Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Every Auslanders favorite place

Oh Bezirksrathaus, how I love thee.  From your freakish zombie-rising-from-the-ground sculpture outside,

 to your unfinished waiting area with buzzing fluorescent lights (in the same state of disrepair since my first visit nearly a year ago, minus a water cooler),

to your cheerful employees who are always willing to serve me er, eventually.  (I know they only ignore me waiting outside their office because they have much more important things to do.)

Yesterday we returned to the sight of so much joy, Central Bureaucracy.  We each had a few things to take care of there today.  She did all her paperwork necessary so that she can receive her new passport and IDs (with new last name!) after we're married.  After that, we dropped in on our favorite civil servant to ask a few questions regarding my visa status after the marriage.

There was a two hour mid-day break at this next office and we were done with the above-mentioned paperwork early.  We patiently waited outside the office until they re-opened.  There's not much of a system when it comes to visiting these people.  No secretary, no take-a-number, no sign-in sheet.  No, you just sit and wait outside the office until the previous customer leaves.  Then you know the office is free.  There's no window allowing you to see in there, so if you arrive and there's no wait, you have to knock on the door, timidly open it and ask for permission to come in.  Everything you do is in complete deference because they alone seem to hold the power over giving you a visa or kicking you out of the country.  

So there we are waiting outside her office.  It is just two of us.  There are no other customers waiting.  Soon a door opens across the hall and our civil servant enters.  We know it is her because we recognize her from our previous visits.  She crosses the hall, stands directly next to us, unlocks her office door, enters, closes the door and locks it behind her.  Not a word.  Huh.

It is 1:52 and the office hours begin again at 2.  Let's wait.

A minute later another door opens and our civil servant and her colleagues walk out and down the stairs.  The stairs are located across the hall behind yet another door.  (This hallway must be where they got the idea for all those Scooby-Doo chase scenes.)

Ok, a quick smoke after lunch before getting back to work.  Fair enough.  At 1:59 she returns.  She unlocks her door and enters her office.  Not a single word to us.  No eye contact.  Nothing.

We awkwardly chuckle to ourselves.  Do we go in?  What do we do?  We waited another minute and then finally worked up the nerve to knock on the door.  Yes, we were granted permission.  The actual conversation was fine.  And it seems to us that she's even lightened up a bit since our first visits.  If only she hadn't said she remembered us.  That only irritated me because of the cold shoulder we got the whole time waiting.  A simple, "I'll be with you in a few minutes" goes a long way.

We asked about my visa status:
  • how that changes once we are married (new one-year visa granted right away), 
  • if there is any more paperwork we'll need to do regarding the visa (of course there is!), 
  • and also whether or not I can begin to look for regular work (indeed I can).  
This eased a lot of the angst we've had lately because my visa runs out in a few months.  It also gives me a lot more leverage when it comes to deciding whether or not I want to continue working for this moron of a boss.  (I still haven't been paid for work I did in April.)  We thanked her for answering our questions and providing us with more paperwork and an opportunity to come back. Then we got up, bowed, and walked out of the room backwards extolling her virtues and throwing rose petals at her feet.  Well, ok, in my mind we exited that way. 


The World Cup rolls on and I am constantly surprised by many of the results.  There have been some impressive performances by the smaller countries while many of the supposed powerhouses are just squeaking by or having to deal with a draw.  Still, we've only just seen the first game by everyone.  We may have a clearer picture by the end of the week after everyone has played a second game.

So far there's really only been one dominating performance.  And of course, it came from die Nationalmanschaft.  Yes, Germany kicked the crap out of Australia who, frankly, probably deserved it after this freak of a team pep rally.  (Seriously? John Travolta? WTF?)  Germany ran roughshod and crushed the Soccerroos 4-0.  It probably could have been uglier than that too.  When they announced an extra three minutes of stoppage time, I begged the TV for mercy.

It was a whale of a performance and it has sent the country into a state of delirium.  Monday was non-stop talk about the game.  Every play was broken down and analyzed.  Again.  And Again.  And Again.  You really couldn't avoid it on TV.  From what I've seen and heard, you'd think Germany has already won the World Cup.  There was even a music video of sorts out the very next day.

Maybe just a tab premature, don't you think?  If you are to go the distance, there's still six games left, people.  And those last four will all have to be won.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not rooting against them.  At least not yet anyway.  I think it'd be awfully exciting to be here if they make it to the finals.  But the cockier everyone gets, the harder it is going to be for me to want to support the team.  But this comes from a guy who grew up rooting for a baseball team who's unofficial motto has been "wait 'til next year" for the past 100 years.  Hey, even the "lowly" US beat Australia 3-1 a few weeks ago.

Speaking of the US team, here's some Daily Show reaction to the previous game and the World Cup in general.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - US Ties England
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Still not down with how the game works?  For those of you looking for some basics, here's a great breakdown sent to me yesterday by a good friend.  Once you've seen this, I'm sure it'll all make a lot more sense to you.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, and I love how England is all jealous and talking smack about how Germany was used to the BALL. LOL.