Qatar Roller Coaster

So let me tell you a little about this Qatar Roller Coaster but please keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and not everyone takes the same Roller Coaster to QATAR.

If I had hair, I’d be bald, but I already am and therefore have none to pull out and none to lose. If I was light skinned, my face would be red, but I’m brown skinned, so therefore you can’t see my meter go up. LOL. I have to laugh to keep from crying, because this whole process is frustrating and a lot of people in my shoes would have probably given up by now.  But not me, although sometimes for a brief moment of insanity I want to.  But then all of this would have been for nothing, and a HUGE waste of time.  [Side note: I hate wasting time! It is a pet peeve of mine.]

So let me tell you a little about this Qatar Roller Coaster but please keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and not everyone takes the same Roller Coaster to QATAR.  If your situation is similar to mine, (married, divorced, school age kids by first husband, remarried) then please learn from my mistakes.

  • I drove to Harrisburg to get my modified custody order authenticated and they turned me down.  The paperwork did not have the proper certification or signature.
  • Called PROEX to continue with the authentication of the Degree and state criminal checks so the custody order wouldn’t hold up those items or the beginning process of my visa. [Thank God I did, keep reading]
  • Received my authenticated paperwork back from PROEX! YAY

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  • Went to family court after numerous phone calls to confirm I was doing this right.  Paid $41.58 to have the court certify and sign the custody order.
  • Mailed the form to Harrisburg
  • Harrisburg couldn’t authenticate my custody order. WHY? Because the certification that I paid for, was incorrect.  [SCREAM] Hopefully the information I got today over the phone is correct or hopefully I understand it correctly.  So here is the scoop: My modified custody order needs to be taken to the Court of Common Pleas, City Hall, not Family Court.  It is there where I must get it certified, and signed by the Director of the office of the Judicial Records for another whopping $41.58. [Laugh to keep from crying] Guess what, I have to wait for Harrisburg to mail the order back to me first, then take it down there, then mail it back to Harrisburg.  Blessing: I didn’t drive all the way to Harrisburg this time, I mailed it.  I only wasted the price of 2 stamps this time and avoided a meltdown at the state office.
  • FBI still doesn’t have me in the system (OMG U.S. CAN BE JUST AS SLOW AS THE MIDDLE EAST) but they are opening mail postmarked from March 14, 2016 as of today, which is when mine was postmarked.  So fingers crossed ours gets opened this week. P.S. call them every week to see if they have hit your date.
  • I received an email from the H.R. rep saying my family flights to Doha were secured for August 19th and our housing has been requested.
  • I emailed him back and requested that date be moved up to Aug 15 or 16. Because I am supposed to start work on Aug 21.  If I leave on the 19th, I will probably still be jet-lagged and I need time to settle in.
  • Hey at least our flights are booked.
  • Everyone has their luggage. TJMax has great luggage. Keep checking your favorite TJ Max store, as they get new shipments of luggage weekly.  That is where I purchased the boys luggage.  I got mine from Boscovs.  My sister and brother swear by Boscovs and now I am a believer.  I couldn’t believe I found the luggage I wanted there.
  • I also purchased packing cubes, a luggage scale and a lavender eye mask from Amazon. I don’t want to have messy luggage, go over the luggage capacity or be awake for a 12-14 hour flight.
  • Only 2 weeks left at work! YAY!
  • One of my girlfriends have agreed to take Zoey, the dog! YAY! She will be picked up in July.  I hope she likes her new home.  There’s 6 kids there and another Shih Tzu.
  • Booked a flight to North Carolina for me and the boys for the end of this month.  We are going to visit, Toketha. She is another teacher that is going to Qatar that I met via Facebook.  Her son is around the same age as Zamir, so we thought it would be a good idea that they meet.  They have already connected via the Book.
  • The bright side of the paperwork is that the custody papers should be back from the authentication process from the state and the FBI clearance should all arrive around the same time.  Then I can send them off together to PROEX to have the process completed.  That will be the end of the paperwork, HOPEFULLY!
  • My translated custody order is in the mail.
  • I’m 50% through with my TEFL online course.

So as you can see, there is a lot of behind the scene things that are occurring.  Sometimes I look at others situations and get discouraged because many of the other teachers are already done with all their paperwork.  Some weren’t even required to get documents translated.  Some saved money by completing the whole authentication process on their own.  But hey this is my situation, my life, our journey.  And I’m on it for the long ride.

The Never Ending Story

…I feel like this paperwork is a never ending story with twist and turns and that I will never accomplish my goal.

