Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Swallowing cats to catch flies

You know that nursery rhythm where the old lady swallows a fly, and then swallows a cat to catch the fly, then a dog to catch the cat, etc.?Well,  I’m starting to feel a little like that old lady.

A couple of days ago, Thomas and I discovered a nice public library. But in order for me to get a card, I need to provide proof of address (in addition to paying €18 and showing my U.S. passport). But I can’t provide this proof of address until I register with the Munich (something all German citizens and residents must do when they change cities).

But, I can’t register with the city until I complete the residence card process. And before I can do that, I need to pass either a Göthe Institut A1 language exam or show proof of my university degrees. Sounds simple enough except that the next open exam isn’t for at least another week or two and proof of my studies is currently travelling though Germany – without me.

You see, we’re still waiting on our household goods to be shipped to Munich.’s how that’s been going:
  • Exactly two months ago today, the moving company came, picked up our boxes and furniture and trucked it down to Chicago where they (hopefully) packed it all tightly into a ship container.
  • About four weeks ago, we had no idea if our container was still cruising the Atlantic Ocean, sitting on a deserted island confusing the local fauna or somewhere in Germany.
  • Three weeks ago, we were notified it had made it Bremen where it must clear customers. But in order to clear customs, they needed a detailed log of each box’s contents – in German.  Fortunately, we’d already done this in part for our records and the original transport company. So Thomas sat down one evening and painstakingly translated the 20 pages, itemizing everything we own in German.
  • Last week we were told it finally cleared customs and that we had to pay a few hundred Euros in standard port fees. Ok, done. But since then, all’s been quiet on the northern front. I’m not sure if the container is still in Bremen or if a delivery man will pop by any minute. Guess I’d better change out of my Rocket Squirrel pajamas…just in case.

So that’s where I am. No university degrees, no residence card, no Munich registration, no library card. And the worst part? I really wanted to see if they had a copy of this book (yes, I’m judging it favorably by its cover alone):

Title Translation: Bring me the head of Nicolas.


  1. Are you writing my story or what! LOL..
    I have about 3 months on you as far as time goes. I just went through the residency visa process as well. You DO NOT need the Göthe Institut A1 if you plan to go through the Integration Kurs offered by the gov't. These include language lessons as well as cultural info. You DO have to take a test in 18 mos to show that you are proficient in Deutsche Spreche ( you will be, trust).
    Getting this is very easy if you have all the docs (your marriage certificate with seal of Apostille - if you were married stateside, these docs must be translated in German by a certified translator in Muc, passport of course and some biometric passport type pics.) Go get your Gemiende (registering you where you are now living at the Rathaus) You fill out a bunch of forms at your Landratsampt and they issue it the very same day - 30 mins. Be sure to make an appt in advance!

    Check out ToyTown...lots of good info and peeps to help you out

  2. You don't need any of these things if you are married to a German. You are registered as his wife when he registers. Or that's how it happened here! We registered with Berlin before I got my residency visa. And my library card was only 10Euro:-). And we didn't translate any of our documents (except for the driver's license)- they accepted the Apostille for our marriage license we got in the US.
    I wonder if this is state dependent or beamter dependent.
    Welcome to Germany!