Emigrating to a new country brings a ton of expected and unexpected emotions and situations. So I grouped them in my Emigrants Dictionary! Today the letter A, telling about catch-22, paperwork, creditscores and equality amongst people:
A is for Administration
When we made the decision to emigrate, we knew we would have some challenges with administration, regulations and procedures. Noting could however have prepared us for the amount of red tape we had to go trough. Some bureaucrats and regulations turned our decision to emigrate into quiet a challenge. Working for an organization that creates Herculean labors for a living, we were used to a lot. But we have never been so creative in delivering impossible challenges!
Our new nation, as well as the good old motherland organized it all so they can govern. The catch-22 spices up the process: couple of examples that sound funny now, but had no fun in it at all when we were confronted…
- After we found our apartment, we had good hopes. Naive Belgians as we are, we imagined going to the landlord, signing the lease and delivering the deposit and having the keys to our new home. That might be the process in most countries and cities around the world. It’s a little different here… We had to apply for the apartment. It took over a month to convince the landlord that it’s normal that we didn’t had a social security number at that time, or that we didn’t had an income in the USA at that point… Top of the process was when our landlord required us to have a bank account before accepting our application AND we figured out that banks include the lease agreement in the required documents to open that account.
- If we ever would like to obtain so much as a consumer credit card in the USA, we need a credit score. This magic number is built on the history of using and having credit in this country. No credit score = no credit = no credit card. Having a credit card and using it, is the way to obtain a credit score. Belgian banks have no idea to deal with this.
- When leaving Belgium, the city registered us as having left the country, removing our address from the records. The Belgian Consulate required a birth certificate to register us in the USA. Requesting that certificate online is impossible without an address on your record. (Did you know Belgium once had a minister to make working with the administration easy?)
We have been sent back to “square one” so often that it became our new home.But none of these obstacles have been enough to stop us from coming here!
A is for Accent
“I’m sorry – it must be my accent” I said to the Starbucks employee who misunderstood my order. “In New York, Sir” he answered me “everyone has an accent”. That was the point where I understood why I love a city with first generation immigrants so much, now being one myself. We are all here to make the best of life and get the most of the opportunities that lie here, no matter where we originate from…
This is part of a series of posts that gives you an insight in our impressions after the first 100 days living in New York & the USA: More in http://blog.blanquart.be/category/vrije-tijd/travel/emigrants-dictionary/