I love the movie, The Never Ending Story.  I remember my mother took me to the movies to see it when I was a little girl.  I was fascinated by the thought of one’s life being read by someone else in a story.  I used to believe that people, somewhere, were reading about me and my life.  I guess that is kind of how a blog is.  Anyway, in the movie, Atreyu, the Native American Warrior, was trying to save Fantasia but he kept hitting brick walls, in a sense. Every turn he made, he had to overcome another obstacle, in order to stop the ‘nothing’ from engulfing his world.  When he finally arrived at the empress, he thinks he failed his quest but in reality the whole journey was necessary.  Right now, I feel like this paperwork is a never ending story with twist and turns and that I will never accomplish my goal.

Where do I start?

The last time I posted about all the paperwork, I was in the process of requesting our FBI clearances.  Well, on a day in which Darryl was working from home and I was off, we went to the Philadelphia State Police to get fingerprinted, only to find out that they no longer do fingerprinting for employment abroad.  We left there feeling disappointed but not discouraged.  I called around and found out that the Abington Police still do the fingerprinting for a $20 fee each.  So that’s where we went.  Afterward I called the FBI, just to confirm our applications were complete before sending them off. I was informed that there is a 13-15 week processing time. (Can you see me with my mouth open?) So I sent off the applications, fingerprints and $18.00 money orders.

All of our new passport have arrived.  I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to take our trip to Canada but the passports came in, that same week thankfully.  Darryl’s state criminal clearance finally came in the mail.  The boys old school never responded to my emails so I searched and found their report cards and scanned them to QA Doha and QA Sidra schools.  My ex-husband signed the sponsorship letter and I had both the letter and and divorce degrees translated as requested.  I used ABS Translation Interpreting Services, Inc.. Aram was very quick with the turn around of these documents and super nice.  I definitely recommend this company.  I paid $98.00 for the translation of these documents, only to be told that my divorce decree was not sufficient for sponsorship of my sons because it didn’t mention a custody order.  So getting that translated was a waste of time and money.

Everyone got their blood work and medical forms completed.  I found out I have high cholesterol.  So now I take a pill a day for that. While seeing my GYN she discovered a lump in my right breast.  I had to go get a mammogram and ultrasound just to be on the safe side.  Took care of that and got a clean bill of health.  Thank God.  Even went to see the Dermatologist. So I’ve been poked and prodded by everybody.  But I’m happy to say, I’m in pretty good health.

I located my custody order that was agreed upon in mediation, but it was hand written. That didn’t go over well.  I spent a day down town at Family Court getting a copy of the official custody order, and requested a modification of the custody order (at the request of my Qatar hiring manager due to the weekend visitations).  The copy and hearing request cost me approximately $45.00.  I was told I would get a court date in the mail probably for some time in July and in order to request an expedited court date, I would still have to wait until I receive the official court date.  At that time, I could return to Family Court, pay a fee, and prove reason for expedited service or enter a custody stipulation with required paperwork (for a fee, I’m sure).   A custody stipulation is an agreement between my ex-husband and I, signed and submitted to court to modify the current order and then signed by the judge without a court hearing.  I have spoken to my ex-husband and he is being really supportive and agreeable.

As of now, the only things I am still waiting for are: FBI clearances, a Court Date for modification of custody and a Judges signature on my custody stipulation.  In the meantime, I am beginning the authentication process.  My degree, transcipt and state criminal clearance as well as Darryl’s have been notarized.  Tomorrow I will be driving to Harrisburg to get these documents authenticated at the state level. Then I will be sending them to a company to finish the authentication process. Sure I could just send them to the company to complete the whole process, but this way I save myself a few dollars.

And in this story there is some light:

“Dear parent of Zarien G,

Thank you for applying to Qatar Academy Doha!

It is a pleasure to inform you that your child Zarien has been offered a space in Grade 8 الصف الثامن for the academic year 2016-2017.”

My youngest son has been accepted.  The Admin at Doha along with the Admin at my son’s current school arranged for him to take the admissions test at his current school and he did well, I assume.  My son said he thought he did well and well this email proves it.  I am so proud of him.  One less thing to worry about.  My oldest son will complete his test tomorrow.  I truly hope that Doha is a good fit for my boys.  I have heard mixed opinions about the school but the campus is beautiful and I like the programs I’ve read about there.

So as you follow along in my Never Ending Story, I ask that you root for me, like Sebastian did for Atreyu. This journey is necessary!  Only 4 months to go until the new chapter begins.