So today is an important day, it’s the first day I’ve bumped up against German bureaucracy. I’m trying to get my checking account (Girokonto) set up before I have to pay my security deposit, but I have to verify my identity to the bank, and I can’t do it with their online chat too, cause I’m American.
I have to go to a popular German location, the Deutsche Postbank. Which is a commercial bank, the local post office, and sort of local government branch all in one, as I understand it. I have all my paper work, and I am ready, but quickly I am shut down. The gentleman behind the desk tells me without even attempting to do anything that this won’t do. My passport doesn’t have my “gerburtsort” on it. Birth city. He tells me the US Consulate will add some thing to my passport that puts the city in there, and then all will be well. I assume that I am wrong.
I have talked to the consulate, and they have told me that there’s no way I would ever or could ever get my birth city in my passport. So now I have to go back to the Deutsche Postbank and tell them they were wrong. What I will actually probably do is go to a different branch. I will say, it does feel good to have felt the first rush of cold process of the bureaucracy that I know is living all around me. I thought it’d hit me when I get to the visa process, but no.
Micka is gone until September 8th, so I have his room until I need to move it, what a fucking relief. Gaeo is holding onto my second bag until it’s time to move in, and he’s told me he’ll call my debt for his room off if I take some portraits of him for LinkedIn. Tonight I sat around the table at Micka’s house and played a board game with his roommates.
I was lonely a bit today at the rock gym, just because all the most fun stuff was something I’d need a belay partner for, but I think that’ll come along before too long. I’m still in a bit of shock how well this is all coming together.
But it’s not all smooth sailing. There’s the bank account, the upcoming potential visa troubles, and I’ve got two plastic bottles here that the automated recycling machine at the grocery store just won’t take. So, you know, there’s bad stuff too.
And with that my first German bureaucratic kerfuffle is at an end. Yesterday the guy behind the counter hadn’t even struck a key on his keyboard before he decided my papers were not in Ordnung. Today, at a different, smaller, and more cosy branch of Deutsche Post, I said “Hallo” and the woman’s fingers were flying across the keys submitting my data and taking care of business. I even understood when she asked for my new address (which I almost know by heart now), and my Unterschrift (signature).
Now I’m all ahead of schedule because that didn’t take long enough. I have a few hours before I’m supposed to hop in an inflatable boat with Gaeo and his girlfriend, Tessa, and go down the Isar. It’s legitimately hot today, I stepped out at 10:30 and immediately wished for some shorts, luckily there were still a few pairs somewhere deep in one of my bags. First time wearing shorts since New York.
I’ve not met Tessa yet, but Gaeo met her while they were working at a German immersion camp in the Midwest. He says when she speaks German you’d never know that she wasn’t native. I have to admit that makes me a bit jealous. My understanding is that the Isar is very, very cold, which will be perfect today. This evening I’m supposed to meet Antonio to climb at one of the big bouldering gyms on the edge of town.
I really liked climbing with Antonio the other day, he kept saying it would be so easy to fall and “crash” your leg without a crashpad. But he hits the SH a little hard and a little long “craSHHHHH.” He reminds me of a friend in Texas who is always calm and seemingly just an incredible natural climber.
The rock gym yesterday was like a god damn cathedral, so it’s hard to imagine that this one is better in some ways, but that’s what the rumors are. Big day ahead.