Yesterday, Hubby and I were thrown into a big pile of BureauCRAPsy .  Without going into the details, the end result is to the tune of 3,000 Euros for something we had no knowledge of. 

Apparently, Germany passed a law back in January 2009 that residents could only have Private Medical Insurance from a German insurance company. And, if you don’t, you can be fined every month on.  HOWEVER, one said resident can only obtain private insurance only if they have been a resident for a minimum of two years.  We will only be a resident for two years next month, and last year we were not able to be on the public medical insurance system.  However, even though we DID have medical insurance and DID NOT cost the country a single red cent, we are still susceptible to a big fine because our insurance coverage was through a Canadian company. 

Yet again, it was one of those experiences where you FINALLY think you are dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s living in a foreign country, but in the end, you still get thrown on your arse.  At least the Insurance Representative that visited our home yesterday (a German) shared our pain.   After three hours of phone calls to various government representatives explaining our situation (but they DID have insurance, but they WEREN’T eligible for private insurance at the time) and me leaving the table several times returning with red eyes and a sniffling nose, he finally turned to me and asked if I wanted to move back to Canada.  To which I replied:

 “Heute, Ja.”  Today, YOU BET.

It was one of those head spinning experiences where you are beyond frustration, anger and answers. In these situations, there is only one thing to do.

Eat junk food, watch a funny film, and LAUGH.

I sent Hubby off to the grocery store for a mix of nacho chips, salsa and cheese so he could make his tasty baked nacho dish. I grabbed “Something about Mary” off the shelf, and into distraction we fell.

The other alternative, which I thought about today after waking up STILL feeling angry, frustrated and without answers, is to apply the 10/10/10 rule that someone brilliantly thought up.  When faced with a difficult decision think about how it will affect you 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now.  Now, in my case, it wasn’t a decision I had to make but rather a reality I have to deal with, but I think the rule can also apply.  With what happened yesterday, 10 months from now it will likely be “water under the bridge”. Maybe not 10 DAYS from now, but certainly 10 months.    10 years?  Who knows where I’ll even be living, but I doubt I will care about what happened yesterday. 

Now for the sweet that comes after bitter.  After not receiving my results from my big German test I wrote (and spoke) last December, and finding out from a class friend that the school called two weeks ago to inform her that her results were in, I called the school to find out if mine were there too.   Prior to making the call, of course, I immediately assumed that the reason they didn’t call me was because I FAILED.  (Forgetting, of course, that I moved and changed phone numbers and didn’t give them my new one).  The nice woman I spoke to immediately recognized who I was (likely the ONLY one left from the course who hadn’t picked up their results) and said I could come by that afternoon after 2pm to pick them up.

After I arrived and showed my passport, she retrieved my folder with the results, looked at me with a serious face, and quietly said:

 “B1 in Alles”.  “Congratulations!”  (B1 is the highest level in this type of German testing that one can receive).

I actually got 88% on my exam!  I obtained the certificate I needed to extend my “Permission to Stay” for another year! I apparently can speak, write, read, and understand enough German to function in society! I have been anxiously awaiting these results for 8 weeks; so perhaps, the timing was perfect after yesterday’s set back.

Bittersüß.  Bittersweet.

And, in 10 years from now, I will still remember how great it felt to pick up these test results.

2 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. Hi Heather, Thanks for the update. I’m glad you had the sweet to offset the bitter!!! You certainly have a healthy approach to dealing with those frustrating issues (I’ll bet Ralph’s Nachos are the BEST) and congratulations on achieving such high results on your German test. Machst gut!!!


  2. you just need to to put that knowledge into everyday use and you will surprise yourself….you have a good and solid language base …now you just need to start speaking and the floodgates will’s like that with languages… and as far as the insurance goes..that’s absurd! you do not qualify for it so, none of those stiff German bureaucrats would have sold it to you but they would fine you? I mean even Germans must see this is plain stupid!


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