Last time we heard from each other, and I updated you on my relocation progress, I told you how I had completed 1/4 items on my major to do list. This week, I’m happy to report, I’m all done!
Finished that last week! Surprisingly, they had a record of my other time in Germany almost ten years ago
- Bank account
This one was done first.
- Health insurance
About three phone calls and four emails later, I got a confirmation of my health insurance within 24 hours, which meant I could move on to the next big ticket item.
The Residence Permit
Residence permit applications seem to be notorious in Berlin because you can never find appointments. Try it for yourself if you like. I’d been trying to book myself an appointment since January but without luck! I had surrendered to the idea of having to email the Foreigners Office before my visa expires to beg for some consideration, when lo and behold, my boyfriend saved the day and got me an appointment! Amazing!
My appointment was booked for less than a week in advance, which meant I had to rush and finish up everything else I needed (see above, Health Insurance). In the end I got everything I needed in my little folder and was ready to make my way to the Foreigner’s Office. The night before my big appointment, I checked what public transportation route to use. To my ** shock **, the Foreigner’s Office was about 1.5 hours away from where I lived. Yes, you can travel 1.5 hours within Berlin and still be in Berlin. So, whilst my appointment was at 12 noon, I set my alarm for 7am in the morning the next day.
Come 7am the next day, I got dressed with the warmest clothes I had, packed my backpack with all the possible documents I could need and by 7:30 I was out of the house. I stopped by the supermarket to get two pastries for the road. With COVID and everything I knew I couldn’t eat on the trains, so I ate them on my way to the nearest station.
About 10 minutes of walking later, I arrive at a station only to be confused. This wasn’t the one I needed – I had made my first mistake. Ugh, would I make it on time? (Yes, it was after all only 8am by then and I had four more hours to spare). Disgruntled, I figured the next (& correct) station was about 10 more minutes of walking and so I walked on.
Once on this train, my route would be, sit here for about 40 minutes to the other side of the city, then walk to the closest subway and take that to my final destination. Here, I took a seat and just enjoyed a long ride through Berlin. It was a good opportunity to understand all the different stops this particular line went through as well, as it was also crossing the city center.
After the 40 minutes, I hopped off the train, now on the complete other side of the city, and hopped on my first subway ride of this time in Berlin. The subway is weird and I don’t like it, but what choice did I have?
Once done with the subway ride, I was finally there! I had arrived at the Foreigner’s Office, and my appointment was at 12. What time did I arrive there you ask? When I checked the clock, it was 9:20 am. Yikes … I had over-planned and had now some three hours to kill.
It was all nice and well, because the Foreigner’s Office was in a cute area I’d never been in before and it had a beautiful castle and garden. Of course, for the time being it was closed, but I could walk around and take pictures and let time pass.
Eventually, the cold got to me and I even managed to find a public toilet. For 50 cents, I entered this stand alone sound-proof toilet-cube thing and found some sweet release. Of course the thought of getting stuck inside and missing my appointment briefly crossed my mind. To my relief, the cube doors opened again and I could exit and make it back in time!
By 11:30 I joined the other students and ausländer waiting in line. I even managed to help a student who couldn’t speak German communicate with thr guards by serving as a translator! By 11:45 they let us in for our appointments and we walked up three flights of stairs. I mention this, because combined with the mask, I was really out of breath by the end. In the end, I went to my appointment and the lady was very nice! She asked for my documents one by one, and in the end told me I’d get a residence permit for three years – much longer than I’d expected!
A legal kween by that point, I made my way back for my 1.5 hour journey home, but this time around much more relaxed 🙂 Three weeks in (two, if you don’t count my week in quarantine), I finished with all my relocation tasks. Berlin can now start feeling like home!
Speaking of feeling like home, a lot of other students already moved here too, and I’ve made some great friends already! Life’s been very fun! 🙂
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