What Will Be Missed: Brötchen Not Bureaucracy

german roll brotchen

Actually I prefer Mehrkornbrötchen but every once-a-once I splurge and have a (regular) Brötchen smeared with a minimal amount of Nutella. Minimal! The splurging on my diet, though, will change soon because in India there is no Brötchen. I’m sure there’s plenty of Nutella. (Aghast! Short pause.) Oh. And. No! Bread Rolls are not a substitute for Brötchen. Remember: what the baguette is to the French, Brötchen is to Germanins. As far as this Amii living in Germania goes, I have to admit–even though I’ve refused to go 100% native during my twenty-plus year here–I have grown to adore the incredible assortment of bread. I will miss it.

And while I’m on the subject of grandland Germania

Due to early rising and the gloom of forever bureaucracy I missed my Brötchen by spending the morning at the Cologne registry office (Meldebehörde) trying to get de-registered. That’s right, dear worst-reader, in the grandland of modern Germania one has to register with a register office in order to live–or leave. That is, if you don’t register:

  • No bank account
  • No TV
  • No landline phone
  • No ISP
  • No cell phone contract
  • No insurance
  • No this or that and more of NO to everything.

The problem is, since we are leaving the country for a few years we have to also de-register because, well, we want to stop paying all that money for services that we no longer need (see bullet list above). Problem? The only way to cancel these services is by proving that we no longer live in Germania. Problem? The only way to prove that we no longer live in Germania is to de-register at the Germania registry office. That’s a pretty simple concept ain’t it? No. It’s not.

Obviously the bureaucrats of Germania have their reasons for this level of civil control. (And, yes, that’s exactly what registry is.) It’s just that when bureaucracy exceeds what should be a certain level of decorum on the part of automaton administrators of that bureaucracy, how is one supposed to react? The experience of de-registering was so bad this morning that I thought I was going to die because of over-heated blood. But before my blood starts to boil again by simply recalling what we went through this morning, allow me to share my (in)ability to type properly while I tweeted something as my wife (better-half) took care of things.

We sat in front of a mindless automaton this morning attempting to de-register from Germania. This entails being able to “prove” that we are moving out of our apartment. In order to “prove” such a thing we must have a document from our landlord stating that we’ve moved out. But get this. We are leaving before our lease runs out–two months before it runs out, to be exact. According to the rules/laws established by Germania and its registry offices, legally our landlord can’t prove whether or not we’ve actually moved out before the end of our lease.

Let me put that in other words. Our lease is up at the end of April, 2016. We move to India March 1, 2016. Actually, we move out of our apartment Feb. 25, 2016. But none of that seems to matter to anyone in the register office. Nor does it matter that we are required to pay two months rent to our landlord although in that time we will not be living in our apartment. Yeah, that’s our problem, as well. Keep in mind, notice of our move was given in January 2016. Because Germanin laws protect landlords (and, of course, stiff renters) we’re screwed out of two months rent. Who cares about that at the register office. But you know what? That’s not even the worst of our troubles.

As stated above, Germania, for whatever mindless reason that can only remind one of a world transcribed by Dostoyevsky or Gogol, we have to get proof of our moving out in order to stop paying for things that we no longer will be using (see button list above). But we can’t legally get proof because we’ll already be in India when our lease runs out. According to Germania law, our landlord can’t say we’ve moved out if our lease isn’t up. You got that, dear worst-reader?

When we sit with the automaton to clarify this, does she offer us a solution to the problem of moving out before the lease is actually up and getting proof of our move? No, of course not. Using a demeanour reminiscent of a scrooge or an evil stepmother, she insists that our problem (proof of moving out) is not her problem. The good things is, while all this mindlessness goes on and my blood boils and I almost die, my (Germanin) wife–who is facing this level of her own country’s bureaucracy for the first time–handles it well. Indeed. Just before I was about to explode, my wife–using the skills that obviously rocketed her career to where she is today and where she’ll be in India soon–was able to convince the automaton across from us to wake the fuck up. A call was made to some dipshit high-level automaton at a bigger registry office in the city centre. All the while yapping and zapping goes on and on and we sit impatiently. (Or is it just me that lost patience?) After about thirty minutes of yapping the news comes back that an exception will be made. Well good for us, eh.

There really is little positive I can say regarding my experience as an ausländer in Geramania. Alone the bureaucracy and rudeness I’ve faced is worth all my wrath. But I stuck it out for two reason and two reason alone. One is my wife and the other is my son. Now that my son made it to the ripe and legal age of eighteen and he’s in the process of ending his studies, a better time couldn’t come for trying some new horizons. Hence, India here we come. Indeed. And btw. I will not only miss Brötchen. I can’t wait for my son to come visit us in India asap.

Rant on. -Tommi

PS I know. I know. But we can only hope that the bureaucracy in India that we will face is a bit more human than that of Germania.