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Family Reunification to Czech Republic – Husband’s finally here!

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My husband is from Jordan and we have been in a long distance relationship for over 2 years. It’s been really hard, but finally we have managed to unite. I would say reunite, but we were never actually not long distance, apart from 3 months I stayed with him and his family when we met 3 years ago – we were just friends then.

I’ve referenced him a few times in this blog, but haven’t written all that much about us.

Surprisingly the process of family reunification isn’t that difficult in Czech Republic/European Union, but for us it’s been a real time consuming hassle just getting him here in the first place.

We decided – as most couples do – to apply from here so that we could wait together in the same country. This meant he first needed a tourist visa and once he arrived we would apply for the residency.

The most frustrating part has been getting all the documents. The marriage certificate was the most complicated one. Jordanian bureaucracy is insane – it took us over 3 months to get it. The government refused to give us the marriage certificate with only three names (I have three names, and in Jordan everyone has 4 names, it’s just how the culture is). My husband had to fight with a lot of people over a long time to get this sorted. Of course it was completely possible once you spoke to the right person in the right office, but they are just difficult.

Then it was accommodation in Czech Republic. I was living with a flat mate for over a year, but when he moved over we would need to be living together so I had to look for a new place for both of us. Once I moved I couldn’t apply for an invitation for his tourist visa before I had updated my own residency (bare in mind I’m a EEA citizen and I don’t even need Ā a residency, it’s more a registration of sorts). This needed to be updated with the correct/new address or the invitation wouldn’t be correct.

This couldn’t be updated with a future contract, so we had to wait a few months for me to move in to the new place and then update my residency card. Now I could finally apply for an invitation for him. This process in itself only took about 1 week, but booking an appointment at the Czech Embassy in Jordan took a tad longer. That appointment wasn’t available until 4 weeks later.

So we just had to wait. Well not exactly, we finally got the marriage certificate around that time, and we needed apostles from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy in Jordan (don’t get me started even on all the paperwork we needed just to GET married).

He finally got the Schengen visa, he was coming! It was pretty insane. He got the visa and traveled a week later. He arrived on a Friday and on Tuesday we had applied!

We have a free lawyer here who works for a charity, incredibly helpful, we owe her so much. She consulted us on all the paperwork we will need and on what to expect etc. It’s far from over yet, it’s just the application, it will take months before they approve/decline it.

But in the meantime he can work and travel and stay here!! šŸ™‚

Anyone long distance couples need advice on reunification message me and I’m happy to help.

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Took my hijab off

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I wore hijab for about 4 months, and over Christmas I decided to stop wearing it.

Long story short; I’m not quite ready for that sort of commitment, and I don’t want to do it half way or for the wrong reasons.

So, I made the decision to just take it off all together and focus on other aspects of spirituality.

How did it feel? Honestly I felt really free. I’m a pro hijab choice, and I really enjoyed it when I was committed, but yeah, I’m not ready for all that, and it felt really freeing to just not be a walking symbol all the time. Especially here in Prague where it’s not really all that common.

It’s weird how it’s just as scary to take it off as it is to put it on. I was super nervous before work. But then again, fuck ’em, it’s not up to anyone but me to make this decision.

The questions I got from people at work were quite funny though.

One guy at work asked me if I had converted to a different religion haha! Another one asked me if I had broken up with my fiance? As if the two have any connection whatsoever :p

I got pretty tired after a while of people asking me why I wasn’t wearing it. Because I want to, how ’bout that?

Dreams change – that doesn’t mean you didn’t achieve them

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If you look back at what your goals used to be, you will realize you’ve probably achieved everything you’ve ever wanted.

I know, bold statement. I don’t mean in terms of wanting to speak a language or play a musicalĀ instrument (both goals of mine yet to be achieved). These things require planning, practice and repetition.

What I’m talking about is more of a general goal or desire for what your life should be like.

When I think back to what I wanted when I was in High School and what I wanted after University and what I want now, they’re very different. But if I look back at my life, I’ve actually achieved it all.

Allow me to demonstrate:

At the end of High School all I wanted was to leave Norway and to see the world and exercise my freedom. And well, that’s exactly what I did. I moved to London all by myself and started University. I studied abroad, I traveled and I went abroad for a project and a conference. When I graduated I went backpacking and ended up with a job in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

Setting the record straight

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I should be sleeping, but I’m finally on a roll. I miss blogging, just haven’t had the inspiration in ages!

