Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Process II

It's been a while since I last posted on said topic, but we finally got our BSS numbers, and the bank account. The first time we went in, Andy accidentally mentioned that the UChicago department address wasn't our home address. They didn't like that and informed us we would need to provide them with a utility bill (A UTILITY BILL!) with our home address on it. Fortunately, since the California mail fiasco*, I have one of the utility companies send me an email with our bill as a pdf (not so tech savvy), and Andy could print this out at work. When we next went into the bank, Andy avoided mentioning the information regarding said address, and we got the account setup without further difficulties.

As for the envelope my mom sent us, we don't know where it went, but it took FOUR weeks to get to us. Priority mail my bootay. In the meantime we probably received a half dozen letters from Andy's mom, each within about 3 days of the postmark. Priority mail must get routed through Chicago... Fortunately, we didn't need that to get the BSS numbers, just to register as citizens and get our special I-live-in-Europe cards, which we didn't really care about anyways, though maybe if they knew we didn't have them after 90 days they'd kick us out. Who knows.

Once we got the original documents we went back to the Gementee office (I guess that means government or that other word I'm thinking of, but I can't remember what it is and it starts with a c**) and registrated*** our marriage. A couple weeks later, Andy received a letter stating that he need to present himself in Rijskwijk to pick up his citizenship card thingy. We walk into a long room with little offices along each wall. You had to be buzzed into the offices, which, if I remember correctly, had windows facing into the bigger room. It was very strange and somewhat creepy. So Andy walked in, showed them his passport, received the card and we went home. Why why why?

I still don't have my card. I was somewhat hoping it would be important, I would be caught without it, and then I would get to go home early courtesy the Dutch government. No such luck. ;)

So that's it for the process. I've since learned that it's a bit ridiculous in every country, but I still don't understand why we had to go to THREE different offices to accomplish this task. I can sort of understand Den Haag and the local office, but Rijkswijk??? Did they just elect the right guy who pulled the right strings to get them the important office of temporary-citizenship-card-thingy issuers? And why weren't the photocopied documents that were acceptable to the national government acceptable to the local government? These are questions of lasting importance to the well being of the world, and they must be answered!

*The California mail fiasco was initiated when Andy and I spent a summer in California. We had our mail temporarily forwarded there, and now a good chunk of our mail still goes to California. I haven't seen certain utility bills since we left California, while we were still in Chicago, I had my insurance company mail me at work, and I don't even want to know what I don't know didn't arrive at our Chicago address.

**Actually, the word does NOT start with a c. It in fact starts with an m and is municipal. ;)

***What in blue blazes is registrated anyways? Is this a word the British use instead of registered and the poor, unfortunate Dutch picked it up from them thinking it was proper English? ;) Or is it a Dutchified version of registered? The world may never know...


Jacque said...

Oh, wow. That's ten kinds of crazy! I imagine doing the same thing in the US would be more difficult, however.

Cheryl said...

Yeah, a friend of mine said things got a good bit more nit-picky in the US after 9/11 too, though she hasn't gone into details. I imagine in the US the stickler is answering certain questions multiple times without making incorrect facial twitches. =P

There seems to be an unusually high degree of division of labor here. So the person who looks at your passport and checks your documents to decide if she will indeed stick a new sticker with your face on it in your passport can't be the same person who hands you the card with your face on it. Of course, they probably both have more tasks than that and deal with more interesting cases than ours, but their roles overlap in what results in a rather silly manner.

But then, what can you expect from bureaucracy? Intelligent management? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA