Four inches

I’ve had such strange luck with paperwork recently. I buckled down and got all of my name changing done. (Except for in the US with my bank…they require me to come in person, and I don’t know when I’ll be in the States again at this point. Could be next summer, could be longer…)

While I was at it, I decided to get my driver’s license exchanged. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t sure if I could do it or not, having been in the country a bit too long. But I submitted it and everything seemed to go through all right. That is, until 2 weeks later when I got a letter from them saying they needed a copy of my Meldebescheinigung – that’s the registration certificate that proves I live in Germany. So I had to go to the Einwohnermeldeamt and pay 10€ to get a copy in my new name. And since we are now one family, the lady there put both of our names on the document. I brought it home, copied it and mailed it in to the LBV (Landesbetrieb Verkehr – the German version of the DMV).

After that, I waited about 4 more weeks until I finally got the letter that my license had arrived and I could come to pick it up at the LBV. I went in after work one day, waited for about an hour, and my number was finally called.

I showed the lady my letter, my passport and my Maryland driver’s license, and she looked me up in the computer. Except…she couldn’t find me in the system. She was a bit confused as to why she couldn’t find me, so she searched by my birthday. Still no luck. Then, looking at my Maryland license, she asked, “Your birthday is June 10th, isn’t it?” And I said, “Ohh no, in the US we do the date with the month first. So it’s October 6th.” A common misunderstanding.

So she typed it in again…but still couldn’t find me! She tried typing in a few more things (perhaps searching by first name?) and she finally got it. “The birthdate in my system here says December 19, 1972.”

Um, yes. That’s my husband’s birthday.

The only way they could have gotten that information was by looking on the Meldebescheinigung. Whoever had typed in the paperwork made a mistake…somehow the lines got crossed. Fabulous. The lady was actually really nice and though she couldn’t give me the license with the wrong birthdate on it, she at least gave me a temporary one and told me she would mail me the new one so I wouldn’t have to come in again.

In the end, it took me 10 weeks to finally get my new license. I got the corrected license in the mail last week. Now all I need to do is learn how to drive a stick shift!

New visa

This month we also took care of getting my visa updated to the new name and new visa type. I can now have some sort of a spouse visa which allows me to stay here permanently based on my marriage and no longer connected to my job. (Though I can work here as a spouse too, of course.) I was a bit nervous about them maybe asking me to prove my German language skills, but they didn’t even ask anything about that. Unfortunately though, we had the same mean lady as last time. (Why is it that we always get her, when there are at least 8-10 other people we could have gone to? Did they assign her to me or something?)

This lady is seriously a mega-bitch. It’s clear that her coworkers don’t enjoy working with her. She is definitely not in the right job, as she is very obviously unhappy in it and lets everyone around her know it as she slams around things on her desk and snaps at anyone who says anything to her. The funny thing is, she is also an Ausländerin (foreigner), which you would think would give her more understanding and patience toward the rest of us. But NO. It’s almost as if she has to prove her worth and therefore is overcompensatingly mean to those of us who are just trying to get our visas to stay here. Her Russian-sounding accent was extremely difficult to understand, and Tobias noticed that she made tons of German grammar mistakes. The lady at the desk next to hers was SO nice and friendly…why couldn’t we have gotten her instead?

Anyway, I signed various documents that said my information was correct. But I made her update it because she wrote “Washingten” instead of “Washington DC”. In the end, she didn’t even add the DC part, which is annoying because it’s not the same place, people.

Last Wednesday, Tobias picked up my new visa from her on my behalf, and the lady was just as mean then. And I had forgotten to give him my old visa to exchange it for the new one, but he somehow managed to take home the visa anyway with a promise that he’d bring the old one back the following day. So it gave me a chance to compare.

So apparently now that I’ve got a new last name, I also get to be a whole 4 inches (10cm) taller? 5’9″ is like a model’s height! From 5’5″ to 5’9″, that’s quite a big change! It’s not worth the effort to get it changed again. So I guess that for the next 3 years at least, I will be 175cm tall. Awesome. At least they didn’t do it the other way around. I’d rather be 4 inches taller than 4 inches shorter, even if it’s just on paper. Dumb mean lady must have typed 7 instead of 6.

Here’s hoping I’ll never have to explain it to the police or something. It’s not like the weight on your driver’s license, which is pretty clear that nobody is still the same weight as their license says. (I think my Maryland one said 115 lbs, which I haven’t been for a while.) But how do you explain having shrunk 4 inches?

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