A lot has been happening since I returned and things have taken on a new energy for me. It’s nice. I feel much more settled and at home than I did the first 5 months. I didn’t realize there was anxiety underlying things but there was and it’s gone now. I’m settled in. I live here. I tell people “I moved here in January” and I feel as though I am able to take on the authenticity of an actual resident. A true ex-pat. I’m becoming part of the community. While before I felt like I was a girl who loves Morocco (of which there are millions) and decided to return here (of which there are thousands), I now feel like I can own that. I live here. It’s been almost a year. I now have 2 (two!) bank accounts here. I have a legal business. I have a life here. This is me. Us. We are a thing in this country and I have the business cards and contracts and rubber stamps to prove it.
Things have been busy and while that is a lot of fun, because I love the work I am doing, I am starting to figure out what I can and can not do on my own. I do not fear the language barrier anymore and let’s face it – there is work to be done and I have to forge forward whether I have help or not. The first obstacle arose when, after being on hold for over three months, I finally arrived at the bank to further legitimize one of our business lines and heard right off the top, “you need copies of all these documents and they need to be stamped at the moqatar.”
Ftlog. How was this information not included when I got the papers in May? SoI was fortunate enough to have one of my business partners available to take care of this task. It required only effort – no money, no ID. Just a trip to the rubber stamp factory.
Then I was able to make it back to the bank and get more papers. Which required a signature. And then I had to take those papers back to the rubber stamp factory and then back to bank. Cool. I can handle these tasks. Off I go.
First job – get there. I walked over to a cafe near the local prison for breakfast. Then I needed a taxi. I am starting to understand now what information I need to present and how to present it in order to get me a taxi. (A business card with an Arabic address is the best thing in the world).
So I hop out into the road, hail a taxi and one stops. I lean my head in the window and say “mokatAR”. Blank stare, shakes head. I repeat it over again. And again. I’m ashamed to admit I probably said it louder at one point. Nothing. I abandon mission.
Stepping to the side of the road I phone a friend. “How do you say mokatAR?” The response is, “not mokatAR, it’s moqatar”. “MokatAR?”, “no, moqatar”
“Ok. Got it. I may call back.”
I hail another taxi. I swallow. Clear my throat. Lift my chin a little and in the clearest Canadian – Arabic accent I can muster I say “moqatar”. SUCCESS! Then he points out that it’s not far. Ok LOOK. I had a plan you see, it was timed out in my head. Take a taxi there quick quick, walk back to the bank – much farther. Then a few other chores. You need not judge me Mr. taxi man. Hhhhhhh.
I arrive at the boom boom room. The nice guard motions me in. I stand in “line” (no such thing exists here). Then I go to the desk and hand over my two papers. Two signatures in place. Straight forward. The man points at the paper ledger. I have the wits about me to say “ma nom ou ma signature?” (imagine signature said confidently in my best Inspector Clouseau accent). I write, I sign, I put my passport number. He stamps my papers. Then suddenly my papers are tossed (literally) to another man amidst a massive pile of other papers. ALERT! Keep your eyes ON THE PAPERS. I felt like I was executing a man overboard drill on a sail boat. Do not blink, do not get distracted. Eyes on the target. Then this new man stamps the papers. Boom. Boom. He passes them to a third man who also stamps and then back to the first who stamps again and then signs the stamp. The second man takes the papers and points at one of the stamps. I write my name there on both copies. Then the first man looks at me. I look at him. He smiles. I smile. Salam! Off I go.
Piece of cake. Until next time!