background: Leah and I have been in the process of getting a student visa for a couple of months now. We turned in our paper work last week to the Ministry of Education with the man promising to call in two days(mmmhmmmm...). When we hadn't heard from them after 4 days, we spent about 2 hours yesterday morning searching the internet for the phone number of a government building with zero luck. Sidenote: this process also included me running downstairs in my PJ's to find a Nepali to translate an automated recording from one of the dead end phone numbers. After admitting defeat, we decided to get up and go there again this morning.

This brings me to today. Oh what a day. The following is an approximate timeline:

8:40 Catch a taxi from our apt to the Ministry of Education.
9:10 Arrive at the Ministry of Education-only to find out that there are apparently two, so we convince our sweet driver in broken Nepali/English to take us to the correct one.
9:20 Arrive at the second Ministry of Education-only for the guards to tell us that it doesn't open until 11. Again, this is a government building, why would it open before 11?
9:30 Walk down the road to find a cup of coffee and read (we were prepared).
10:50 Pay for our coffee and walk back to the Ministry of Ed.
11:00 Find the building and navigate ourselves to the correct office using this:

11:15 Pick up our completed paperwork and start walking to the immigration office, which we were instructed was "estraight."
11:25 Come to a fork in the road. Ask a Nepali where immigration was. He gives us directions..
11:26 A white man across the crazy busy road flags us down, runs across the street, tells us the Nepali man's directions were wrong and points us in the right direction of the immigration office(how he interpreted our conversation, I will never know).
11:35 Arrive at immigration...for the first time.
11:50 We are directed to three different offices before we finally get to the right one, where the man tells us we need a bank statement-we ask, "Is that all?" He looks at our paperwork and says, "Yes, that is all."
11:55 Get directions from the Nepali guard out front to the nearest branch for our bank. Take off walking.
11:07 Realize there is no bank.
11:08 Asked another Nepali...then interrupted by a second...then third Nepali-we repeatedly explain what we're looking for, they discuss our plight in Nepali and come to a consensus of what we should do.
11:15 Flag down a taxi, and,on faith,tell the driver where our new friends told us to go
11:40 Arrive at the bank, miraculously.
11:40-12:30 Yes, an hour. First, we were directed to the wrong line and waited 30 minutes. Finally got to the right window-where they told us we couldn't get a copy because we signed up for e-statements. Eventually, we talked them into printing it for a fee of about $1.70. During this time, I caught myself absentmindedly doodling, "USA" on things.
12:35 Flagged down a taxi. Ate a granola bar.
1:00 Arrived to immigration for the second time.
1:15 Got back to the office and to the front of the line.
1:16 The same man told us we needed a copy of our passport and visa and to go next door to get it.
1:17 Slightly frustrated, we go next door. Next door tells us no-go across the street.
1:25 Across the street tells us there's no power-walk down the road.
1:40 After walking in to approximately 6 shops, we finally find a place to copy our passports.
2:00 Arrive back to the immigration office for the third time. The man, he signs our paper and sends us to the next office.
2:05 We are near the front of the line, and they bring in food for the workers, and send everyone to the lobby for 30 minutes while they eat.
2:35 Go back in. Give the man our documents. He looks at them and tells us to come back tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.

6 hours.

I will never ever ever ever complain about the DMV again.


Anonymous said...

That wore me out just reading about it. Better luck tomorrow! Praying for you. :)

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