Drum roll, please!
I choose (brace yourself):
Since I’m already here & they gave me citizenship and whatnot.
Just not Cambridge. Not for one second longer than necessary.
Earlier this year I declared that I would not spend another August in Cambridge, yet here I mysteriously remain!
That is a problem that will be rectified posthaste.
I’m not greedy. I simply require all of my wishes to come true. And, like the Kray twins, I always start as I mean to go on.
But wherever will I live next? Dual nationality means I can stay here, go home, or pick any destination I desire in the European Union.
One hint: it won’t be a town nobody has ever heard of, somewhere in the hinterlands of Germany. I categorically refuse, regardless of consequence.
Though I’ve gotta go somewhere. Destinations in order of preference are:
Paris, Rome, Seattle, Portland, and Austin were contenders but have been eliminated from the competition for my favours. Though I promise to visit lots.
Tick tock, time to decide.
The big secret?
The most astonishing news of the decade: our applications were approved.
We are officially British citizens.
More notes on the continuing drama of The German Question:
Before the first interview, Byron told the Prestigious Institute (PI for simplicity) he would not even consider applying for the job unless all four of us were granted permanent residency. They agreed that residency for the entire family was an obvious pre-requisite.
All seemed well until after he signed the contract, at which point it became clear that permanent residency was more bait than promise.
I wonder if someone lied, or if they were they just unprofessional to an inconceivable degree?
Questions have been asked, but I still don’t know the answer, and honestly, I do not care. Residency is a fundamental requirement. End of discussion.
And anyway, there are other things to consider. For instance, while you can’t really criticise an employer for ascribing to legal and cultural standards, I have just spent a year of my life trying to figure out the German health care system.
To fully describe the various complications would take too much time, and I am so disgusted I will refrain from even attempting a synopsis.
Suffice to say I was coached by insurance brokers and associated professionals to answer questions in a disingenuous manner. Repugnant, if logical. But wherever I could not be evasive, I was told to conveniently forget large portions of my history.
Like the fact that I have cancer.
The worst part though? Doctors and dentists who performed the examinations to certify eligibility were eminently willing to ignore, oh, you know, hundreds upon hundreds of surgical scars to sign the certificates stating that I am healthy.
There is a word for this. The word is corruption.
I do not lie, not for (as the saying goes) love nor money. Certainly not for insurance.
Furthermore, to do so in this situation would be idiotic. A simple internet search would reveal this journal, the articles I have published about disability issues, the fact that I wrote a book about living with a rare genetic disorder.
However, I am willing to push a policy to the last possible border and beyond. Deny me insurance while claiming to be a fair and rational society? We’ll see about that.
I was not allowed to join a public plan, as a self-employed person. Then I was officially denied membership in what is perceived as the appropriate private insurance plan for someone related to a member of PI. But it is illegal to live in Germany without insurance. What next? I was considering a lawsuit. Such is life in Chez Lavender.
Then, lo! I figured out a tricky angle that would force a private company to take me, and was able to enroll, if at significant expense. So now I have private health insurance in Germany – a nation featuring perhaps the best care available anywhere in the world.
Though I do not feel especially proud of this, given that my stated ideal (and current reality) is living in a place where everyone has equal access to health care. Will I seriously move somewhere discrimination based on disability status is an enshrined principle?
Maybe, but then again, maybe not. Depends on what other benefits are on offer – and the Germans also reneged on the promise of permanent residency for all members of the family.
The clock is ticking. If PI does not resolve this conundrum before a better offer comes through, I’m not moving.
No matter what Byron chooses to do.