I was back at the Ministry this morning. No more blood drawn, which is nice, because I still have a bruise from last week. I had to answer questions about myself, about my resume, about my mom and dad and my height and skin color. (The skin color question I found particularly odd as I was sitting in front of them and had just handed over three photos.) I got indignant about all the questions prying questions and the thumbprints taken and the waiting until it occurred to me that, in my own country, we scan people’s retinas. And that this is a country at war. And then, when debating my skin color, they pointed out that I am tan, which for whatever terrible made-up social-nonsense reason is a compliment where I am from, and made me, as a product of my culture, feel healthy and pretty, the opposite as in The Gambia where people would call me pale and fat when they wanted to be most gratifying, and I would say thank you a little sadly. I will only have to go back to the Ministry two or three times until I am cleared to receive a six-month residency card.
Yesterday an Iraqi colleague and I signed up for French lessons together. I am so excited for the lessons. There will be no English spoken in the classroom (why would there be?) which will be good for my brain, as it will have to process and express using French only. Only French. French lessons will also be something that are mine, away from the violence, away from the humanitarian need, away from the eternal office/guesthouse/expat-party cycle: Just mine.