This weekend, things began to pull together.
Thursday we started the application process for our visas. Over the next two days we discovered that the Kaufbeuren immigration office is basically useless. They first said that they couldn’t give me a visa because I don’t have a job, but when we said that we have enough money in savings, they knew nothing about how much money was enough.
I suppose they don’t have to deal with this as much as counties with large universities do.
The next day, I registered for my integration course. I don’t know why so many people are dropping it, but I got in! However, in order to lower the cost of the course from 294€ per month to 120€, I need a special form. I need a permanent visa to apply in Munich, and they have a 2 month waiting period (they are a bit busy, after all). But the immigration office in Kaufbeuren can issue this form. Except none of the people in the office had any idea what I was talking about, even though the director of the integration course wrote down exactly what I needed. Now I know I’m not the first person to need this.
But theoretically, we should know about all of this by tomorrow.
But we are making progress. The application process has started, I am signed up to take 20 hours of German class a week, and we selected where we are going to get our bank account. I also bought a bike on Friday. Now we just need to find one for William.
Saturday brought a ton of errands (followed by a ton of cooking on Sunday) and a new roommate. Her name is Sandra and she is 23. She brought a ton of kitchen and cleaning supplies. We kinda forgot that a person could move with so much stuff….But we are very grateful to have all those tools we would have had to buy ourselves!
While running our errands, we bought a love seat (a 2-sitzer), and light, a closet, and a dresser. The closet and dresser were suppose to be delivered Monday, but they weren’t. It should be enough space. If nothing else, it will get our clothes off the floor and that is a good start. If it ever gets here, of course.
Speaking of clothing, our washing machine arrived on Monday! We haven’t done laundry in two weeks. With an expat’s closet. I don’t really want to talk about it. It is getting installed tonight and I am going to break it in so thoroughly.
Internet comes on Thursday, which is also my first day of class. Next is getting the bank account set up, transferring our money over, finalizing our visas, getting a phone for me, and getting health insurance. Slowly but surely, the bits and pieces are going to come together.
I had an interesting interaction when scheduling an appointment to set up a bank account. Both a young woman and an older woman were helping me because of the language barrier. A third, young man was just standing there, interested in me. Once the appointment was set, the younger two asked me where I was from. When I said America, I could tell by their reactions that they were jealous I lived there. They started asking me why I am here, etc. Evenually they asked, “Why did you come here? America is so cool!” I replied, “Europe is so cool!” The young man said, “But not Germany!” All I could think to say was that I really like it here. We all had a good laugh about our different perceptions, and it left me smiling for quite awhile.
Quite a few people have wondered why we came all the way to Germany, but this was the best example, by far, of how I’m sure many of the people we encounter feel. And yet so many Americans can’t wait to get out, and travel, and see Europe, which we consider to be so much cooler than America. Some things are universal, I guess. That being said, I still think Europe is cooler than America.
I also saw my first European drag queen today. Before I realized it was a man, I was thinking that no one that old and of that size should be wearing fishnets and a short skirt at 2:30pm on a Monday. Then I realized it was a man. And my opinion definitely applies to both genders.