Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013 - 1 comment

Bureaucratic Blessings

"Do you play the lottery?"  

I ducked to meet the gaze of the man peering at me through his little window in the Foreigners Department at the police station.  

"No.  Why?"

He shuffled the papers in front of him and pulled one from a pink folder with my picture stapled to the front.  

"You should.  You might win something."  

I shrugged.  "My uncle used to play.  He spent a whole lot of money on tickets and never really won anything."

"But if you won something, you'd be happy, right?"

"Sure, I guess."  I was perplexed and a little impatient.  Did I really ride the bus an hour and a half down here to talk about lottery tickets?  

He handed me a piece of paper and said, "Write in Turkish 'Evrağın aslını aldım' - 'I received the original document' - and put the date and sign it."

"The original of which document?"

"The one I'm about to give you."  He waved another piece of paper.

I was not enjoying this game.  

"But I'm going to get my residence permit, right?  You said on the phone there was no problem...."

"No problem.  You'll get it."

 "Okay...."  I signed the paper and handed it back to him.

"You said you'd be happy if you won the lottery, right?"


"Well, you've won!"

Now I was really confused.  A brief thought flitted through my mind: Have they started giving out lifetime residence permits to every 1000th applicant?

He was laughing now, clearly enjoying the suspense.  He handed me the paper he'd been holding with a grin. 

"Remember when you came in to apply last month and you asked why there were two different fees instead of one?"


"Well, it turns out I made a mistake and overcharged you."  He handed me the paper he'd been holding with a grin. "Here is your winning ticket - you've won a 308 lira refund!"

I let out the breath I'd been holding.



"Wow, thank you!  That's amazing!"

He proceeded to tell me to head over to the tax office and file for my refund, and that it would be in my account within the week.  I left shaking my head, my (usually low) faith in the system just having shot way up.

The next day, having gone down to the tax office to file for my unexpected refund, I headed back down to the police station to pick up my newly extended residence permit.  Lo and behold, the system had smiled on me once again and when I checked the expiration date, I found I'd been granted five more months than what I'd applied for, and I didn't even have to pay anything extra!

I normally hate the foreigners department at the police station - crowded line-ups, pushy Russians, dirty toilets, and the eternal bus ride to get there in the first place.  But this week, it shot way up in my books!


Wow, that IS amazing! Congratulation to the extended permit and the positive experience:)