Friday, April 9, 2010

Trying really hard to be positive. Take that, EU!

As I'm now applying to live in my third EU country, it's just too easy to whine about the bureaucratic nonsense, feeling like a puny worthless peon against the wily, impenetrable forces that yell at you on the phone while simultaneously losing your paperwork. In practice, it doesn't make you feel existential angst - although if France is anything like Belgium it sure explains a lot. No; it makes you very, very, angry. So in lieu of adding more fuel to the already brightly burning fire, I want to think about some nice things that happened as I worked on paperwork so far throughout my life.

My favorite story comes from when I was applying for my Belgian visa in Warsaw. I had to get my fingerprints done for an FBI background check. After getting hilariously lost on my taxi ride to the wrong address that I found on the criminal bureau's (apparently never updated) website, I finally arrived. I was greeted by a little old man who was 80 if he was a day. He was wearing a suit that he had clearly had to dust off after not wearing it for years, and greeted me enthusiastically in Polish. I explained in a bizarre mix of Polish and English that I needed the fingerprints to send to the FBI, and I could see the man's eyes widen in excitement. Somehow I had made this guy's day - the G-Men would see his work! He was so happy that he even accompanied me on the tram to the train station to see me off.

Honestly I have no such happy stories about my current struggle. Maybe I'll just think about how much easier taxes are over here...

Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time. -Borges