February 18, 2004

Dinner and Some Paperwork

Last night we were very adventurous and went out for dinner -- all the way to the ground floor of our apartment building. I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but only the top floor of our building is apartments; the middle floors house various businesses, and the ground floor is Valentino's, a restaurant/nightclub.

The nightclub is only open on the weekends (it's not particularly loud, but you know it's there because you can hear a muted techno beat coming from somewhere down below); the restaurant is open on the nights when the nightclub is not.

We were the only people there for almost all of our dinner, which got us an inordinate amount of attention from the staff. The waiter sussed out the fact that we were English-speakers early on, and dealt with us (more or less) in English for the rest of the meal, all the while apologizing(!) for his English ability. The food was very good; we had some Merlot with dinner (the cheap bottle, which turned out to be a Robert Mondavi product from California!) and a cheese plate to die for as dessert. It was too expensive to become a regular thing, but good enough that we'll definitely be back, and a nice splurge after living like monks while waiting for my next paycheck to come in (the need to pay the deposit for our current apartment, coupled with the ongoing failure to get back the deposit from our previous rental, had caused a bit of a liquidity crisis ...)

This morning we went to the complex of municipal offices for Hamburg-Mitte and registered Shelby as a resident of Valentinskamp 40. This is the first step in getting her a set of giant visa stickers in her passport, to match the ones I already have. It was pretty painless, although I think that Shelby found the whole process more scary/intimidating than I did.

The bureaucrat behind the desk was very typical of German government employees I've dealt with before -- someone who managed to be helpful and brusque at the same time. I started things off on the wrong foot by making a foolish error and filling out the wrong form, but that was quickly rectified. There were also some squabbles about differences between the names we'd filled out on the form, the names in Shelby's passport, and German-vs.-American custom for married names -- was Shelby's first name really "Shelby", or was it "Shelby Lynn"? Was her last name really "Hogan", or "Rosiak Hogan"? I let the bureaucrat win in his preference for "Shelby Lynn", but I was able to talk him down into letting Shelby's last name be nur (only) Hogan. In about a half-hour, we walked out with a Meldebestätigung (proof of registration) showing that we both lived at Valentinskamp 40.

Posted by Kevin at February 18, 2004 01:00 PM