Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Finally an honest day's work and becoming a citizen

Today was my first day of work. I was to be there at 0800, which meant leaving the house at 0750. When I arrived, I found out I wasn't meant to be there until 0900 so I got to read a lot of company literature while I waited for the training to begin. I won't write about work as you can be sacked for such things you know! So I will focus more on other exciting things for you.

At lunch time my flatmate took me and the other new starter (from Poland) to the Bürgeramt (citizen's office) to anmelden (register) as citizens. We took our number (2131) and waited for it to come up on the screen. It was showing 1589. Fortunately, a few series of numbers were running in parallel so we were seen to in a mere 25 minutes. Fortunately the city of Frankfurt am Main lays on some great entertainment for its soon-to-be Bürger. After a fascinating documentary on the wildlife of Frankfurt airport, we were treated to a film about ants moving grains of sands (or, as I prefer to call them, rocks) around in the desert. After not knowing how much more excitement we could take (though a baby being sick on its mum's shoulder did break up the monotony somewhat) we were called to the desk to anmelden.

The lady took our passports and our addresses (just on trust, we did not need bank statements or anything), filled in some forms and stamped some stamps. Alongside the desks lined with stationery, the rows of uncomfortable chairs and the printed-out nameplates, the Bürgeramt was the most bureaucratic place I have ever seen. Amazing. After registering I was presented with a red folder full of information, a leaflet with a welcome from the mayor and a discount brochure for the city. Aww.

After a delicious belegtes Brot (sandwich, but more delicious) we hit the bank to set up bank accounts. As I won't make enough money for a normal account, I am now the proud owner of a young person's account at the Frankfurter Sparkasse. But I think they forgot to put my house number on the forms. I hope this is not a recurring theme.

After work it was time for a trip to the supermarket. We had to use the terrifying machines to recycle our bottles and get the Pfand (deposit) back. We made over €7 which covered the household items which needed buying. I was so tired my shopping was awful, but I now have food in the cupboard in the kitchen and Nivea shampoo and conditioner on the shelf in the bathroom.

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