Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Visa Saga Part Four - Shut Up and Kiss Me

Step three is to register with the local police in charge of the area where your work office is located. I had tried to go to this office while I was waiting for the labor department to move, but was strictly told that I could not process the paper work out of order.

The morning after I got my Alien employment permit I was busy and couldn't make it to the police office until the afternoon. I went in and the officer was just getting up from his desk. "I have a meeting" he said "but you can sit down here and wait for me to get back". I sat on the couch he had motioned to and waited, and waited and waited. After about two hours I realized why his meeting was taking so long. In this country every Wednesday afternoon everyone student, bank worker, police, garbage man, everyone, has to attend political meetings. These often go until four or four thirty in the afternoon. I decided I didn't want to wait around that long, so I headed home.

The next morning I went back to his office first thing in the morning. He told me in order to fill out the needed paperwork he had to come to our office and make sure it was suitable. He had no time to come that day but told me he would by be by around 9 a.m. the next morning. Before I left he held out his hand to shake mine. This always creates a problem for me. In Uyghur culture man and woman who are not family should never touch each other. In fact, one of the ways a man can say he is engaged is that he touched a girl. I never know whether I should follow Uyghur culture and refuse the outstretched hand, or accept the fact that they are mimicking my culture and proceed like it is normal. I figured since he was the police and we were officially in his office that a hand shake seemed like an official way to seal our meeting for the next day (mind you I did wait to put on my gloves first so that our bare hands did not touch).

I went to the office for eight thirty in case he were early. I got the tea on and sat down to wait. Almost two hours later he called to say he was in the lobby and could I come down and meet him. As we were riding back up on the elevator to the 18th floor (our office is on the 17th floor but the elevators in our building only stops on even numbered floors) the police man decided to practice his English, here is what he knows:

"kiss me"

I try to gauge his seriousness without actually looking at his face. I can see his reflection slightly in the number panel above the door (the same panel that sadly tells me we are only on the 6th floor). I laugh nervously "that is what you've studied in English? It is rather rude; you need to find a new teacher."

"Shut up", his vocabulary is improving about as fast as the elevator is creeping upwards.

Once we are in the office I sit down to wait as he snoops around for a few minutes. He finishes rather quickly and comes and sits right beside me on the couch (I am really glad one of our employees is just in the other room). Only then does he tell me he forgot the paperwork in his office and I will have to go back there this afternoon. As he says this he starts hitting my hand in a very playful, very flirty, very very inappropriate way. "You know I could process your paper work faster if you promised to teach me English" by this time I have moved off the couch so he can't swap me again.

In the afternoon I headed to his office armed with a plan. My friend is a teacher at a private English school, (the prices are way above what this guy could afford for private lessons). I went in and introduced her as the best English teacher I know. She gives him her business card, (that only has the schools number on it and no way to contact her personally). We sat on the couch, first she put her coat at one end, then her bag, then she sat down. I sat right next to her. I put my purse on the couch next to me and my coat spreads out to the other end of the couch. The police officer had no choice but to sit on the chair across from us, and fill out my paperwork.

19 days - 3 days spent interacting with the inappropriate police man - a 2 day weekend = 14 days left.

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