Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Few Good Phone Calls

I finally got the call from Katharina saying that I could come to work! She called at ten am and woke me up, man, I was getting a hang of this sleeping in thing, luckily, I didn't need to go in until today. Katharina said she has "good news, and bad news." Good news, I can come back and work. Bad news, I have to go to the city (Paderborn) tomorrow morning with Mrs. Grote to fill out paperwork. I need identification, a biometric photo (I think a passport size photo, or do I need to have one taken today?), health insurance paperwork, and 100 euros. She said maybe the department could pay me back for the 100 euros though (no promises though.)

I got up then, excited for work tomorrow (how often does that happen?) and headed into town. I found a nice park and brought a blanket. I "posted up" for most of the day there and just relaxed while knitting. It was hot, maybe 30C outside and eventually tired of the sun. I headed into town where I looked in a few stores and bought a few things from the grocery store. They only have English cucumbers here .. So much more than I need at once but it's OK, it lasts me a while.

I came home, around three, because it looked like rain. I was already exhausted from the day in the sun. I was walking into the apartment complex and was greeted by Roman, a boy who lives on the ground floor of my building. He asked me for my phone number, and seeing as I don't have many friends here yet, I gave it to him. He invited me to go swimming with him today and I said maybe. It all depended on the weather. He's a nice guy too.

I got back to my room and I wanted to sleep, but Katharina called me and asked if I wanted a ride into the city (because of the impending rain) early. We had plans to go out with some of the Benteler girls in the evening, but originally planned to meet at 5. I said why the heck not, and went downstairs to meet her. We went into the city and did some shopping because Katharina wanted some red leggings and then went for "eis", an ice cream.

We had plenty of time before we were to meet with the other girls so we found another park and sat on the hill for a bit. It was sunny still and we had a nice chat overlooking the small pond. Reluctantly, we got up and went to the Cafe & Bär-Celona, the place with the hilarious bear themed pamphlet that I posted earlier. We got there before anyone else did, so we found a table and decided to risk it sitting outside. Lucky for us, it didn't rain and we enjoyed more sun! I had a Radler and the other two girls had strawberry milkshakes. Eventually, the other girls came and each of them had a milkshake too. We decided to order food and I wasn't really hungry so I had some bruschetta. After dinner, some girls were going to see Men in Black 3 and after they were going to go to a club. I was still exhausted though, so I went home.

I couldn't sleep though, finally, I fell asleep at midnight and woke at 2 AM, and 5:30 AM ... BUT I must have put my iPod on silent because my alarm at 6 AM was silent and I didn't wake up. Crap, I jumped out of bed at 6:30, hopped in the shower, jumped out, threw on some clothes, biked to work ... and was still the first one there. Typical. I worked until 8:20 and then I had to go to Mrs. Grote. We went in her car to the city to meet about my working visa.

The office was quite ugly and we waited for a while in the hall before we were invited in for our appointment. Sadly, since my health insurance card did not say on the back that is good in Germany, though I know it is, there was nothing he could do for me. I then went down the hall and was registered as a resident in Germany. I had to go back to work for the day, around ten, and wasn't supposed to work. I called the Blue Cross, Blue Shield hotline for international members and was told that there was nothing they could do for me but confirm that I had coverage, but not how much or where. I had to wait until "normal" office hours in America and call then. I sent an e-mail to my parents:

So, more bullshit.

I went to my meeting in Paderborn today and was told that my insurance is no good over here because it does not say on the back that it works in Germany. I need conformation from BCBS sent to me saying that I'm covered. I called the overseas number but they can't help me. They can only tell me if I have insurance or not and not if I am covered out of the country. I now need to call the number on the back of the card... Only during normal business hours (which I wasn't given) and that'll be afternoon for me.

I was told that I could meet with Mr. Blume again this afternoon at 2 PM but that won't work because I won't have the papers yet. I can't work ... I'm still sitting in the office though, my co-workers said it isn't a problem but I don't want to work. I'm so mad!

I was registered as living here though and got paperwork for that all set up. I hate that this wasn't mentioned to me while I was in America and I could have taken care of it easily!

I'll let you know if I have any luck.


An example working visa for Germany

I waited until my parents were awake and at work then my mother sent me the necessary documents. Katharina sent them to Mr. Blume and he said they were sufficient but he has not appointments tomorrow and Monday is a holiday so I have an appointment on Tuesday. BUT it's OK for me to work tomorrow. At least things are coming together! Albeit slowly.

Last summer while working for Benteler, the company moved from one location to another in Auburn Hills, MI and I got to help pack everything for the move. And now, my department will move here too! We will be at the same complex but in a different building. In the afternoon, I helped Katharina pack some of the boss' things into boxes to move. There were a lot of folders and it reminded me of my time in the back room in Auburn Hills.

I had a call from Roman that he was on his way home and he wanted me to go swimming with him. I finished work, shut down my computer and went home by bike. The ride is quite nice now that I know my way and can avoid crossing a large street. I had to dig to find a bathing suit and soon realized that I only had one towel. I took a blanket instead. German swimming pools, like this one, are public and you pay a fee to go in. There were maybe five different sized and shaped pools with different depths. We found a nice place to lay our blankets and sat in the sun for a while. I bought a book yesterday so I took it along and just read while laying out in the sun. It was very relaxing and after two hours or so, we walked back. It's right around the corner / across the street from my apartment. I found out Roman is 24, looks more like 20 or 22, but he was shocked when I said that.

We went our separate ways at the door and I cooked dinner. I wasn't very hungry so I made a few boiled potatoes and ate some of my (gigantic!) cucumber. I checked my email and had a nice, inspirational note from my dad.
Remember, you are an “Explorer”, traveling over new ground and you can expect to find some surprises. (I don’t think that they ever had someone from the US before. So they are feeling this out to some extent too. )  It is unfortunate that they did not take care of these things in advance, and it is clearly less disturbing to them than it is to you. (After all they are at home, and you are on an adventure!)  

I  am very proud of how well you have handled all of these challenges that have come up on this trip! You should be too!

Remember that you are making memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t take it too seriously, and above all, HAVE FUN!

Keep us informed of your progress and let us know if there is anything more that you need.

Love Ya!


I know it's only nine here, but I think it's nearly my bed time. I should pack my things though because tomorrow after work, I will drive with Marc to Frankfurt where I will meet up with Patrick, my cousin.

Another big weekend, tons of pictures of course! Bis bald! ("See you soon", "until next time")

No comments:

Post a Comment