It seems like I haven’t had much in the way of adventure to write about lately, what with all the waiting I’ve been doing, but I realized yesterday that my next adventure has begun.  It started when I accepted the TEFL position in Saudi Arabia a few months ago. I haven’t gone anywhere yet, but the getting ready is a learning experience all it’s own.

Mostly the “adventure” has come from the visa process, with dozens of documents to gather, steps to take, forms to fill out, and all of it needing certification or some kind of official stamp.  Just the sheer unknown unfamiliarity of it is daunting, not to mention the confusion.  But I am on my way and it’s a relief each time I get to check off another step- even if that step made me nuts.

Yesterday, for example, was what I’ll call the Notary Fiasco.  For my work visa, I have to have 3 copies of my: degrees, passport, letters of reference, TEFL certificate, etc.  Each of them has to be notarized as true copies of the original and then certified.  All banks have notaries and offer free service to their account holders, but at my bank’s local branch the only notary is my sister-in-law.  She can’t legally notarize for me.  So, off I went yesterday morning- my day off- driving the 30 miles to the next nearest branch.  When I got there and explained what I needed, the notary just stared at me blankly.

“I think you need to see the clerk of courts for that.  We don’t have a stamp that certifies documents.  We don’t have that authority.”


But away I went again.

Luckily I decided to stop and call first, to find out which clerk’s office I needed to visit.  Every person I spoke to gave me the same blank silence the notary had.

“I don’t think our office does that kind of thing.  Let me transfer you to ___.”  Over and over until finally someone said, “Call the office of the apostille.  Here’s their number.”

The first person I explained my needs to said, “Yes, we certify documents.  Get them notarized and mail them to us.  It’s $10 per document, check or money order.”

“But, I just told you, the notary at my bank said she can’t do that.  Who do I get them notarized by?”

“Well, what documents do you need notarized?”

And the whole thing started over until I was nearly ready to yell and the guy abruptly put me on hold and transferred me to someone else.

I explained.

She said, “Get them notarized and mail them…”



Finally I interrupted the 3rd time she repeated herself.  “You’re not listening!  The notary at my bank says she can’t do that.  So…how do I get them notarized?”

“Look, I do this every day, ma’am.  Your documents have to be notarized for us to certify them.”

“But by whom??!?!?”

“Try a different notary. One who wants to do it.”

“But…she didn’t say she didn’t want to, just that she couldn’t.  How do I know which notaries can and which can’t?  I thought they were all the same.”

“They all can.”

“Then, why…”

*huff* “Lady, I don’t know why she said she can’t. If you have to use the same notary, call us back and we’ll talk to her.” *click*

Rude much?

With chagrin I went back to the bank, feeling like a kid calling mom from the principal’s office.  The notary looked a little irritated, but when I explained my phone conversation she picked up the phone and called the apostille’s number.  Then she handed the phone to me.

“Maybe you should explain.”

This time, though (wonder & joy), I got maybe 15 words out and the wonderful Julie (who I hadn’t talked to before) said, “Right. So, you need blah, blah, blah notarized and apostilled.”

“Yes!  But the notary at my bank says she can’t do it and no one will tell me how to get it done.”

“Oh. My. God! Why do all these damn notaries not know how to do this?!?  I hear this every day!  Alright.  Let me fax you the instructions she needs.  I’ll talk to you until she gets the fax in case she has questions.”

65 chatty minutes later, I walked out of the bank with all but 1 of my documents notarized and ready to be certified, and a certainty of just exactly who I’ll be taking them to in order to get the next step done.

Thanks to Julie, I also knew exactly what to tell the clerk at my next stop- the police department- when I went to pick up my background report.

Sense of accomplishment?  CHECK!