Friday, October 02, 2009

Tilting with Windmills...

I swear Don Quixote had better success than I'm having at the moment.

Here's a question for you all - how many caseworkers can one foreigner have? Answer: I don't know, they keep popping out of the woodwork!!

The story so far: I needed to take time off of Danish, but I know I can't just stop coming, because it's part of my contract with the Danish government. So I first talk to my teacher, who sends me to Lisbet. Lisbet officially enters that I'm taking time off. She then tells me to contact my caseworker. Fine, dandy, I have a letter from my caseworker, Pia, so I have a name. I contact Pia, who tells me to contact Maja. Meanwhile I get another letter saying that my caseworker JULIE is on vacation and so Jane is now contacting me wanting to tell me that I am seriously endangering my chances of staying in Denmark because I've missed so much Danish.

Here's the REALLY funny thing - Lisbet, Pia, Maja, Julie, and Jane all have offices IN THE SAME BUILDING ON THE SAME FLOOR. Right next to each other and probably share offices in some cases.

Not that they ever see each other, because as far as I can tell, Pia's only in the office on Wed. from 3-5, Lisbet is only in the office from 8-12 m-f, Julie is on vacation and Maja may not exist, since I can't find her email anywhere.

Finding someone's email or any information about anyone is practically impossible because all letters to me and all information on the website is IN DANISH. This is the kommune's foreign resident department. The ENTIRE purpose of this department is to help integrate foreigners. Who can't bloody well use the damn department because they can't freakin' understand what's going on and who can't read the letters that are sent and who can't figure out what they're supposed to do about it because the web-site is in DANISH! Hell, my first caseworker barely spoke English. I was lucky to have my husband there to translate. Now he's not here, and while my reading Danish is considerably better, I still can't figure out what the hell's going on or who I'm supposed to see because I'm getting passed from caseworker to caseworker like a hot potato.

I'm leaving the country in less than a month and I can't guarantee everything is okay because I keep getting the run around!! And I'm sick of talking to people on the phone or in corridors because then I have no paper trail. I really need a paper trail at this point. I do not have a work contract or a visa for Qatar, I still haven't gotten my visa renewal from Denmark, and I have no proof that I've gotten permission from Danish school that I've taken time off, even though I was told I would get it.

Monday was supposed to be my fun free day... and perhaps it still will be, but I'm going to have to get up early to go over to the offices of evil and stomp around until I can get people to print out things that I can take to other people and MAYBE show that really, I have taken time off Danish and it's been PAUSED!

Jesus f*cking Christ on a g*dd*mned candlestick.


  1. Anonymous7:58 PM


    Holy bureaucracy, Batman! Wtf?! What fuck ups. Seriously, if you have trouble with this, like, your permission to skip class falls through, because you, you know, GOT A JOB, contact Olav Hergel from Politiken. He does cases like this. And it usually helps.

  2. Dude, that's hella screwed. Can you test out of Danish? I know Norwegian and Danish systems are different, but is there no other way to go? Just the fact that you're working should be adequate excuse, but of course you need a waver.

    Sverre wants to know if you can get residency based on your education/profession? There can't be that many Danish archeologists. Are there exceptions if your skills are something that Denmark has an interest in? Seriously, if you're planning on living there, paying into their system, and teaching in their schools there may be loopholes worth looking into. This exists in the Norwegian system, and I'm wondering if you have the same options.

    You may have to bark up higher trees. It seems the front-line caseworkers in any bureaucratic system are trained to handle the common line--what are your rights as a person with a profession that takes you beyond the common line? If you know your rights, you may be able to work the system. Be firm. You effing rock, so you should be able to do this.

  3. WTF! Cant offer any help, but I will open my windows and shout WTF out loud.

  4. Ah - red tape! So darn annoying. Why not go to the offices and try and sort it out? Might be the quickest way.

  5. Ugh. Good luck at the offices. Time's like this, you need to play the ugly American and just bug them and bug them until they bend.

  6. @ Jennie: I will keep that in mind!

    @ many: I'm am marching myself into the office Monday morning. Of course by the time I got the letter Friday, everyone had gone home. But I think I should be able to get most people Monday morning between 9:30 and 11:30 - I hope.

    @ Corinne: There are oodles of archaeologists in Denmark. Hundreds applied for the 30 odd jobs that opened in Copenhagen. And I'm a classical archaeologist, not even a prehistoric European arky, so I'm way down on the list of people they'd hire. :-( And I've already got residency based on my marriage. It's keeping that residency based on the "conditions" that were set by the government that's the issue. I could test out... if I knew enough Danish! I don't, I am only at modul 3 of the 5 that one needs. It sounds like I'm bloody close, but really I'm nowhere NEAR the level one needs to be for the official test. I'd go to class, except I'm leaving for five months in a few weeks and I have stuff I need to get done with before then. I'm not asking to quit Danish forever.... just take time off. And I have permission from the "left hand" but the "right hand" has no freaking clue what's going on, despite me being told that the left hand would communicate with the right.

    I hate bureaucracy! I'll tell you how it went on Monday!

  7. What I always do with sh*tty bureaucratic organisations is only write letters. Just letters. No phone calls, no personal calls... Just lots and lots of dated letters.

    It is amazing how well things get sorted as soon as they realise there is a hell of a paper trail backing up.

  8. Good luck. Yes, bureaucracy. I'm coming to the conclusion that that's really all that's wrong with Denmark. Apart from being small. Everything stems from effing systems. God, how I hate systems.

    SEriously, it's a huge philosophical difference between the Anglo/American tradition of individual conceived of as needing protection from the state, and the continental European tradition of putting nation and group first, and screw the poor little unworthy individual.

    Good luck. Just write those letters - Kel's right. Just amass lots of copies, or printed-out copy emails.


Keep it clean, don't be mean....