Thursday, January 5, 2012

I’m sensing some reoccurring themes


Package Update:
We finally received Andy’s package from Mamaw, but are still waiting on mine.

We’re also still waiting on my book replacement…NEED. BOOK. NOW! Grrrrr.

Andy’s package from Nana that traveled to Turkey finally made it to Berlin yesterday, and he got a letter in the mail today that we had to go pick it up at the Zollamt (customs office).  We are now very leery of any letter/note telling us to come to any –Amt, but we took the chance of going without calling to make sure that it really was there. 

New Bureaucrazy Experience:
I had been warned only a few days ago about the torture that awaited us at the Zollamt, so I made sure that Andy didn’t have to do it alone.  When we arrived, there was a line out the door of people waiting to take a number.  Yes, you read that right, he had to wait to wait.  Explanation: when he got to the front of the line, there was one man who looked at his special little letter he got and then assigned him a number.  (Usually there are 2, but not today.)  He then sat down in the waiting room, after coming to rescue me with an extra pair of pants for Annika. (We’d been playing at a nearby playground and she had an accident because she didn’t want to stop playing.  Typical.)  Soo, once he went back inside, he waited for a while and then his number was called.  They brought him to a special room, where the Zoll Officer made him open the box and show him what was inside.  There were gifts from Nana in there who had so nicely mailed it to us and been very honest on the customs form—which is exactly what you should do, except that Andy’s present from me was also in there—a Nook.  Soo, after explaining what it all was (in German I might add--go Andy!), the guy put it all back in the box, returned the box to the warehouse, and sent Andy back to the waiting room while they calculated how much he was going to have to pay in taxes.  That’s right, his gift was purchased at home in the US, shipped here, and taxed yet again.  I will not tell you how much it was, but I will tell you that it was the same price we paid for our groceries for the week. 

I laughed at the whole thing, remembering the wise words of my friend’s roommate here who likes to say, “Das ist Deutschland!!”  (That’s Germany!)

I really appreciated Andy’s take on the whole experience though.  He asks the German bureaucrazy machine: How is any of that efficient?  As usual, Andy hits the nail on the head!
This made me vaguely remember a conversation with my history-channel loving father who once told me that overly complicated tanks were a contributing factor in Germany’s war losses.  I’m not sure if that is true, but we laughed about it on the bus on the way home. 

Kita Update:
I went to the Kita today and it is going to be an awesome place for her to hang out 20-25 hours a week!  There is even a girl in her class that speaks English and happens to have a birthday the day before hers.  The English-speaking girl’s mom was soo excited that Annika is coming now so her daughter will have some more practice.  It is going to be a WILD ride for a while, as German is the only working language they have there, but she’s going to speak better German than me by the end of it all. 

Did I mention how cheap it is?  Well, I spoke to a German friend of mine with a son around Ani’s age, and he was amazed at how cheap it is.  Apparently, it is subsidized by the state, not the federal government, so it is different all over the country.  He didn’t even know what a Kitagutschein was, so I got to be all Berliner superior to him.  That was fun. 

Ani starts on February 1st after we (you guessed it) fill out the proper paperwork, get it stamped by the proper authorities, and get a doctor’s clearance form filled out too.  The doctor’s form can’t be more than a week old, and seems pretty generic.  It isn’t nearly as funny as the DAAD form they had their pediatrician at home fill out when they had get a resting heart rate and then one after 10 deep knee bends.  (REALLY funny to try to get a one year old to do BTW!) 

Next on the list: Find a pediatrician!  

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