On My Stupidity. And A Miracle Gift On St. Nicholas’ Day

flurries1What does one do when one suddenly discovers that one’s Residence Permit expires on the Saturday that is only two days away? One panics. One calls oneself stupid. One smirks at one’s utter stupidity.

Thursday evening I looked at my electronic Residence Permit card and the 7.12.2013 deadline hit me like a thunderclap, in my skull. On Fridays the City Hall is open for only four hours in the morning. If a miracle doesn’t manifest within that time frame then I’d find myself an illegal alien by Sunday. Horrors.

St_NicholasI spent the late night and the early morning preparing, and producing a passport photograph using a camera that I had to hold at an arm’s length. I needed to be at the City Hall, waiting in line and nothing else, by the time it opens at 8 a.m. My quest for survival intensified my focus for the essentials. Proofs for continuous enrollment. Proof of financial support. Insurance papers. What else? Seminar attendance certificates, just in case. Check the weather forecast. What to wear? — double of everything because it’s the start of the chilly days, and snow is expected. Best to have a good breakfast to compensate for lack of sleep. And a maximum dose of vitamin supplements.

flurriesAfter 1 hour of sleep I got up and semi-fried two free-roaming-chicken’s eggs and heated the left-over rice and fish. I was so happy for the left-overs. I had the breakfast of breakfasts, this without coffee, while listening to favorite songs. On the bus ride I had the happy view of the waking day and the throng of youngsters heading for school. All that while, I was miserably hoping for a miracle.

The City Hall employee who attended me didn’t give a hint of an opinion of the stupidity that I have assigned to myself. He asked, “Did you fill up a Request for Renewal Form?” I said, “No.” He asked again, “Why?” I answered straight away, “Because I saw the deadline only yesterday.” We didn’t discuss anymore the Reminder Letter that got lost on its way to me, sent by the City Hall two months ago. santa claus chocolateHe was simply relieved that I had all the required papers with me and we could proceed with the process. As I was answering his pages and pages of questionnaires the sky suddenly sent down thick the first flurries of the season. My tiny burst of exclamation at the magical sight brought a smile and a lift of eyebrows from him. The impersonal atmosphere became warm. Ah. Thank you, Lord, for miracles.

Germany, Switzerland and Austria are celebrating St. Nicholas’ Feast today. It is prominently indicated on the calendars. Ah, thank you, Lord, for the miracle that it is a ‘working-day’ holiday. A City Hall employee with a basket was going around handing out to each of his delighted colleagues what looked to me a 15-cm tall Santa Claus chocolate. Ah, thank you, Lord, for gift-giving. What a happy day.

snowAll went well. I warmly thanked Mr. W. for helping me. He wished me a nice weekend. I was out of the building, after just 45 minutes, with a paper Temporary Residence Permit pending the processing of the electronic one. As I was panicking the night before I read on the net that I was supposed to process for the renewal as early as two months before the deadline.

LORD, thank you for the several-hours’ miracle. I will always rejoice for your miracles, but please help me to not shamelessly keep asking for them, and more importantly to be not as stupid as this in the future. Amen.

Thank you many times to the owners of the photos 🙂

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