vrijdag, oktober 22, 2004

I'm a fully legal resident!

FINALLY, the paperwork has gone through. I got a letter today that said that a letter was coming that would lead to something else, and with this something else I could get my residency card and ... but the crux of it all was that I'm now a legal resident of The Netherlands, and I also have the right to work! Yippee! Of course, Ian's a little more excited about this being able to work thing than I am.

That's not really true. I just added it for your reading enjoyment. Actually, he thinks I should wait until after the wedding to work. I heartily agree. Seriously, it does make sense for me to wait to work until later. And before you get all judgmental on me and think it's because I'm being lazy and eating chocolate covered cherries while watching Sex in the City, well, that's not it. If I wait to work, I can continue with my Dutch lessons and maybe reach some level of proficiency with this language invented by Satan without having to concentrate on work at the same time.

So I would have studied for the Dutch test I have next Monday, but over the lunch hour I had to take the letter explaining that I'm a resident to Ian. It was three pages long and I understood very little of it. I thought it was probably a letter of denial because we put a stamp in the wrong place or something. At any rate, that's why I didn't study this morning. And I would study tonight, but we're going to be celebrating my new resident status with Thomas. We'll also be celebrating something of Thomas's, but I think that's still a secret so I'm going to hardly mention it here. But if you see him, congratulate him and that way he can decide whether to tell or not and I'll not have ruined his suprise. Or at least, not much.

(Thomas, the tongue sticker-outer with the big secret.)

So I’m going to start studying right after writing this. It's a little difficult, though, because I've been nursing a migraine for the past 36 hours. I talked with Mom last night and she said that Alex (my brother Ken's daughter) started taking riboflavin (vitamin B-2) for her migraines and it's apparently worked. Well, that was testament enough for me. I got on my bike after I left Ian at lunch and went to the money machine (by the way - the exchange is now about $1.26 per Euro. The dollar is weaker every day...). I took out some money for the B2 and made my way to the the pharmacy Ian suggested, but they didn’t have any B-2.

On the way there, after getting money, I stopped at the open market and almost bought a new lock for my bike. It’s been kind of acting up. I didn’t get one, though, because I wasn’t sure of the quality of the market guy’s locks. Instead I went to the Inburgering office (the place that "intergrates" me into society here) to give Haneke (my contact person) the letter. She had asked me to please bring it to her the moment I got it. But she wasn’t there to take my letter. The receptionist asked me if I wanted to leave the original (as if...) or have her make a copy of it. I'm almost certain the copy she made won’t get to Haneke or anyone else who cares about it. But I'll deal with that next week. For now, my priority was to study.

I went outside and unlocked my bike. And the key broke in the lock.

I wish I had pictures of all of this, but I don't. You're just going to have to trust that I am telling the truth here and imagine the visuals yourself this time.

I went to Gamma (a local home improvement store) and rented some bolt cutters. I returned to my bike. As I started to cut the bolt, a big-boned Dutch woman got right up in my quickly diminishing peace and started yelling at me. I smiled politely and asked if she could kindly curse at me in English, as I didn't understand her Dutch one little bit. She immediately switched to English and asked what the hell I thought I was doing.

So I humoured her and explained.

She did not, at all, believe me. Luckily, I had the broken key as evidence or I think she might have killed me right there in front of the Inburgering office.

Once I showed it to her, she apologized profusely and said, "We have a problem in this country with our bikes being stolen." No duh. Where the f**k was she when my last bike was stolen?

Anyway, I finished cutting the chain and lock, liberated my bike, went back to Gamma and returned the bolt cutter, got another lock and came home.

And now I'm going to study Dutch. Well, for 45 minutes. Then I'm going to go get Ian's bike at the bike shop. His chain broke yesterday.

It's a lovely picture, all these Dutch people on their bikes in packs of 30 or 40. Well let me tell you something, it's a lot of work being carefree, people.

And now I really am going to study.

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