On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Almost There... Stay on Target... Almost There

Huge HUGE leap forward in my immigration application today - I finally took possession of my residence card. Though I was officially allowed to be here as of a few weeks ago, now I can prove it. I'm actually not done as I still need to obtain the Dutch equivalent to a social security card, and then I need to sort out my tax mess. That should go a bit smoother as I'm sure their keen to get my money.

B- said that some people who read this blog are worried that I hate it here. Hate is way too strong a word, but I have been hanging around in limbo since October. Without written confirmation of my right to be here, I couldn't help but second guess every decision we've made up to this point. Did we move our belongings too soon? Will my career grind to a halt? Will I be able to make friends and build a new life here?

Funny thing about getting my card today. Unlike Bob who only had to show up at the town hall, I had to appear for an appointment with a social worker for the dreaded integration course interview. In my view, they were holding my residence card hostage.

For days I worried and searched for documents that would prove that I'm an educated, professional person, and oh yeah I have a job. All along, we were under the impression that because of the type of visa B- has, I'd automatically be excused from the course. It was worrisome that they called me for the interview anyway. No mention of the visa exemption in any of the documents pertaining to exemptions. I was in knots.

So, I gathered up my university diploma, resume, job contract, and a letter from my Dutch language school in an effort to prove that I can integrate fine on my own. I dug up my office clothes and heels as well. They were going to be bowled over by my career-woman stylings.

Of course I was running late. Of course I didn't know where to go when I found the office building. Of course I was disheveled and wrinkled. Of course the receptionist didn't speak English even though the whole point of that office is to support people who aren't Dutch. My mood was darkening fast like the Dutch sky.

And then lovely and wonderful Mevrouw P- said the magic words: "I need to ask you one question before we bother with all the details I need to explain. What type of visa does your partner have?" Oh sweet, sweet non-denominational religious figure, oh how you shined on me today!

"Why, he has a knowledge worker visa," I said as my mood began to change, also like the Dutch sky.

"Then, as you probably know, you are exempt from the course. You only need to sign for your residence card, and we're finished."

I spent the rest of my morning celebrating with a trip to the clearance sale racks. Nothing puts a spring in your step like purple pants.

PS: Some of my photos have gone missing since I accidentally let my .mac account lapse. While I was able to reinstate my account, they wiped all my data. *sigh* I'll have to put that back together later.



Blogger Kevlarsoul said...

Crime and the city solution, Alexandria Quarter...
This is how I got to this blog..
Good luck abroad.

11:23 PM GMT+1

Blogger soo doh nim said...

Nice to see my Wings of Desire friend has been here. As for this entry, what luck! Congratulations.

7:19 AM GMT+1

Blogger PeeKay said...

jen, since you are the only snowboarding heroine i know, tell me thoughts on this snowboard cross. personally i think it is soooo cool! i watched it last night and i am hooked!!! any chance you will change careers and focus on boarding full time? are the dutch thieves as bad with boards?

4:38 PM GMT+1

Blogger soo doh nim said...

Your other mission, of course, is to BLOG. How else are you going to get KLM to pay for you to go places disguised as a reporter? ;)

4:15 AM GMT+1


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