June 11, 2011


It was a tearful goodbye. We shook hands, touched chest (some do not shake hands with a woman) and slapped backs. We shared jokes and remembered old stories, as in “you remember way back when…”
I said goodbye to the entire crew, Abu Ali and Abu George, Madame Joumana and ‘Isteez M’.

I bid farewell to all the secretaries I had come to know so well over the two years that I spent most of my Saturday mornings there.

After 2 years, this little paper could finally be discarded

I heard the elevator tell me – as it had been telling me all those Saturdays – for the very last time, “Doors are closing. Going? Down.” I always though it curious that the elevator was the only element in the entire building that spoke English. Even though it was the Ministry of Higher Education.
I saluted the doormen and security guards. They always waved me through, while others visitors had their handbags checked and got patted down. You could always see people think; ‘wow, a foreigner passing like that! She must be somebody way up high to receive that kind of treatment.’ Little did they know. We were, after all, on first name basis.

But I got it, folks! I finally got it! After a two year wait, I have – at last - received my Lebanese equivalency to my Dutch Bachelor’s degree.

The much coveted paper

Someone asked me why I would even need a Lebanese equivalency when I work in a foreign company. The fact is that - even though it is a foreign company - its employees, when hired locally, need to pay into the Lebanese government funds. And so I have been faithfully paying a substantial amount over the past 16 years into a Lebanese retirement fund. The payment into this fund depends upon the degree you have attained, because it is linked to the salary you get. I had, however, no right to claiming this money, ever, since that very diploma, upon which my salary is calculated, was not recognized by the Lebanese government. It needed to receive a Lebanese equivalent.

Well, I can now safely retire. Although chances are that by the time I do retire, the Lebanese government will probably have filed for bankruptcy. And I spent all these Saturdays for nothing. But it sure gave some material to blog about though . . .

If you want to know how it all started, then here is post 1, post 2 , post 3, post 4, post 5, post 6, post 7, post ....... etc etc.


Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

What did you DO there every Saturday morning for two years??

Bureaucratic nightmares are all too common in many foreign countries, and I've experienced some myself, but this sounds extreme.

Good luck with your new paper. Don't lose it! And may it garner you monetary fruits in the future.

nicolien said...

Haha! Veel plezier met je vrije zaterdagochtenden de komende tijd :)

htj said...


I think they should throw you a graduation party. They owe you at least that much.

Chantal Akkary said...

That's awesome :)