Gute Reisen

The wheels of Visas turn slowly

I have’t talked for a while about the Visa situation here. There’s honestly not a lot to report. However, despite the sink being fixed, the dates being organized, photos and bike rides being taken, I do think and work on my Visa all the time. I’ve heard a lot of stories of this process taking longer than the time I’ve waited, and, indeed, the woman at the Immigration Office who mocked me for how much rent I paid, was very friendly on my most recent visit, and assured me that waiting 3 months was actually “normal.” I felt some calm, and she then wrote down the address for the office that my application had been sent to. This place is called the IHK. International Handlers Kammer. I asked if she could find the e-mail, or fax number, or phone number, or name, or anything specific, and she said all should could give me was the address, and if I wanted a phone number I should “das Internet durchsuchen.” Basically, she told me just to google it, as though I hadn’t already. I took the address which was different that the address I had used when I visited the IHK in December. I thought maybe I had gone to the wrong office or that there was something different or that I’d gotten some inside information.

I got home and googled the address and quickly found out that what she had given me was a former office of the IHK that they had moved out of in 2012. A years vacant office was the most up-to-date information that this bureaucrat could offer me in regards to where the papers that everything hangs on are resting. Bananas. 

So I’m going back to the IHK, this morning, but I ran out of coffee. So stop one is a quick cup, to steel myself. Yesterday the temperature miraculously reached 15 celsius (59 Fahrenheit), crazy warm, and I took advantage of it for a lovely ride to the south of Munich. It was a real reminder of why I’m here, I got completely lost, but the sun was so warm, the cycle paths were so clean, and I went places I’d never been before just cause I was sure if I kept riding, I’d find a sign telling me what way to turn home, and that’s exactly what happened. When I stepped out of the house this morning, the sky was pink and blue, the air was crisp, and there was a certain quality, a certain smell, the hint of warmth coming later in the day, I associate it so closely with Europe, it felt promising.

So I went to the IHK (again), but this time I was bound and determined to get some kind of answer, my understanding of what was going on wasn’t any better, but my desperation was slowly enhanced. On a previous visit to the IHK I went in a door that seemed to lead to the Information and Service Center that was, according to the signs, on the 3rd floor. Someone saw me walking around looking hopeless and brought me into an office to talk. I hope that on this trip, I could also sad puppy my way into some information. I just went up to the 3rd floor, let myself in the door, and started walking past offices and cubicles. Everyone I saw was on the phone or their offices were closed. I figured there had to be a front desk and it took quite a while of fumbling, map reading, and building changing to find it.

Quickly I had directions to the waiting room, which was back where I’d started though there was no indication of it in the building itself. I got passed on to a woman who immediately passed me on to another woman who then passed me up to another woman who explained that I would have to be very clear about what kind of work I’d be doing, and that if I wanted answers I’d need to e-mail this gentleman, but I should, under no circumstances call him, he is very busy. Sated that I had a new person to talk to, that I was being assured was the actual person who would look at my papers, and make a ruling, I decided to share the story of the outdated address, hoping for some sympathy, outrage, confusion. She blinked and said, “Welcome to Germany.”

I shared this story with some German friends last night, and their reaction was quite the same. I looking forward to coming out the other end of this maze.

Then, in less than 24 hours, I’ve gotten a response from someone entirely new from the IHK. He claims that they needed further information and clarification from the KVR and they asked for that months ago with no response from the KVR. The gentleman claims also, that it is being resolved, and he will be back in touch with me soon. I am skeptical, but hopeful, and now I have an actual human being to contact directly at the IHK. I’m already planning to visit the KVR next week, and tell them that, as the dude says, I’ve got information man, new shit has come to light.

The engine and the wheels are not turning, and I’ve been ready to get out and push this whole time, and now I know what direction I’m headed.