Andy completed his registration paperwork when he came to Basel after Thanksgiving, but he wasn’t able to file the paperwork for Genevieve and me. This morning, we headed to the registration office to take care of that.
Andy went into work for a while and then came back to the apartment so we could all head to the office together. We walked to SBB (the train station) and caught the 11 tram to Marktplatz and then walked up to the registration office.
This office is like the DMV if the DMV were always bright, clean, and the employees were friendly. Upon entering the building, you are issued a number depending on which service you need and then you wait for your number to be called to a window. We got #13 and had barely sat down when our number was called. Andy pulled out his residency card and the forms he had been issued for us, but then the lady asked for my application, our marriage certificate, and G’s birth certificate. I definitely hadn’t completed an application and our certificates were back in the apartment in our lock box. Oops. I got a copy of the paperwork I needed to complete and then we headed back home so I could fill it out and get all the supporting documents.
One major difference (I believe) between Switzerland and the US is what they would take as documentation of our marriage. She first said our marriage certificate (which I knew I had at home), but she also added that we could use a “family book” showing our marriage. We kind of looked at her questioningly about that, and she repeated “family book” and made gestures that Andy and I both took to indicate a family tree. I am pretty certain that the US wouldn’t accept a family tree as official documentation of our marriage!
We got back to the apartment and I set about filling out my application. “What’s the difference between my given name and my first name?” I asked Andy.
“I’m not sure,” he said, “I think I just put down ‘Andrew Steven’ for both.”
OK. I can do that. I’m guessing this is one of those things where it just doesn’t translate exactly the way you would think.
I finished everything up (including certifying that I don’t have a criminal record), gathered our certificates, grabbed a snack for G, and we headed back to the tram.
We got back to the registration office and got #30; not too shabby! We were called pretty quickly to Fenster B where a gentleman checked that we had all the documents we needed and told us to wait for our number to be called again.
A short while later, we were called to Kabine N where copies of all our documents were made and G and I had to get our pictures taken. They also scanned my finger prints and I had to give my digital signature, which looks just as horrible in Switzerland as it does in the US. I hate those digital signature pads!
When all was said and done, we were probably only there for a half-hour. Super quick and relatively easy. I’m so glad that they spoke good English there, although I did make sure to say “danke” and “bitte.” I’m trying to integrate some German into my vocabulary where I can, and hope to continue adding more and more words that I’m confident in.
We hopped back on the tram and G and I got off at SBB; Andy rode it for one more stop, which drops him right outside his office. Since G had been such a good helper while we were at the registration office, I treated her to McDonald’s for lunch.
Unlike our trip to McDonald’s in October, I managed to get my Royal with Cheese (or Cheeseburger Royal, as they call it here).
Now that our registration is taken care of, we can open a bank account and then work on getting a Swiss cell phone for me. Hopefully Andy’s work phone will arrive soon, too! We can also officially sign up for Swiss health insurance and sign a lease ourselves now. I had joked that I just wasn’t going to complete my registration and would move back to the States, but I guess there’s no turning back now!