a true expat experience

so, after living in germany for 2.5 years, i can say that i have lived a true expat experience. not my first, but one that really threw me for a loop.

so i was looking into getting my german license, and it turns out that texas has a reciprocal program with germany (yay!) so i can just go and get my license for a small fee and be permitted to drive here (not that i will any time soon). but that is where the positive aspects ended.

it turns out that you have to change the license within 3 years of being in germany, that leaves roughly 5 months…manageable. however, my texas license already has my married name, and all forms of identification in germany still have only my maiden name…ugh! i was hoping to avoid having to renew my passport, etc. until it expired…turns out it can’t wait.

so i had to make an appointment at the american consulate in frankfurt (roughly 2 hour drive away) in order to get a new passport with my “new” name. normally this would be easy, mail it in. however, since it is a name change and i need it back fairly quickly (we will be, hopefully, going to the netherlands for a day in september), i decided to go in person and make sure everything is done properly.

step 1) make the appointment, 7:45 am on a monday morning (ugh!).

step 2) book the train, departure 4:15 am, arrival 6:45 am, then take the subway…make sure to be back in time for work!

step 3) fill out the documents, easiest step!

step 4) realize on saturday afternoon that american passports have specific requirements for pictures, rush to the city and get new pictures taken.

step 5) the journey!

i was trying to be as optimistic about the last step as possible, but it was hard. what with the 3 hour train ride there and the fact that no electronic devices are allowed on the premises of the consulate (read: no mobile phones). they recommend to leave them outside in your car, or with a friend…but for those travelling alone by train that means leave them at home! it turned out ok, but would’ve made life a lot easier if i had my phone with me…turns out, the process went quicker than i was expecting, i was finished by 8:45…my return train was booked for 1:45pm…that meant either waiting at the station for 5 hours, or booking a last minute train back home. i went with option 2, obviously! at that point i didn’t care about the extra cost, i just wanted to go back to bed!

step 6) wait for my new passport with my new name and continue the process of changing my name on every official document. this could be a long process, i wish there was a company that could do all of this for you…or am i just lazy?!

i love living in germany, and being an expat…but situations like these cause so much stress that i wish they could be avoided in general…but i guess life isn’t about being easy, need to stay on your toes! but on the bright side, i won’t need a new passport for 10 more years, so we can avoid this situation for 10 more years 😉

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