A slight change of plans last week (this week still actually as I am writing this Sunday evening) meant that I didnt have time to post a Friday theme on the right day… One could say that it was due to a certain hysteria 😉 which coincidentally was the theme for Friday, chosen by Bejla. Her Show & Tell themes for May are:
14/5: When I was a child…
21/5: Hidden in my wardrobe…
28/5: Summer plans
So, what happened last week? Well, it wasn’t hysteria as it is defined by Dictionary.com (Definition No 1: an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc.) but rather several almost hysterical (synonyms: in a panic, agitated, carried away, excited) events happening at the same time:
- We made an offer on a house – the house I showed in the blog post from last Monday that we thought we wouldn’t like! The house offer process was a little hysterical as O had to prepare the legal document with all our conditions in French. With the help of some kind colleagues and our relocation company (!) we now have a great model. Also, the fax machine of the real estate agent was not working properly so it took two days to submit the offer, which of course made us a little agitated but fortunately O never does anything in a panic!
- I was told that there was an job opening as an “interimaire” (interim / temp) in an European Commission agency and had to register with a temp agency in a hurry.
However, in order to make an offer on a house and register with the temp agency, we first had to become Belgian residents! We had not been able to register at the commune (municipality) before since we had been living in hotels and with friends, but since last weekend we have a more permanent address which allowed us to register. It was a bit of a panic on Thursday morning when O realised that he didn’t have his employment contract and had to rush to the office to get a letter from the HR manager saying that he is a Belgian employee as it was needed for registering.
Registering a new address in Belgium is not entirely straight-forward, regardless of whether you are a Belgian or a foreigner and it includes several visits to the town hall. We have now a new appointment for the first week of June, but at least we have proof of having started the process and we have “recovered” our old national numbers (personnummer in Sweden). We will eventually get our new Belgian identity cards which will make our lives much easier in Belgium.
Registering with the temp agency was quite straight-forward, hallelujah for the European Union and free movement of workers! 🙂 No work permits to be applied for, just show your passport proving that you are an European citizen (and that you are registered in Belgium, which I don’t think is entirely necessary but probably makes it easier!).
All of these steps were accomplished on Thursday morning, including the second fax to the real estate agent (which finally had to be re-sent on Friday morning).
Friday morning I became a working girl after having been a desperate (?) housewife since mid-October 2007! My post is as an administrative assistant for a small Commission [agency] project on research for reducing the environmental impact of the aviation industry. The contract is only until Midsummer (24th June) but it gives me some time to get into the swing of working again, and hopefully I will be able to find a more permanent job soon.
My first day was quite hysterical as well as I was confused with somebody else and ended up sitting in front of a German man who was asking me questions about a project I had no idea about. You can imagine that I was frantically thinking if I had missed something when reading on “my” project’s web-site. I was in the wrong office (not my fault!) on the 18th floor instead of the 14th and nobody had heard of my contact person!! I was panicking a little bit but eventually I found my way to the right place in the big building*. It turned out that my boss had been delayed on her way to the office, which was why she didn’t answer my frantic phone calls, and the secretary had thought that I was to show up at 9.30 instead of 10 o’clock.
After that first hick-up, the first day went well, the colleagues were welcoming and I was very happy to be back in the EU world. I worked for less than 6 hours the first day and this following week I am only working 2 days (since we are off to Sweden on Wednesday for Ascension) so a soft start to get into the habit of working again.
Oh, and the house? Well, the offer wasn’t accepted since somebody bid 10 000 EUR higher than us and we chose to not top that (which was the initial asking price). Nevertheless, we are optimistic that we will soon find our “first place” and as O said; we are not “virgins” anymore when it comes to making offers! (HGTV jargon: there are several programmes about “property virgins” and “My first place”…)
So that was my “interpretation” of hysteria, lots of potential and actual changes happening quickly in our lives and even if we didn’t end up buying a house, at least I am working again! (and I have handed in my notice as the household ironer – O will have to iron his own shirts from now on 😀 )
The other Friday theme participants writing about hysteria: Anki, Anna, Anne, Anne-Marie, Annika, Bejla, Desiree, Erica, Helena, IamAnnika, IngaBritt, Jenny, Mais-oui, Mrs Clapper, Musikanta, Nilla, Olgakatt, Petra H, Pettas, Saltis, Strandmamman, Sunflake and Taina.
*) It reminds me of my first day at the European Commission in June 2002 when I couldn’t find my way out of the building at the end of the day… It turned out that the exit was on level 5 in the elevator!