I’ve been wanting for a while to do a post on the misconceptions I face about my conversion to Islam. It’s not a post to bash anyone, I completely understand the reasons behind thinking these things, but I just want to set the record straight. Some of this stuff is from born Muslims as well by the way.

I did not convert because of my fiance

I converted because I believe in God and I believe in the QuoranĀ (Muslim holy book) and I like Islam and find it works for me.

It actually took me a long time to tell him that I was curious about Islam. I didn’t want him to be too excited and become kind of emotionally invested in me converting and then disappointed if I decided not to. I remember really well what he said when I told him I was curious. He asked me point blank if I was doing it for him, and if that was the case then to not do it. Then he told me he loves me regardless and to ask him if I had any questions.

I’ve actually been keeping my discovery of Islam and our relationship quite separate up until recently. I just preferred it that way. Now that I’m officially a Muslim we talk about Islam more, but to be honest we don’t really discuss it that much. I have a close Muslim female friend who I discuss theories and ideas with and who was the one who helped me through my curiosity phase. Read the rest of this entry »

Deciding to wear the hijab – trial run

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My weekend hijab experiment šŸ˜€

As you may know I’m a decently fresh Muslim. Converted in May and it’s been going well so far. I blogged a bit about Ramdan, but well, it didn’t go quite as planned, I stopped half way. I’m gonna make a post about my experience with Ramadan and how to do your first month a bit later.

It’s normal to have ups and downs in your faith, and as a fresh convert it’s really important to take things at your own pace and not feel pressure to be perfect. Perfect is unattainable and unrealistic, and it’s not expected either. We try our best and that’s enough. It takes time,Ā Islam is a lifelong journey.

I’ve been slowly learning more and more and getting stronger in my faith and my worship since I converted, baby step by baby step. I started praying once a day, and have started to pray twice a day now without pressure. Just feels weird when I don’t now actually.

Now hijabĀ (veil worn by Muslim women covering the head) might not really seem as a baby step, and it isn’t either to be honest, it’s a huge elephant step. But I’ve been experimenting with hijab for a while. Recently I’veĀ been wearing it on the weekends to test it out.

I actually never thought I would wear hijab. Not sure why. But things change. I also never thought before I would become a Muslim so haha. Read the rest of this entry »

Czech post office experience

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Had to go to the post office the other day. I had ordered some stuff from the States and it was held up at customs, because well you gotta pay tax in the EU to get anything from abroad.

This particular post office was open from 8 to 5 which gave me one hour in the morning before I had to be at work. I figured I could go early and get it done quick and be back at work in time. Place was about 30 min away from work, but surely it couldn’t take that long to get a package.

I was wrong…

I rock up there and there’s a flipping line. How is this possible? Probably because all official places in this country are so complicated and have annoying opening hours so everyone lines up first thing to get their shit sorted quick. Argh -.-

The people waiting outside weren’t even people you’d assume were late for work. Track suits and shit. What’s your hurry man?

Line wasn’t that long to be fair, but when I got in I had no idea where I was going because the signs were all in Czech. I ended up standing in the wrong line three times. There was a specific order to the rooms and counters you needed to go to. It was a fricken maze, why make it so complicated?

I had to go upstairs to level 3, then go to one room and get a piece of paper, then go to another room to get a stamp and then to wait, and then to another counter to get something, then to pay tax at another counter, then to another room to pay an administration fee and sign something, theeeen I got the package. Read the rest of this entry »

Step 2 of Czech Bureaucracy – just the tip of the iceberg

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I finally got my temporary residency!

Next step: Apply for an invitation for tourist visa for my fiance so he can come visit meĀ here before we get sort our paperwork in February. It’s about to get a lot more complicated, so stay tuned haha

This little segment is quite tame, butĀ no lessĀ frustrating.

Rocked up at a different office this time (foreign police), 30 min before opening time, but only 25 people head of me this time, progress!

When I finally got to the machine with the numbers there was a police officer there asking what I needed.

I asked if he spoke English while optimistically pressing the English button on the machine in front of me. He didn’t like that.. he got quite worked up actually andĀ tried pressing the Czech button again whileĀ shouting at me in Czech. Like I could understand him -.- Read the rest of this entry »