Finally, a bank account

I overheard that Belgium is one of the most bureaucratic countries in Europe but I guess I could only believe after having gone through the system myself.

It took me 6 visits to different institutions to be able to open a checking account to receive my scholarship. Good heavens! I suspect that they are closing off the banks as one of the efforts to make the lives of illegal immigrants more difficult, but I feel like they are taking the wrong approach.

For one: if you come to Belgium on a student visa (or mostly any long stay visa) you have to register with the Commune (city office) and get a Permis de Sejour (permit to stay). They must believe that will help keeping track of the people who come live here. Sweet delusion. Most of the people "without papers" (as they say) simply ignore that rule and never show up to register.

Well, when you do have papers and go to register, they are not very friendly or smiley to start with. Then, after you registered and gave them your address, the police comes to your house to see what's up...

The police!

I find that really weird, I don't know if it's because of all of the years I have been living in the Freedom-loving North America, but doesn't that sound to you like spying on your life?

Well, it's the rules of the country so I better follow them. I am eagerly waiting for a phone call from the police officer telling me when they are gonna come. I hope they are nicer then the guy at the Commune where I had to register. I think he has a chronic constipation problem... it must be it :-)


Môca disse…
Tomara que a polícia de Bruxelas não seja igual a de São Paulo! rs
Tatiana Machado disse…
lol You'd better hide anything suspicious! lol
That's so weird to have the police paying you a visit! What can you offer them? Some tea? I bet they would feel very welcome then :) Miss you, outgoing sisterly-friend!
Mirian disse…
E ai? Como foi a visita da policia? Revistaram o ape inteirinho? E muita falta do que fazer, ne? Fala serio!

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