While I was getting things together for a possible trip to Berlin, I called the US embassy just to double check my paperwork. The last thing on earth I wanted was to get all the way to Berlin and wait for hours only to be told I had forgotten something and to come back again. The man on the phone was very helpful and I checked everything off my list.
"Where are you calling from?"
"Wildeshausen. It's near Bremen."
"Oh, then go to the consulate there! You don't have to come to Berlin."
Just to be on the safe side, I sent an email to Bremen. Seriously, some of these bureaucratic offices have no idea what the other one is doing. Turns out that the guy in Berlin was correct. Now although I would have loved to meet Dr J and Snook for coffee, I was most definitely taking the easy way out.
On a Tuesday morning we packed up the Dude, climbed into the car and headed into the big city. Finding the consulate was no problem. The building was a bit of a labyrinth and when we reached the correct door, my heart started to race. An actual bit of America right here in Germany! Imagine my surprise when a police officer opened the door and told us where to wait.
Of course there should be police protection at the consulate. You never know what a target these things can be. However, I could not help but wonder if the US government pays for those Bremen city cops to sit there all day.
We had to wait about 2 hours before our turn. I did not mind so much. I chatted with a woman next to me and was very excited to find back issues of the New Yorker on the end table. When it was finally our turn, everything went smoothly. Despite my best efforts we did not have the correct paper work. We were missing the "Abstammungurkunde." Silly me, I thought that the birth certificate was enough. Luckily the very nice woman told us to just mail it in. After swearing that the Dude was indeed our child and that all the documentation was real, we signed the papers and paid 110 Euro. Now, in a few more weeks, the Dude will get his first documentation from the US government that he exists. I am so proud of my little boy.
I am headed to the garden this weekend. I hate it, but the weeds have taken over and I must face the inevitable. Before I go, a little more Baby Zen for the Weekend. As you can see below, the Dude is a budding blogger. Actually, when he gets fussy, I pull up old Muppet videos on Youtube.com and he calms down. Although an effective technique, the "Manamana Song" is now forever stuck in my head!