I am not in this country legally. When I got here, I got the same tourist stamp that everyone else gets, the three-month multiple-entry sticker in my passport. I made an appointment with the Istanbul Polis to get my residency in November. Due to an unbelievably stupid error, I got there on the wrong day–in Turkey, when you write the date, the day and the month are reversed. So 1/11/13 is what I mistankenly read as “the tenth of november,” which isn’t right for a lot of reasons. (of course I did not know this.) Ahmet and I were in line at the Uskudar branch waiting for my appointment, when we looked at the paperwork and realized that it actually happened nine days ago. Whoops.
So I made a new appointment for february (because you can really only get appointments THREE MONTHS IN ADVANCE) and realized this would put me way over my visa BUT IT TURNS OUT that as long as you make the appointment before the visa expires you can hang out in the country just fine HOWEVER I had gotten the appointment two days after my visa had expired BECAUSE I calculated the days wrong. Again whoops.
So I went to the appointment way early, because my appointment was at 4:30, but also it was my first day at work and I also started at 4:30. And I staaaaaaaaaaaared at the polis guy who was filing things for like an hour and a half and it turns out, you really have to keep your appointment time. SO I went back at 4:30 (sorry work) and they didn’t see me until 6 and then a nice poliswoman looked at my papers and filled them out! Hooray! and they she told me to come back tomorrow when the cashier was open and pay a fifty dollar fine. Life is full of these struggles.
SO I came back tomorrow and they told me the fine was actually 3 hundred and 6 lira. Which I didn’t have, not just because they told me to bring a different amount of a different currency, but because in general I needed to eat this month. SOOOO I went back the next day with the scaped-together money and gave it to them, and then went upstairs to file, and they said, where’s your receipt? and I said what? and they said the one which proves you changed 3600 dollars and can stay here for up to a year? and I said I in no way have that sort of money? (what I actually said was “para yok”)
And this african guy next to me patted me on the shoulder and said in english, no man, you just go to the change office and give them maybe thirty lira, and they give you a receipt that says you changed 3600 dollars.
Soooooooo I went to a change office and held my papers against the glass and said “help?” and the guy nodded and typed some numbers into a calculator and showed me “30,” which I dutifully paid. He made me a receipt.
I walked back along the long avenue to the police station–which by the way is much like a vacation to eastern turkey. all of the restaurants claim Gaziantep or Urfa heritage (one is even called “Cigeristan” which means “Liver-land”)
and I get there, and give them my paperwork, the receipt, the proof of payment of the fine, and they say ok! that’ll be two hundred six lira please.
and I said what?
and they said yes, it’s two hundred six lira for an Ikamet.
so it’s alright, the money was again scraped together and the paperwork will be handed into their polisy hands in about two hours. but siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh