An administrative day with a new haircut & colour

31 08 2007

Today I have the day off, I can’t remember ever taking a day off to “just” stay in Brussels and not do anything “special”. However, I did have a lot of things to do: at 9 o’clock I went to the doctor (Dr Hellgren – he’s not Swedish but his grandfather was!) for my 2nd hepatities vaccination (3rd one in 5 months), then I had breakfast with my new Austrian flatmate T.

It’s not easy when you are new in a country to figure out banking, insurance etc on your own and maybe in a language that you don’t fully command so I had offered to help T. We walked to the bank (ING, it used to be called BBL when I moved to Brussels and I was so proud of the fact that I still had the green BBL bank card until a few months ago – it was the proof that I was a veteran in Brussels!) as I had some bank errands too; getting the document that my landlord needs to sign to release the guarantee for the apartment (800 €), cancel the home insurance and ask for internet banking so that I can access my bank account when in Puerto Rico. T got an appointment with an English-speaking banker for Monday so that he can get a bank account, credit card, insurance (the banks provide home insurance, very practical) and block the guarantee for the apartment (it’s blocked in an interest-bearing account in your name and can only be released with the signature of your landlord).

When I arrived in Brussels in June 2002, I had to do all the administrative errands on my own and even though I spoke French, I felt a little lost. I remember sitting in the bank signing paper after paper, not really understanding what it was all about. Nobody asked me if I wanted the documents in English and I was very surprised when I noticed a few years later that a lot of people even have their bank details in English when they use the ATM’s! Oh well, I guess that I always felt that I should make the effort to speak French and not English but how much easier it would have been!

We walked around in the neighbourhood and I showed T where the municipality is – he needs to go there next week and register. He will get a temporary ID, and then once the police has been to check that his name is on the door and maybe even a check in the apartment that he really lives here, he will have to go to the police station – show the lease contract (which he will already have shown to the municipality), they will ask him stupid questions that they could learn from reading the contract… and then he has to go back to the municipality and he will get a beautiful Belgian ID (for foreign nationals) valid for five years (hoorray for the EU!). I’m being a little sarcastic, the ID is not beautiful – it’s approximately two sizes bigger than a credit card so it doesn’t fit in your wallet (and you are supposed to always carry it with you, which I don’t – I have my Swedish driver’s license…) and looks like my mother’s first driver’s license from 1969! It’s not even plastified (is that a word?), and the photo has been stapled to the card with a 1960’s system of making holes with some kind of a stapler! Oh, and the text is TYPED, not written on a computer…

We also managed to transfer my phonenumber for the landline to his name so he doesn’t have to pay an extra fee, and discussed the internet price. Belgacom, the Belgian national phone company, offers ADSL for 42 € a month (first three months for free though), which T thought was expensive but I have spoken to a few friends and they say that internet is expensive in Belgium in general. O’s company has been paying for our internet and it’s over tomorrow😦 so this might be my last posting in a few days until I move to my friend’s place on Tuesday.

Our little walk was finished off at the best pita-place in town (according to O, P & A, they should know – they are guys after all!) (in Belgium you don’t talk about kebab, you talk about pita which for me is just the bread but oh well!). I had a falafel with Andalouse sauce (a Belgian classic for your frites) yummy – and T had his first Belgian pita! This afternoon I have been to my favourite hairdresser for the monthly colouring of the roots and a haircut. Quite a productive day!

Tonight we might head to Place Luxembourg for a drink or two. Tomorrow we need to go down in the creepy, dark and dusty basement to read the meters for the water, gas and electricity and the landlord will come to sign the contract with T and then I’m officially without a rent for the next 15 months or so – can’t say that I complain!!


Actions

Information

13 responses

31 08 2007
Julien

Est ce que ta nouvelle coupe et l’arrivée de T sont liées?😉

Bon courage pour toutes tes procédures administratives, il est difficile de quitter l’Europe, non?

Bises

31 08 2007
desvon

Gulligt och omtänksamt av dig att ta hand om din vän så han får en bra start och hjälp med en hel del. Sådant uppskattar man mycket då man är ny. Ha en skön helg.

31 08 2007
petchie

Julien, ha ha, je ne crois pas! Mais c’est évident qu’il faut être belle avec un co-loc autrichien!

31 08 2007
petchie

Desiree, jag vet ju själv hur förvirrad och vilse jag var i början… inte kul så när jag ändå själv skulle fixa lite grejor så slog vi två flugor i en smäll!
Ha en trevlig långhelg borta i Alabama!

31 08 2007
Anne

Vad snäll du är, verkligen omtänksamt av dig att ta hand om honom.
Det där med att gå ut och ta några drinkar låter trevligt, hoppas det blir/blev en trevlig kväll.
Ser fram emot nya inlägg när du får möjlighet skriva igen.

1 09 2007
Monica

Tänka sig viken glidarstart för din kompis…så mycket klappat och klart, plus alla ovärderliga tips dessutom.

Det är ju så mycket att tänka på i början när man kommer till ett nytt land. Allt ifrån bank, försäkringar till vilket smör som faktiskt smakar bra. Din kompis borde verkligen ta notan ikväll🙂

Kul att läsa lite franska här också🙂. Det var inte igår, skulle behöva damma av de kunskaperna eftersom jag varken pratat, läst eller skrivit franska på mååånga år!🙂

1 09 2007
Anne-Marie

Vilken bra start din vän får. Du är snäll du. Visst är det lätt att känna sig bortkommen när man kommer till ett nytt land. Det har vi ju alla gjort. Trevlig helg!

1 09 2007
Annika

Jättesnällt av dig att hjälpa din kompis! Man vet ju själv hur LOST man var i början i främmande land. Det tar tid att lära sig ngt så enkelt som att gå till banken, posten etc.
Ha en jättefin helg!!

1 09 2007
petchie

Internet funkar fortfarande!! Vet inte vem som betalar dock, inte är det jag och Os företag skulle ju sluta från och med igår!?
Anne, ja det blev en väldigt trevlig kväll igår, vi var igen på Plc Luxembourg som förra fredagen och vi var tom på Ralph’s – lite kul ibland att se på nära håll hur folk poserar och försöker se coola ut.
Monica, vad kul att du gillade att läsa lite franska – det är inte så ofta jag får franska kommentarer men det är roligt när de kommer.
Anne-Marie, man vet ju hur det känns att vara ny så det är ju bara att hjälpa till så gott det går.
Trevlig Labour weekend-helg till er alla!

1 09 2007
petchie

Annika, visst är det jobbigt i början när man inte fattar hur man ska göra de enklaste grejerna… jag kommer ihåg hur jag försökte förklara för banktjänstemannen att jag inte ville ha ett kreditkort men ett betalkort med VISA, vilket verkar bara finnas i Sverige?? Jag var livrädd för att ha ett kreditkort, i Sverige har man ju för det mesta bara VISA-betalkort… Var rädd för att hamna i ngnslags kreditfälla. Men det har funkat bra än så länge🙂

1 09 2007
David

“Plastified” heter det väl ändå inte? Laminated?🙂

1 09 2007
petchie

Ha ha, ok, laminated, du har rätt! Mr Språkpolis..

10 11 2009
Pillows – a gender or cultural divide? « Petchie’s adventures

[…] – it really should be masteroni after graduation but the Italian diminutive just stuck.. **) Austrian T was the one who took over my apartment in Brussels when I moved to Puerto Rico – but he has since then moved back to Vienna. Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: