Thursday, 14 June 2012

I'll never get those 4 hours back.






I had a little cry outside the Burgeramt today. Yes, I know there should be an umlaut above that 'u' but they don't deserve one. I had to go to renew our parking permit and I was pretty sure that I had all the documentation I would need, and I was prepared for a 2 hour wait to be seen, but they broke me today, because after over an hours wait standing in a huge queue to be let through to the desk where you get a number, I the had a further 2.5 hours to wait in what is arguably the world's dreariest beige waiting room after which I found out that I need one more document that says that I have permission *still* to drive the car. So I get to do this all again tomorrow or maybe Monday, I haven't got the strength to go back tomorrow. I was there so long that the motto of the day even changed on their dreary infommercial tv. So I left and had a little sob and realised that I hate Germany. Not that the UK would be much better, God knows I've waited in hospitals for nearly as long, but I'm here, and here is where I'm hating. So there. I had to phone the Kita to say I would be late and they at least were very understanding when I said I was at the Burgeramt. Cause everyone knows what a pain it is to get things done there.

But once I picked him up over an hour late, we then had to go and sort out a problem with our electricity provider. We got a letter saying "We hear you've moved out! How about you send us your new address so we can send your final bill?" and I thought it was a bit odd but just put it down to the fact that we were due to leave at the end of May. Alas, no. Turns out we haven't been paying the electricity for our apartment, but for another one. I need to sort it out and work out which meter belongs to us - not apparently the responsibility of the electricity company. I just bet we have been paying for a much smaller apartment where a lone person who works all day, is out all night, and winters elsewhere, and we're going to get landed with a HUGE bill. Did I tell you I hated Germany? I hate their stupid apartments too.

Roll on tomorrow. When I shall love Germany again. (As long as I am not back at the Burgeramt)

15 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry. I have those moments of intense hatred for this country too. Sometimes it's so inconvenient.

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    1. Indeed. The thing is, I don't know why they care whether I have permission to drive the car. I don't want to drive it: I just want to PARK it! The rotters!

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  2. I'm sorry, but that just sucks.

    I have a personal rule that I will wait in the appropriate line once, and once only.

    You have doe your time at the Burgeramt, so next time you need to 'speed things along a little'.

    Call me a bad person, but in extended queuing situations I have always found that making those around me a touch uncomfortable tends to reduce the waiting time.

    Arrive with all the correct documents and join the appropriate queue.
    After 15 minutes in said queue, explain you are feeling a bit 'odd' to the person behind you, and ask them to hold your place.
    Go to the reception or admin area and explain why you are waiting, then tell them you are diabetic, and ask for a chair to sit on in the line.
    Act super dumb - 'I had no idea the line would be so long, and I just need to eat my snack and inject'.
    Mention needles.
    Show needles if necessary.
    Reassure them you are fine, and you just need a chair so you don't pass out.
    Ask if it is ok to inject whilst in line.

    Honestly I know it sounds awful, but frankly what is the point in being diabetic if you can't exploit it sometimes?
    Failing that, borrow a baby from someone, and ask if it is ok to breastfeed in line.
    In my experience that also tends to shorten the wait time ;-)

    Hope your return visit is shorter and less stressful.

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    1. Why borrow a baby when I could bribe Hamish with the promise of new Lego to breastfeed and then REALLY get that queue moving! Which magazine was it recently that showed a mother breastfeeding her little boy who was standing on a chair? Time? Anyway, it caused a huge scandal. But I am not even convinced that it would cause enough of a scandal at the Burgeramt to make people consider coming back another day.

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  3. Ah breastfeeding in line and even having a screaming child won't get you any quicker through those queues I fear. As someone who is on benefits here, is self employed, receives maintenance from my child's father and is a foreigner, I have spent a multitude of hours in queues at the B├╝rgeramt, Finanzamt, Jugendamt, Bezirksamt, Gewerbeamt and probably a whole load of others I can't remember the full names of but end with 'amt'. It's never fun and some visits are downright depressing, I have cried inside, outside, on the way home from...many an amt and am sure I will again some day soon. Here's hoping your bills you've been paying are for a much bigger apartment with 20 people and you get a big pay off to go buy colouring pencils and paints and shop to your hearts content in Idee with! You never know!

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    1. Yeah, right! We are going to owe more money than Greece, just wait and see.

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  4. This sounds remarkably similar to me attempting to get my contract at work. They wanted no fewer than 18 different certificates from me and I have just today (two months after starting work) received a letter asking for original copies of three of the certificates that I HAVE ALREADY GIVEN THEM. And as for the crying, well I did that bit on Wednesday at the compulsory health check (don't get me started on having to have a compulsory health check). Not when they took five vials of blood off me, no, but when I couldn't understand the question the doctor asked me six times without rephrasing. We're all in this together, pet. *group hug* ps yes there will be a full blogpost regaling this experience.

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    1. Oh good! It sounds interesting! I have yet to enter the world of work - though God knows it doesn't look like it'll be long, so I will treasure any advice/experience you have.

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    2. I forgot to add that curiously enough, last year we also had a misadventure with our electricity bill. Even if you do have to pay extra, they'll allow you to pay in installments on top of your normal bill rather than having to fork out a lump sum, so it shouldn't be too painful. Unless of course you've failed to pay a single cent for 18 months, in which case it might hurt quite a lot. But then, who'd do something like that?

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    3. No, we've paid bills, but just possibly for an apartment which is less than half the size of ours.

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  5. Well thank you all for your support. I feel much better today and much less like I want to stab a country. I find it very hard when Germany just won't bend the rules. Looking at Frau Dietz's comment above reminds me of the number of times I have got a job and only needed to show the RED TUBE that my degree came in in order to prove I was qualified. (Though thinking about it, perhaps that's not actually that great) Anyway, I guess you just have to get on with it and laugh at things like Vattenfall wanting me to bring a letter from Stevie giving me his permission to discuss *our* electricity, even though they are quite happy for me to go down to the building's cellar and carry out an investigation. It was very tempting to say "Hand me a piece of paper and I'll sort that letter out for you right now"...

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  6. Ohh and don't get me started on the whole, we have to deal with the man-husband-partner thing.
    I am still slightly bitter (but then it has only been 8 years) that MY motorbike is registered in HIS name, and he doesn't even have a license to ride it.

    Although as the only German speaker in the house (over the age of 7), I do love telling them that maybe they should call back and speak to DH. He might be the man of the house, but the conversation will be pretty short....

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    1. Ha, ha, ha! brilliant! So that's relatively common then? I wonder if you are a single female living on your own whether they make you get a letter from your dad?? pfff...

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  7. I totally agree, the Burgeramt does NOT deserve its umlaut... or even the time of day. AHTE that place!

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    1. I think the only people who like the Burgeramt are the people who work there. I saw an article in the Berliner Morgenpost about the ridiculous queueing across Berlin's. Sadly I can't find it online.

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