a tale of Steph’s belly and German bureaucracy…

February 16, 2010

So, Stephanie’s pregnant….due any day now… It’s crazy thinking that we’re going to be parents. What’s even more crazy is trying to figure out how we’ll be parents IN GERMANY! So far, things have been great with the Doctor and with the Mid-wife (yeah, they have mid-wives here…which I think is cool) and the latest thing I’ve been dealing with is how to go about insuring our baby-to-be. It’s crazy and complicated business going about figuring this all out. I mean, we have insurance (for foreigners living in Germany)  but the problem is that the company we’re with, while it covers Steph for the birth, it doesn’t really have anything set up to cover the baby once it’s born…yeah…

SO, with that in mind I’m applying to get my “arbeitserlaubnis” or working permit, so that I can work for the Castle and then we would all be covered under my insurance that I would have as a person who is officially employed in Germany. Sounds simple…except that  I’m pretty sure German bureaucracy is set up so that only the people who are really committed to the process will succeed in getting what they want.

Take my driver’s license for example: As a Canadian with an Alberta Driver’s License, I was able to drive in Germany for the first 3 months of my stay here (standard procedure) and then I would have to apply to get it changed for a German Driver’s License. No problem (for me) all I have to do is get my Canadian license translated into German and get some “biometric” photos taken, then fill out the application and wait for my license. Except that they wouldn’t tell me where to get the translation done or where to have the pictures taken (conflict of interest) and I also had to get a proof of residency (from a different town) and then take all these things in. Let’s just say, it took a while to get this together and it was a frustrating process.

And speaking of a frustrating process, it continues with my application for a work permit. However, despite these challenges and my frustration with how it seems to be common procedure to take simple things and make them extremely complicated – which, turns out,  is based on a “we need to do it right” mentality…which still means that things remain complicated…especially because “right” is totally subjective. So yeah, despite all this, I am making headway and learning more and more about German culture.

As for Steph, she’s doing GREAT! It’s been a pretty amazing pregnancy. Definitely a rough beginning with super-sick months and a 2-night stay in the hospital right before her 30th birthday (no big deal)…but overall it was pretty great and you will definitely hear Steph saying these days that she’s a bit sad that she won’t be pregnant anymore soon…and then reality kicks in and she needs to get out of bed, or bend down to pick something up.

So yeah, definitely excited about the baby coming and definitely excited to become a dad…a bit freaked out but I’m pretty sure that’s normal…right? Here’s to new and exciting things to come! (and here’s to becoming better at dealing with German bureau-crazy with every new experience)

jer

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