Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Today is Woensdag

Cue Carl Beethoven...

After many months of bureaucratic sluggishness (is there any other kind?) I became an officially legal member of Belgium today. That is to say, I got my ID card. The process started back in April when I applied for the thing, had to wait a month while the police came to check that I actually lived here. I do in body, at least. Then I needed to go back and sign a whole lotta papers before they at Dienst Vreemdelingen Bevolking gave me a temporary ID card.

Note: each time you visit the Dienst you need to take a number and wait for two hours because there are only four service windows, with generally one of them actually serving. I tried to go to the Belgian bevolking dienst on the other side of the building, which had 10 windows and zero waiting time, but I was ordered to go and wait with the Turks. I marvel at the efficiency of this place.

Anyway, I still needed to prove that I had a job, so that took more months because the Tour and stuff got in the way. I finally returned triumphant in September, employer's attestation in hand, and gave it to the worthy folks at the above Dienst. They were very generous in handling my query because I missed my number being called by about three microseconds and was frowned upon. It wasn't enough to get the final ID card though - I had to come back in a month, by which time it had all been approved.

So today I went back, waited for two and a half hours (it was actually half an hour after closing time by the time I got served) and paid €7 to get my final ID card. Woo hoo! I was so proud. Another week and I would have had to re-apply. What a riveting tale.

At the moment I am still tired but also bored. That's a bad combination, but doing nothing for two and a half hours this arvo was probably a good idea. I was going to write something else, but upon re-reading the above I realise that it will be even more tedious so I will refrain. On second thoughts...

Google and other search engines are now finding this bilge because there are now more than 35,000 words on it. Hell, that's not too far short of my Ph.D thesis, and it's somehow emerged in about five months of very part time beer-fueled contributions. I conclude, therefore, that my Ph.D thesis should have been a blog.

In a few weeks, you'll be able to type in "beer" and "Ph.D" into Yahoo!, Google or MSN, and this bilgespot will probably be third on the list. That's scary.

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