So this redneck and Central European Jew get married…
Patrice and I will spend the spring, summer and fall in Germany. We will require a long-term visa. Patrice anticipates the outcome darkly; I optimistically.
European Union visa rules interpret ‘foreigner’ with national, state and local variation. The European Union rule is thus:
As a result of Regulation 265/2010 it is now possible for anyone in possession of a national visa (D visa) and a valid travel document to move freely in the Schengen area up to three months in any six‑month period.
This rule applies to Americans and a long list of other nationalities. We plan to stay six months; thus, we require a long stay visa.
Furthermore, citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America may obtain any residence permit that may be required after entering Germany.
This means we apply when we get to Germany. I am American born and raised, career military and of Scots-Irish heritage. I see the world thus: I am the equal of any man; a task worth my time and/or energy will happen; bureaucrats want to help; the natives are friendly. Others of my kin might formulate an additional sentence thusly; If not, I regret their mental illness, wish them a speedy recovery, but in the meantime, don’t even f..k with me. There, everybody happy now?, but not me.
Patrice comes from different stock, Central European and Jewish. Born and raised on the land across which the Russians and Germans attack, they imagine the world will go to hell in a hand basket, if not this afternoon, then no later than tomorrow. Though the first in her family born in the United States, Patrice was raised among survivors, gentile and Jew, of twentieth century European catastrophes, genocides and massacres. She sees the world thus: none wish her well; dreams end badly; bureaucrats lose your paperwork; foreign language mastery provides an advanced warning.
We both speak German. We both want to speak better, so we practice. One day recently we sat in a cafe discussing in English her father, a German Jew and career U.S. Army sergeant buried at the Presidio of San Francisco, then calmly moved onto to gossip about other relatives (thus unable to defend themselves) . Sometime later at the apartment, we were speaking German and I used the word Juden. Patrice blanched. The word in English has one resonance; in German quite another. Nothing new there; we Americans have our own super-sensitivities to forbidden, history-laden words, nicht wahr?
We all understand, don’t we, that we each of us have our ‘realistic’ bone; I am not blithe; Patrice is not disabled by fear. I can be hardbitten and suspicious; Patrice’s nom de plume is Gypsydog. We each bring expectations, but are open to evidence. Patrice had suggested in January (this year) that we move to Sarajevo (Bosnia). I demurred. The week-end we had considered moving, Sarajevo was racked with riots, building afire, tear gas blanketing the downtown.
The evidence is overwhelming. Both our perceptions match Central European reality.
We will visit Ljubljana, Slovenia this week-end. The capital city is fairy-tale beautiful. Disneyland comes to mind, save this is a real, living, breathing and working city.
Yet, the historical landscape is so mind-numbingly sad, one must simply avert ones eye. My grandparents, poverty-stricken and landless, emigrated from Slovenia early in the 20th century. In another post, I describe how in Bosnia and Croatia, it seems one can not come to a country crossroads or drive through a town square without noting the memorials marking twentieth century massacres. Slovenia is not excepted.