2018 has started out reasonably well for me. My German is coming on leaps and bounds from almost nothing to next to nothing. For instance a sign in a local supermarket stated “Ihr Markt“. Natascha put me straight when I said that one hour was a short time for shopping in the supermarket. I now know two German words Your and Store. 🙂
Paperwork was at the forefront of getting settled in Graz, Austria. I am now certified. Yes, certified as a permanent resident of Graz. I also have a pretty e-card which gives me access to free medical treatment.
Amazingly, some more good things are about to happen during 2018.
Many of you may remember my post about being scammed by the notorious Nigerian, Bongo Bongo Banana, out of Ottawa, Canada. He pretended to be Tammy who loved me enough to try to empty my bank account.
The other day I was reading the Daily Mail online and I had a wow moment. It seems that Western Union (WU) had not been verifying the identity of many collectors of transferred money. WU has been ordered to pay back money to victims of scams. You can read about it here.
I had a big sort out of my old paperwork when leaving Spain. For some unknown reason I kept all my WU receipts and, boy, was I glad I did. I filled out the remission form with copies of all the receipts and sent them off, online.
It may take a few months and hopefully I will get back a few thousand euros. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
All Natascha and I want to do is to get married in Graz ! Simple ? Not here ! It seems that because I was divorced things become really complicated. The Registrar here wants proof that I am free to marry and there is a complicated process to go through. We went to see the Registrar clerk in this building ……..
…….. who sent us away on a quest. Going through all the British government web pages about marrying in Austria after a divorce ………
…… off we went to the local British Consulate a few minutes away from our home to make an oath and sign an affidavit saying that I was free to get married.
We took all our paperwork. Everything ! Natascha’s kitty shopping trolley was full and heavy !
We rang the doorbell. No reply. The door was open and we ventured into the darkness of the building.
We explored every floor and corridor. No British Consulate !
The stairs were so dark and dingy. Dragging the heavy kitty trolley, we expected to see Errol Flynn having a sword fight.
There were no signs pointing to the British Consulate or even warning signs about the stairs.
We gave up ! Natascha went into a store to ask where the British Consulate was located and was told it was a couple of doors up the street from where we originally looked for it. We rang the doorbell. No answer, but the door was open and in we went into the darkness.
The lift could only be worked by having a key. The spiral stairs were even worse dragging the heavy kitty trolley. Puffed out, we climbed round a corner and a couple of electricians blocked our way with all their tools and cables on the steps. They told us that the Consul was away on vacation and would not be back for at least a week. Oh boy ! Disheartened, we returned home.
Many days later, after no reply on the British Consulate door bell, we climbed the stairs dragging the heavy kitty trolley. There were no signs for the British Consulate or warnings about the stairs.
Puffed out climbing the spiral staircase, we stopped by an office where a very kind man unlocked the lift which took us directly into the British Consulate. Beautiful carpet, polished brass work, a polished picture of the Queen, a smiling receptionist and a glowering Consul greeted us. We explained why we were there. The Consul looked at us as if she had trod in something nasty and all she said was, “Go to Vienna !”. I asked her what she actually did there ? She replied by telling us that all she did was British subjects in prison, hospital or loss of passport.
I am sure that this is where she, the Consul, spent her vacation ! 🙂
When the time was right, early December 2017, 6:30 AM, a cold morning, Natascha and I boarded the bus from Graz to Vienna.
We had already arranged a meeting in the British Embassy, Vienna and we were looking forward to getting the papers which the Austrian Registrar asked for. I wasn’t really terrified when the top deck of the double-decker bus passed under low bridges. Duh !
The meeting went well. All my documents were genuine. I made the oath that I was free to get married, signed the affidavit and a waiver that the British Embassy was not to blame if any of my paperwork was not up to scratch. A notice of marriage was pinned to the notice board in the Embassy (which is totally useless as nobody can wander in there to read it as security was so tight).
We arrived home late in the evening, almost €200 out-of-pocket. The British Embassy charged over €100 for their work and the rest was for meals and travelling expenses. All this seemed to me to be completely unnecessary as I have been single for 25 years and the British government knows that anyway as I am receiving a UK single person’s state pension. Anyway, we now had to wait for the certificate from the British Embassy which was coming by registered post. It never came ! I emailed the British Embassy and was told that it was sent a few days before. Natascha went to the local post office. No registered letter ! I then emailed the British Embassy again asking for the registered letter number so that the Post Office here could trace it. A few hours later I received an ooops email from the British Embassy. It seemed that the clerk was on vacation and the document was never sent. A day later the registered letter arrived. Yay !
Oh yes, there is more ! The Graz Registrar wants all my marriage and divorce documents translated into German. Natascha is in the process of translating them as her English is perfect. Will we get married ? Is there more to the quest ? Will we come out of the wedding service gibbering idiots ? Time will tell !
The main reason why I moved from Spain to Austria was that Natascha has awful daily migraines and needs to go to the pharmacy twice a day on a bicycle to take a special concoction which blocks the migraines. Since I have been here in Graz she has had very few migraine attacks. Love seems to help her.
The cats and I watch her pedal off down the road from our window. Murli must be thinking, “Why is mummy out in the street ?”.
Sonic and Samantha love it in the apartment. Samantha never stops talking !
China Cat and Coo Coo are still wrapped up in bubble wrap in the cupboard. They never stop complaining.
Oh, Natascha has not died climbing the ladder 🙂
I really must get on and advertise my now empty apartment in Spain.
I hope so !
Ralph xox ❤