Bureaucracy experience

May 8, 2007 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Over There | Leave a comment

Yesterday Sarah still had a day off so we decided to do some paperwork. First of all, we went to the bank to add me to her account and get me a debit + credit card. After waiting for about half an hour we got our turn. The bank employee was friendly and we got through the formalities quite smoothly. Now I’ll have to wait another 14 days for my cards to be delivered by mail.

Afterwards, we straightly drove to the DMV which is something like the department for driver’s licenses. The state Virgina accepts the German driving license to be transfered to an American one without having to take a test. Great! Unfortunately, we noticed that I had forgotten my glasses so we had to drive all the way back to our apartment to pick them up. That was basically OK because we only need 10 minutes by car to get back, if you know how to get there. The design and lay-out of the streets are awful in Virginia. You never know where you actually go because the signs don’t say. I definitely think about buying a portable navigation system for the car. However, I picked up my glasses and we drove back to the DMV. When we entered the building I felt like this could be one of Germany’s public authorities. There are a lot of counter, you are being assigned to one of the counters by the number you got at the front desk and you have to wait a while. This is what we did. Did I forget something? Yes, in Germany the officers are normally unfriendly. Let’s how this is like in the US. When our number was called we both went to the assigned counter. The lady was a little bit unfriendly first but after asking her boss about one of our papers we handed in, she became much more pleasant. I don’t know why. Anyhow, you have to bring many papers to prove where you live, that you have a bank account and that your official document like passport and social security number are at hand. All my papers seemed to look good. I only paid eight dollars for getting my driver’s license. Yeh! After they took a photo I got my license right away. That was easy.

At around five we had another appointment with the building manager to sign the rental agreement for me. Sarah and I had to sign at least 20 different papers. You couldn’t even read what you just are going to sign. I never saw such a bulky contract in my life before.


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