Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Praise delicious cheeses! I have an ID card now!

As I was lamenting earlier,

I did not have the necessary ID card yet because I was not yet entered in the system. I called the office daily since Monday to ask them if I were in the system. It was starting to be silly. The guy manning the phone would say that he wasn't available to see if I was in the system, please call back in 13 minutes. I'd give him an extra minute and he'd say to call back at the end of the day.

I finally had GREAT SUCCESS with the call today and my sponsor took me to the base to get the ID. We waited an hour, which was not at all bad; I've heard that people have waited 3 hours or more and even missed getting their ID because the office closed before their wait was up. It only took about 10 minutes and the staff person made my ID immediately.

I then had to get the ID activated in the next room. After that, we had to get the SOFA card for my passport, which acts basically like a visa to allow me to live here, except that I don't have to get a visa. It should also keep me from avoiding having to get my passport stamped after each time that I return to Germany after leaving.

Of course, nothing is very easy/simple here, so we couldn't go immediately to get the SOFA card because their office was closed for lunch. We waited until after lunch then waited about another hour in line. The SOFA card took about 5 minutes once I was in the office for my appointment.

So, it took the majority of the day to get my ID card and SOFA stamp, but I'm starting to feel as if I'm existing as a "real" person in the eyes of the bases now because I can enter the base on my own, buy food at the commissary, and begin the process to have computer access for work. Thank goodness.

For those who are moving here, be sure to get your ID card as soon as possible. Keep pestering people to see if you're in the system yet.

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