Thursday, October 05, 2006

Glory to God!

We got our residence permits! I still can't believe it. I was really beginning to doubt it would ever happen -- at least for Pelagia. We are the first Americans we know who have been able to get a residence permit for the wife of a seminarian. All others have just lived here illegally and hoped no one caught them. At a couple points, I thought about giving up. The bureaucrat we had was unbelievable. Her main concern was Pelagia's bank statement and her medical insurance. The American bank statement was acceptable after she sent me to our Greek bank to get an official statement from the bank manager stating that their Greek bank "could accept money from an American bank." Yes, I kid you not -- we have a statement saying that. The idea that money can come electronically from America is inconceivable here. I tried to explain that's what banks do -- they take money from other banks, they hold it for you, and then they give it to you when you ask for it. But only this signed, stamped official letter would convince her.

The next hurdle was our medical insurance. My problem was solved when I got my paperwork through at the university, which then issued me state health insurance. Pelagia's, however, was a problem. Again, she couldn't conceive that the international travel medical insurance we bought from an American company could possibly cover Greece, because "how will they get the money here?" Yes, again, I kid you not. We went back and forth on this for a couple weeks. Ultimately, she rejected the insurance because "It has too many words. No one wants to read this." In typical American fashion, the insurance coverage couldn't just say "You are covered in case of an emergency." It has 50 pages of legalese specifying their legal limitations for coverage. That is one thing that is SO refreshing over here. I hadn't realized how litigious American society is!

Finally, I gave up and realized we would have to buy Greek medical insurance for Pelagia. The travel insurance we got was pretty terrible anyway -- it covered things like "emergency evacuation in case of a coup." Really. And it ended this month, too. The only reason we bought that thing was to appease the Greek bureaucrats in America. Oh brother.

Well, it's over! We're in! We have medical insurance, and we're enrolled at the school! We went this morning to the School of Modern Greek to take our placement exams, and classes will probably start next week. Of course, there is more paperwork for this school, and for the scholarships I'm applying for, and etc etc etc, but at least we can celebrate this victory for now!

Now I can get on with the rest of my life, and perhaps I will finally have time to write about our trip to Constantinople! Stay tuned...

1 comment:

RM said...

I am happy for you! May the rest of your stay be smooth sailing. I'll be there soon, God willing.