Well, here we are in 2017! What a week. At this point, I’m still waiting to get my visa extension in hand. If Rouchdi can’t pick it up this week I’m sure on his next day off we will head to Taghazout to get it. Speaking of Rouchdi and days off, this week he had two days off, one being his birthday. It was nice to spend the extra time with him because he hasn’t had a day off in 2 weeks. Right now, with the holidays, it’s the busiest time of year for the surf camps.
The week has been full of ups and downs, honesty. I was speaking to Maureen in Kuwait this week and the subject of getting my Carte Sajour (civil ID/residency permit) came up. To get her residency in Kuwait (she is a teacher there) she had to be fingerprinted in the US and get a background check. This gave me extreme anxiety, as I wasnt fingerprinted nor did I get a background check beforeleaving the US. When I read about the Carte Sajour online, all the information was different. My impression after reading the Moroccan Public Information website was that everything could be done from within Morocco. This is what I found on the http://www.service-public.ma webiste:
What are the documents required for obtaining or renewing the registration card for a foreigner in Morocco?
To obtain or renew a registration card for a foreigner in Morocco, he must submit the following:
1-copies of passport pages of the applicant contain:
-The seal and the date of his entry into Morocco;
-The visa that allows entry into Morocco, for foreigners subject to this procedure.
(2) the printout relating to the application for the registration card completed in two copies;
3-6 passport photos;
4 Contract of Lease, ownership certificate or any document justifying the permanent residence of the person concerned in Morocco
7-Proof of means of subsistence;
8-a document justifying the nature of the activity carried out where appropriate.
I did read on some blogs that an US background check was necessary, but each blog was different and vague, having information that was a few years old. Some said the background check and fingerprinting was done in Morocco… while still others said it was done in both countries. After further research this week, I found that what is needed depends on the city in which you are applying and their requirements. This seems believable because like I mentioned before, there is no US fingerprinting and background check specified on the official Moroccan government website. Last night I came across a blog post written in March 2016 by a blogger called PrettyKamel . This is the most recent information on the subject I have found on a blog. His blog gives information on how to get a background check for your Carte Sajour while in Morocco ( http://www.justice.gov.ma/ ) So, last night, I filled out the online form, uploaded a copy of my passport and received my confirmation email. At this point, I’m hoping this will be what I need and a trip out of the country wont be needed in April. Honetly, it’s an expense I’m not ready for, but we shall see.
Needless to say, all of this has brought up the issue of Rouchdi getting a visa to come with me to visit the US in the summer. If I don’t get my residency permit the visit will also be to get that background check etc… But, for him as a Moroccan, a visa is more difficult than for us. The Moroccan and US governments have very stringent requirements for obtaining even a visit visa for Moroccans. Most of it revolves around income… as matter of fact all the visa options do…whener its his income or mine. Most Moroccans don’t get paid “on the books” because the employers dont want to pay taxes on the employees….making a visa virtually impossible to receive. Rouchdi is working for someone currently with the agreement that he would be able to get his income and job verification in order to get a visa for the summer. All of this remains to be seen, as Moroccans are big on the “honor system” and nothing is gotten in writing. As you can understand, for a minimum wage earner a visa is hard to come by and right now he is saving everything he makes in order to be able to travel with me back home this summer. I could go on and on about this subject and coming home this summer…. the expense… his expectations of the US… how to get him a proper visa… where to stay… visiting my family… having transportation …all of it is overwhelming. It has caused us some miscommunications and arguments this week, if I’m going to be honest. So, for now, I’m going to let this subject lie and not get ahead of myself and into the future. Right now, I just want us to focus on me getting my residency permit. Im hoping it will not require a flight home first before its obtained, and maybe even that having it can change how the future plays out …. the butterfly effect , you know?
On Wednesday I made my weekly trip to the souk. On the way, I was asked for the time by a young Moroccan. He offered to walk with me, as we were going the same way. His name was Salim, he’s 22 and a surfer. He was funny and sweet. It was nice to have someone to walk and talk with. His English was adequate enough for small talk, which was fine by me, as it made the walk go by just a bit quicker.
Once I got to town I stopped for coffee then, went to the souk. While at the souk I realized I really needed to at least learn the numbers in Arabic. I would buy something and they would ask for payment in Arabic…now, we know, I had no idea what they were saying. Some would use their fingers to show me while with others, I would just put out my hand full of dirham coins and they would take what they needed. On my walk home, I wondered how many of them ripped me off lol… It seemed most of the vegetables where 10 dirhams a kilo (about $1.00). I decided that I would ask Rouchdi to help me learn the numbers so I would know what they were asking for, and maybe even be able to haggle a bit, as Moroccans are huge on haggling. Rouchdi is the haggling king. LOL
While I was relaxing my aching feet, after I returned home, I received a Facebook notification from the local buy, sell, trade group here. It was an announcement for Darija classes at the bottom of the hill, the cost is 70 dirhams ($7.00) for an hour and a half class. I was so excited to see this that I immediately texted the person who posted it, It turns out that the class is every Thursday. This was great news, mostly because last Thursday was Rouchdis birthday and I planned on spending the day with him. So, it goes wihtout saying I’m excited for 11 am to roll around this Thursday so I can take my first Moroccan Arabic class. The funny thing about all this is that, on my walk to Aourir that day, I noticed a sign at the bottom of the hill. The sign was for Riad Dar Haven , the location of the classes. It was strange, I had seen the sign before, but on that day I remember looking for the Riad, trying to figure out where it was down the alley. I don’t know, but I look at it as serendipity , don’t you?