Oman episode 4 🇬🇧

Two days after the arrival, on Friday morning 8.30 am, a phone call on the hotel phone wakes me up. “Hi there, I’m X and want to show you some flats”. “Now? Weren’t you supposed to come tomorrow?” I ask surprised, but happy that something is actually happening. Twenty minutes and a quick shower later I go downstairs and meet the housing person from the UoN who drives me to a nearby building which belongs to the University and shows me two flats. I like the second one and so I decide to take it. He’s happy to be dealing with someone who isn’t too fussy about it (but the flat is so nice that there was nothing to be fussy about!) and takes me back to the hotel announcing that the check-out will be on Sunday morning before going to work. In the end, it’s the following day, Saturday morning at 7.30am, about which he informs me the very same Friday evening after I had gone shopping for the first time in Oman and bought enough food to last me two days.

On Saturday at 7.30 am we get to new flat (it is literally almost a new building, too). I’m happy and excited. The flat is furnished, but has not basic utensils, so after being kindly dropped by the housing man at the phone store where I finally get myself a sim card (you can’t function without a phone number here), I manage to get a taxi (with someone’s help) which takes me to a massive supermarket where I buy stuff such as pots, cups, plates, cutlery and some cleaning products (the most basic of the basics for now until B. arrives and we can go shopping together). After the shop, the same taxi driver takes me back home and helps me carry the shopping all the way up to the second floor leaving his car unlocked because…it’s so safe here!!  I have no Internet, but am happy that the things are moving forward. I offer A. to stay with me for the time being because she’s decided to look for her own flat and I have a spare bedroom. We take a little trip to the lovely town centre and she shows me around a little. Things are certainly looking up, I think…

On Sunday morning (exactly a week ago), I go to work full of enthusiasm hoping to apply for B. visa. That’s when the problems begin and it takes me exactly one week (until today) to solve them. First of all, I’m told that my husband will not be allowed to get a family visa at all, because only men are allowed to bring their wives and children on this visa and women aren’t. I despair. I check the offer letter and it does, indeed, say that, but I completely misunderstood it back in April. I despair. I am then told that he will be able to get a visit visa for three months with one month extension, so every four months he will have to leave the country and come back again. It’s absolutely unacceptable, I think. To top it all up, in order to apply for the visit visa for B., I first need to get a resident card, which involves going for a medical check-up and registration at the police and which in itself might take a while. On learning this, I am thoroughly depressed. I thought B. would be here within one week, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be the case at all!!!

A. comes to the rescue. Since we are not teaching in the first week and have the time to sort out our things, she asks if she herself, as opposed to the university staff who were in no hurry, can take me for the check-up and they allow her to. She drives me there on Monday and I get my certificate, as well as, for some reason, mumps vaccine. The following day (Tuesday) I get taken by the staff to the police and leave with my resident card (which opens a lot of doors in Oman), which I think is super quick and quite brilliant, to be honest. On the same day, I apply for B.’s visa and I’m told it’ll take 1-2 days. At this point I’m hopeful. What can go wrong now, right? Well, something does. The following day (Wednesday) I’m told that our marriage certificate, which had been certified and attested to the highest possible level by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, has to be stamped again by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oman. I say it doesn’t, they insist it does, but offer to take it there for me. I’m relieved. The following day (Thursday) they say that actually it’s not the right place and I need to take it to the Pakistani Embassy in Muscat, but I can’t, because I’m in training on Thursday morning and can’t miss it since I’m a newbie, plus I tell them again that there’s no need (The day before at lunchtime I actually approached a group of Pakistani professors who welcomed me like no less than a family member. I explained my problem to them and they too said that there was no need for further attestation. They also offered to do it for me in case I couldn’t do it by myself). Tears start rolling down my cheeks. It’s Thursday and it’s been over a week since I left B. and thought the visa was supposed to be ready by then, it’s still not happening, plus it’s the weekend ahead, so more waiting. Seeing me crying the staff promise me that it would be sorted first thing on Sunday (today). I really must admit that despite the fact that they messed me about a little (which isn’t really their fault, I mean how many Polish girls married to Pakistani men are there in Oman after all?), I can see that they are doing their absolute best to help me. Today (Sunday) I go to see them first thing in the morning and a few hours later they confirm that the visa is there waiting for B. at the airport. The only thing left to do now is book a ticket for him, which will hopefully happen tomorrow. In sha Allah.

Everyone says they are astonished how quickly I have managed to sort this out. Apparently, it can even take up to two months to get this type of visa. I am missing B. so much though that two months wasn’t an option for me. However, it really wasn’t me who made it happen. I don’t think that I have ever in my life met so many kind-hearted people in such a short period of time!!! Everyone has been so considerate, helpful and encouraging, even if just with words and messages. A. has helped me a lot driving me to the doctors and listening to my moaning (after all she’s staying with me at the moment), J. helped me to sort out the Internet, one person got me lunch when I was too upset to get it myself, numerous people have sent messages  and offered help when I was ready to go back to Islamabad. I already feel like the luckiest person in the world to be surrounded with all these people. I am only now counting down the days for my Beloved husband to arrive and join me in this adventure…





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