Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prisoner of Belgium Diaries

Day 1 - Spent ages at the Stad de Ville applying for residency card only to be told that I cannot leave the country on the type of visas that we are getting. Husband is free as a bird. Me, not so much. (Since we didn't have regular visas upon entering the country as we only were meant to be here for three months and didn't need them, we are applying for a different type. And apparently, a pretty shitty type.) So here I am. And evidently, here I'll stay.

Day 2 - Am terrified. For my shitty visa, I must have a medical exam by a local practice. They will take my blood and xray my thorax. I don't even know where my thorax is. And I plan to steal my blood back when they're not looking. I fear this could be a disguised kidney harvesting outfit. Or potentially a sex trade middleman. Either way, I will not take off my clothes for any reason. Just let them try to pry my Marc Jacobs bag out of my cold, dead kung fu grip. I imagine they are also planning to micro-chip me like the UK did my cats. Husband tells me he doubts they are that technologically sophisticated and will probably tattoo a barcode on my forehead instead. Wonder if I can get botox at the same time since the needles will already be out and poised in the general vicinity of my worst wrinkles. (But I will cut a bitch who tries to take my vital organs.)

Day 3 - My sources on the outside have spoken with Belgian immigration specialists and tell me the situation may not be as dire as once thought. Evidently, though I am technically not supposed to leave the country, if I did technically leave the country I could not be refused re-entry at the border by law. Don't know why this is but I'll not question it. Their loose immigration procedures are not my business. Freedom may very well be mine.

Day 4 - I'm busting out. Husband will pick me up curbside in an unmarked car and head for the border. Luxembourg by nightfall.


Sara said...

i was on a visa where i couldnt leave the country in france until i got this special card, i left the country. a lot. like everyday a lot.

as for the x-ray, i also had that, in a kind of grubby trailer that had an xray in it. where i had to remove my sports bra to have the x-ray, because you know xrays cant go through fabric? this was in the early days of life in france and i had not yet adjusted to the idea of nudity in a health care setting and it was a bit disturbing. i dont say this to be mean, just to give you a heads up.

Heather said...

Oh Sara - I'm all too familiar now. I actually already had my exam and left crying. I'm totally *that American* because I kept saying "But, we don't do this in the US." "We don't get naked for this in the US." "We get cover-ups in the US."

I felt violated. Ugh.

Alice said...

OMG! They made you get naked?? (I'm sure you're lovely naked) - but I would hyperventilate. I totally believe in the cover ups. People kept telling me once I had a baby I would lose all modesty...and you know what? I was politely draped and covered through the whole procedure. For all I know, my child came out of my knee.
Sorry for the horrible experience. Although your recap did make me laugh.

Heather said...

Alice - thank you for that. I can now tell myself that babies *can* come out of one's knee. That might be the only thing that will convince me to ever have one.

Alexandra Taylor said...

I wish I had read your post earlier!
You're right the visa system sucks and the medical exams suck, but if you don't like the practitioner you went to I can highly recommend Doctors Robeets and Deschamps at 13 rue de Spa (close to Schuman), tel: 02 230 45 56. It's a cabinet run by two young female doctors who are absolutely excellent and who speak perfect English.

Heather said...

Thanks for that Alexandra...but honestly, we're only going to be here a few more weeks. I just had to go through the motions of the visa process because my 90 days is up, well - as of today actually. So even though we're leaving in probably like 5 weeks, I still am having to go through the whole thing. SUCKS.