A lot has been happening in my life since my last post. My husband and I received the exciting news that our marriage permission was ready to be granted to us. Then, on the day my husband went to finalise our permission, I received some decidedly less exciting news – Riyadh was flooded and my husband was unable to find a taxi willing to take him to the Ministry. The next day he managed to make his way into the Ministry only to be told that because processing had taken so long, some of the documents on our file were now expired so he had to fly back to Dammam and get new ones however because of the floods their computer system was down so they couldn’t process our permission for approximately 2 weeks.
I had tried not to get my hopes up about getting the permission because I am so used to things going wrong and being delayed for months for no good reason but I couldn’t help thinking that this really was it. To be so close to achieving a goal after years of pain and frustration, only to have it snatched out of your grasp at the last minute … well, I’m not a big crier but that night I cried hysterically to my mum as she tried but failed to comfort me. It felt like no one could comfort me.
Throughout my marriage permission journey I would often think of the saying that ‘the night is always darkest before the dawn’, that things need to get worse before they get better and I would wonder to myself – surely it can’t get worse than this, surely my dawn must be near? And then it would get a little better, then a little worse – up and down, up and down. As much as I hate to use such a tired cliché – it really has been an emotional rollercoaster and it seems to have become more intense as we come closer and closer to the finish line. I always thought that once things started coming together that it would all happen very quickly but unfortunately this has not been the case. We are still experiencing significant and inexplicable delays at every step of the way.
We received news a while back that we had been granted the marriage permission however to finalise it it would need to be signed off by the Minister of Interior which we were told would be done within 10 days. We were both eager for it to be signed especially as we had already made plans for me to join him in Saudi; I had resigned from my job and organised our Australian legal marriage ceremony and my husband had booked his flight to Australia. 10 days passed and we didn’t receive any news. Every time my husband called he was told it would definitely be signed in another 10 days. By this point my husband had already arrived in Australia and we had performed our marriage ceremony so I was really beginning to panic that they would either delay it for so long that my husband would have to return without me or that they would simply turn around and tell us that we didn’t have the permission after all. Honestly, given our past experiences, none of that seemed far-fetched. But alhamdulilah after a month of waiting we have now received news that our permission is signed. But of course that’s not the end of it. We now have to wait for the Ministry of Interior to send the permission to the Saudi Department of Foreign Affairs which apparently can take some time in itself. Once at the Department of Foreign Affairs it again will likely sit there for some time before it will be sent to the Saudi Embassy in Australia for us to pick up (I just hope to God that they at least don’t give us a hard time and just hand it over!).
I have said goodbye to my friends and we have all our papers ready to give to the embassy in return for my visa but as usual we are at the mercy of the Saudi bureaucrats. My husband remains unable to book his return ticket to Saudi or even tell his employers when he will be able to return because quite frankly it is not in our hands. As it stands we will only be able to book our flights at the last minute when prices will be sky-high. So until that vital piece of paper arrives in Australia, my husband and I are sitting out the Australian summer at my parents home…