31 July 2008

Life Stranded on an Island, Absentee Ballots and Leftover Indian Takeout

Stranded in an Island Kingdom

I sent away my passport along with a huge stack of other documents confirming my identity and the authenticity of my marriage to an EU citizen to the Home Office nearly five months ago. 

I have missed two weddings of dear friends in Germany as a result. Matthias and I wanted to book a vacation and go somewhere warm and dry to drink cocktails with umbrellas. Not possible at the moment and the likelihood is dwindling.

I am unable to register for the universal health care provided through the NHS which has put plans of starting a family on hold.

We pay nearly 300 dollars in 'council tax' to keep the museums open and free, the libraries running and okay, waste disposal. Matthias pays an obscene amount of income tax. So why the hell are EU spousal applications at the bottom of the list? We are treated like normal citizens accept when it comes to putting a lousy sticker and stamp in our passports (which is something an untrained chimp could do, by the way).

After waiting patiently on hold to speak with someone regarding my application, I finally got ahold of someone who told me to expect a 'significant delay' beyond the six months it normally takes, as the Home Office was desperately seeking staff to process the amount of European applications. It was easier for me as a single girl to live in Germany for Pete's sake! All I had to do there was show a local bureaucrat that I had no intention of sponging off their social welfare system (i.e. provide evidence of an income, a place to live and health insurance) and I could stay in Germany as long as I wanted - a model of efficiency in comparison to this display of ineptitude.

I am seriously annoyed and wondering which action I could take to accelerate things. Shall I write to my local member of parliament? Can you sense my aggravation? I thought this country was supposed to be a member of the EU and our war-against-terrorism buddy. Where is the gift in this.....? I want off this island, if only for a weekend in Dublin! Argh!

Absentee Ballots from Snohomish County
You know what I do love about expatriate living? Yes, absentee voting. I probably spend more time reading the voter's pamphlet and choosing candidates than most joe average voters. And it fills me with pride to go to the local post office and hand this oddly sized security envelope to the post master, or here in Gatley, the post mistress. 

This year, I actually voted for a republican, a green and constitutional party members. It was great. I hope the underdog with the good ideas wins.

Leftover Indian Takeout
Shortly after posting yesterday, my DH of three years brought me one long stemmed red rose for each year we have been married. I gave him a card. We were thinking of going out for a really nice meal, but since we are expecting non-stop visitors from Germany throughout the month of August, we opted for Indian take away and a bottle of champagne I intended to drink on my 30th birthday.

Well, that bottle of bubbly is still in the fridge. Matthias and I got a combo meal (2 appies, 2 mega mains, 2 sides, rice, naan and salad) and stuffed ourselves silly. We even had enough leftover for lunch this afternoon (ha ha, no cooking and more writing time for me...). I fell asleep on his lap while he watched some marvel of engineering special on the National Geographic channel. That may not sound too romantic, I know. But the romance was in exactly this pure simplicity that makes our marriage so magnificent.

1 comment:

Tamagosan said...

WOW. The UK bureaucracy sure gives the French a run for their money! I do not envy you, and almost want to book a plane ticket tomorrow to just bring you some foreignness... Can you sense your frustration, you asked? YES and rightly so.
On a lighter note:
Absentee ballots: GOOD.
Cuddly yummy evening for anniversary: WONDERFUL.