Today I did not make it past #2.
# 1 was ‘fill up gas’. I got that one done. # 2 involved, whom else, the Ministry of Education. This time it was for an Arabic Exemption paper. And that’s where it ended.
The reason why I need an Arabic Exemption paper is because my son has reached grade 9 this year; the year when Lebanese students must sit for their ‘Brevet’; a very demanding Arabic state exam. My son speaks Arabic well, but that is the ‘lougha ammi ( العامية), or what we call the ‘street Arabic’. As far as I know, it does not really have an (official) written version, it is spoken, or colloquial Arabic only. It is the Arabic we use in our daily lives. The exam however, is in (and about) classical Arabic, or (الفصحى) fushah; The Arabic that is used for official documents, newspapers, books etc. Now although both languages overlap each other in some areas, they are totally different in many others. The Arabic program in school, or its teachers, or its methodology/pedagogy, or all of the above are however, horrendously outdated, and as such, not a very appealing/child-friendly subject matter. It entails for instance that parents sit with their children every evening and wrestle their way through vast amounts of homework. My Arabic is pitiful, and hubbie’s classical Arabic is, well, let’s say it’s been a while since he was in school.
But as I am about to shoot everyone in that particular building over other paperwork that still hasn’t been processed yet for reasons that will elude anyone with an IQ over 12 (the IQ needed to work at that Ministry), I decided to work my way around it, and go postal. In order to avoid going postal. Through Libanpost. It is the well organized Lebanese postal system that will provide all kinds of services as an in-between between citizen and government. This way you don’t have to set one foot in a ministry, but the local post office will organize everything for you at a very decent fee.
And so I went to the post office with the paperwork. The lady behind the counter got to work. And soon stopped. There was a catch: if you are a foreigner, you get automatic exemption. You only need to show you residency permit, and you’re done. If you are Lebanese, you get exemptions if show records of school attendance outside Lebanon for a minimum of 3 years. My son has neither a residency permit, as he is Lebanese, nor outside school attendance, as he has always lived in Beirut. She called and called and called, but the answer was the same everywhere.
“Sorry Mam, but I cannot take you request, because I need either one of these documents. This is what the Ministry of Education stipulates.”
And thus I will need to move my sorry ass personally to that Ministry of Education.
Yet again. I’ll try and avoid ‘going postal’.