Time to renew our visas, always a painful experience. Already I have filled out 5 applications, created new photos at just the right sizes, photocopied all pages of everyone's passports, and assembled contracts, work agreements, paystubs, and so on for a stack nearly 100 pages deep. We must apply in person at the police station and sometimes the wait can be very long, so to be on the safe side we decide to come an hour before they open to stand in line to get a ticket. Upon arriving, we found 150 people in line ahead of us. It turns out because of strike, UDI was closed all last week, so now the office was packed with people like ourselves who were waiting until the last minute to get their paperwork.
We got our ticket and went back home. A few hours later we returned but found that only 30 people had gone through. So throughout the day we explored downtown, and kept checking back to see what number they were on. (* Business idea: open a coffee shop near UDI that shows what number they're serving.) The numbers went by very very slowly.
Finally, it was closing time but they announced they would stay open until we all had gone through. An hour passed. The kids were restless. I clutched my ticket #690, watching as the numbers ticked up through the 680s. Then disaster: a large man entered the room, apologized, and explained that they could not see us all today. We could get our ticket stamped and come back in the morning. Ugh! A few more numbers flipped as he explained. The counter reached 689, only one more to go! Then... nothing. It stopped at 689. We got our ticket stamped and left very irritated.
So at 9:00 a.m. we're back at UDI. It is a day for different services, and the room is already partly filled with folks. There are no tickets on this day, only a loose line. I see a few people from yesterday, milling about not knowing what to do. A lady in front of me is a representative from the university, and as we wait, she gathers a ever-growing group of immigrants. I explain to her that we need to go to the front, we have stamped tickets. "I was here first" she tells me. "We waited 9 hours yesterday and got a stamp to go first today" I tell her. She argues with me but I press up to the window anyways. She's pretty mad, but I have the power of righteousness on my side. I ask the officials to come out and announce that people with stamped tickets should come to front of the line, which they do.
By 9:30 we were done. All our paperwork looked to be in order, and we are free to return next year. Whew.