So lately I have been collecting stamps – official stamps that is. In order to apply for a Visa, Scott and I had to get our Marriage License, Teaching Licenses, and Diplomas authenticated. What that means is that first we needed to obtain an official copy of the document (no photocopying allowed). Then, that official copy has to be notarized by a person in the town/county that the certificate was obtained in (So for example, our diplomas were authorized in Houghton, NY which is in Allegany County and so we needed to drive down there to get them notarized). The notary attaches a piece of paper which contains the notary stamp to the document and then we are ready for the County to authorize the notary (So needless to say we spent quite a bit of time in Allegany County). The County attaches a blue strip of paper (as seen in the picture) to the notary page which contains the official county stamp and a nice note saying that the notary is in fact a real person authorized in that county. Then, the document needs to take a trip to Albany, or the state government (So once our Allegany and Erie County Documents were in order it was off to Albany for a day trip of getting more documents stamped!). In Albany they attached another sheet of paper with the state’s official stamp and a note about how this particular county exists in New York State and the people who signed off were real and their signatures originals. But wait – there are still two more steps before our documents can be considered authenticated and official. From Albany we then mailed our documents to the federal government in DC which attached another paper with the USA’s official stamp and a note about how New York is a state in the United States and that all the people are real etc. Then the document made its last stop at the United Arab Emirates’ Embassy in DC where they made one final look over the documents, placed their stamp of approval on it and mailed all 5, now authenticated, documents back to us. Needless to say we are glad we did this back in February! We submitted our documents and application for a working and residence Visa in May and are now just waiting for our Visas to be approved. I’m not too worried though because we were told that on average it takes a couple months for the Visas to be approved. In the meantime, we decided to take care of some more paperwork:

Yes those are indeed our international drivers licenses! We were told it would be a good idea to get them (better to have them and not need them then to need them and not have them). They last for up to a year and make it a lot easier if we ever decide to get a UAE drivers license once there. This way we could rent or buy a car. So thank you AAA for making this piece of paperwork easy to obtain! Just a picture, a fee, and a couple more stamps! In case anyone is wondering, they do drive on the right hand side of the road so it should not be too much of an adjustment. I hear, however, that they are crazy drivers and so we decided we will not drive unless we absolutely have to. Also, apparently the driving is also really bad when it rains. You see, it only rains a few times a year and when it does all of the drains have been clogged with sand causing flash floods each time it rains. Also, many people who live there aren’t used to driving in the rain because it happens so little so there is a lot of hydroplaning. But we plan to be super cautious, right now that seems to be our biggest danger about living in Abu Dhabi. So, with all of that said, our dream of living in another country is inundated with piles of paperwork! Masalaama until tomorrow . . .

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