The Academy, Chapter 3

My next 30 days in Istanbul were a whirlwind and roller coaster ride of uncertainty.  I wasn’t certain if I would be going on to Riyadh, or if I would be going home.  And, if I went to Riyadh, when would I go?  Was my employer serious?  Was my employer real?  Was this just a fluke, or were people being routinely stranded a standard practice?

Part of me felt that I would definitely be going to Riyadh, but when?  That was the real question.

The academy put me up in a questionable, but mostly clean, hotel.  I was able to communicate with some of the hotel staff at the front desk, and one of the housekeepers made a sincere, and consistent effort to communicate with me.  It was difficult trying to communicate, particularly since I had not planned on an extended stay in Istanbul.  I soon discovered that the Turkish people speak only, mostly … Turkish.  Some speak a little Arabic.  Almost none speak English.  My prior game playing of Charades suddenly became very relevant.

I emailed the Academy almost on a daily basis.  When would I get my new visa?  When was I leaving Istanbul?  When was I arriving in Riyadh?  According to the Academy, they had to deal with red tape in securing a new visa for me, so my wait would be at least one week.

One week turned into two weeks, and I finally got a visa package from the Academy.  But, there was a catch: I had to go to visa processing station in Istanbul, and then to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to complete the process.  How do I get to the consulate and exactly where is it located?  Well, the hotel staff “helped” me with that one.  I had to make a total of three trips to the consulate via taxi, the metro, and a short walk.  Each day the taxi from my hotel to the metro was a different price.  Of course, that was with the “help” of the hotel staff who only saw an American, and all Americans have money … right?

With a lot of sweat, prayer, good luck and a hamburger with the fries included inside the hamburger bun, I made it to the Saudi consulate and got my visa processed.  It had been almost 30 days, and I had seen more of Turkey than I’d never imagined I’d see.

My youngest daughter put it in better perspective for me.  She pointed out that I didn’t know anyone who had lived in Istanbul for a month.  Now I did.

I was on my way to Riyadh, and to work.


2 thoughts on “The Academy, Chapter 3

  1. Hi Alene-I only had a chance to read chapter 2-3 today. You write beautifully. I hope you write a book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your writing style is almost like the British writer –Jeffrey Archer.


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