The appeal process moved very quickly and they started the new trial yesterday at 5:30 pm. The trial went much like the first two, but when the verdict came back it was a verdict of guilt. They said that the deportation process will now move forward and I have a right to appeal it within ten days, so it does not appear that they will deport me before then.
I picked up the translated copy of my response to the appeal, from Gulnara, and took it to the courthouse to drop it off. The security guard was expecting me and directed me to a room where a clerk was waiting for me. There was an interpreter there, with her, in preparation of my arrival and they had several papers ready for me to sign. Right from the beginning things were quite confusing. They were telling me that the appeal had been canceled several days ago and that signing the papers was just a formality. They assured me that the case was closed but that they would attach my response to the file. Many of the facts seemed inconsistent, including the deadlines being different than I was previously told, although they assured me that I must have misunderstood. It was not until our meeting was concluding that the clerk discovered that there was actually two appeals filed and that the one that was canceled was an earlier appeal that was first updated and then abandoned. Furthermore, it was in front of a different judge. Now that it was clear that there was much confusion involving the two appeals, I questioned whether my response was filed with the correct case. As it turned out, it was not. They pulled the file and assured me that it would be forwarded to the other clerk for the judge pertaining to the open case.
Gulnara called me and informed me that I must meet with immigration to review some court documents. We met at the immigration office and were driven to a new courthouse that I had not yet been to. It was explained to me that this was a higher level court and that the immigration office had challenged the decision made at the last trial and requested that it be overturned. I was given copies of the appeal and told that I could enter a formal response, due by December 4th.
The doctors and staff showed up with my discharge papers around noon. One of them was filming the entire process. I was packed and ready to go. They had a copy for me to sign, translated into English. I read it and saw that they had listed that I had been treated for upper respiratory infection. I questioned the doctors about this since I did not have any such health issues. They informed me that it had been written into my file in order to justify my staying in the hospital. I told them that I could not sign the papers since they were inaccurate. After I left the room, while in the downstairs entry, I received a call from the embassy. It was an update confirming the now finished discharge from the hospital, and to inform me that they were told that I would be billed for my stay at the hospital, and that I had once again been charged with being in the country illegally. Igor met me as I left the hospital and interviewed me again as I walked to the library to be met by my new friend Eugene. Eugene took me to the immigration office to notify them of where I would be staying. They fingerprinted and photographed me and had me sign a statement of where I would be staying. After running some errands, we settled in. It was international dumpling day and we sat down to a feast, cooked by his mother-in-law Mia, including three types of dumplings and shrimp and sushi along with some other things. One of the dumplings which was the main course of the meal was called “dumplings with a surprise”. They explained that it had salt, pepper, sugar, or money in some of them. I really did not understand what he meant by that, thinking that he was talking about what the seasoning was, until Mia pulled a coin out of her mouth! Then Eugene exclaimed that he got one with salt. Now that I understood what was happening, I ate them more carefully, and was enjoying the new cultural experience. Finding a coin in my next bite, I appreciated the fun experience and the omen of good fortune ahead.
I met with Igor to be interviewed and to have some photos taken. Afterward, we went to a restaurant to eat and have coffee. When we were finished, Igor left and I finished my coffee, then I left. As I exited the building, I was greeted at the door by a man who introduced himself as Eugene, saying his wife Martha works in the restaurant and had heard about my situation and called him. He invited me to stay at their house. I was basically in shock and amazed. God has all the details in mind!