My application for my residence permit is currently in process, finally. A lot of people have asked me the "How's" of living in Europe as an American. So I figure that I should make a blog post about these things.
Most popular question: How do you get a residence permit?
-The residence permit that I have in order is through my partner, Brett. He's a citizen of The Netherlands so he has a Dutch Passport. Although, he doesn't speak Dutch-- because he's originally from South Africa. He was able to get a Dutch passport through his Dutch parent. (As SA is a country that was "colonized" aka invaded by the Dutch and British a long time ago.
So yes, anyways, my residence permit means that I'm being sponsored by a "family member". In the NL you can sponsor someone as a partner and declare your status as an "unmarried" couple. (Side note: Why the hell is America so behind on the times with things like this? If the tables were turned and Brett wanted to come live in the states we would 100% have to be married and show a legal document.)
Other than being sponsored by someone who lives here, the other way that I know how to get into the country and live here legally is to have a job that would sponsor you. I'm not sure of the technicalities about that, but the Dutch gov't website is pretty thorough if you want to further your reading!
Applying for the application was a.. process... to say the least. We had to fill out a huge stack of papers to which we had to provide proof of income of Brett, we had to declare our relationship with photographs, messages, letters, plane tickets, etc, and a lot of other boring stuff like where we were born and a lot of numbers and letters and junk. Then we just made an appointment with the IND gov't office- submitted the application- then I got my biometric stuff done (photo and fingerprints), and that was it!
Also, there's some surprise-never before seen-images at the end so STAY WITH ME. Hahah.
It was in the IND office that I learned something about Dutch people. As a culture, I feel like Dutch people are VERY self sufficient and even though everyone has been super helpful and nice to me when I have a question---I feel like most people don't really want to help. Lololol. Even when paying for my application fees. We got an email that was like "Here's the bank info. Here's the amount due. Thank you for paying." But there wasn't any information on HOW to transfer money to a European account. No clickable link. Basically, nothing to my American brain. I was like I DONT GET IT. I tried multiple times and got really stressed out and ended up just giving money to Brett so he could do it. Maybe once I get a Dutch bank account I'll be able to figure it out. MAYBE NOT THO. MAYBE I'LL JUST FLAIL AROUND AND MAKE BRETT DO EVERYTHING.
Okay, back to the IND office. I went up to the desk after my number was called and I very politely asked the man behind the desk: "Do you speak English?" And he looked at me with THE straightest face in the world and very sternly said "No."
.. . . . ... BRB. DYING.
It was that point that I just started nervously digging through my bag for my passport and he just carried on.. in English.. like NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. I'm obviously laughing now, but at the time I immediately got freaked out and sweaty and nervous laugh-y -- which was also very fun because I had to have my permit photograph taken right after that with sweaty bangs and a derpy, nervous face. I'll be sure to show that once I get it- Don't worry. I know you were worried.
Anywho, I made it out alive and laughing at myself, because really what else can you do?
So yeah, my anxious-depressed-nervous-manic brain has been out of control lately. If you ever realize you haven't seen me updating in a while? That's probably because I'm super depressed and hating myself/the world/all of the things. (That's a cue to send me rainbow emoji's and cute kitten pictures--which people actually do now and every time I want to cry because I'm so happy that those people exist.) Anyways, I was in the kitchen the other day and I saw a bumble beeb drop down onto one of my flowers outside. I went to check on it and I saw it was extremely exhausted, and looking like an overworked, underpaid little beeb. (I just realized that from now on bee's are going to be beeb's.) I dropped some water onto the flower and just watched the lil beeb take deep breaths. Eventually it mustered up the strength it needed to fly away all wonky like. I was like Fuck. If this isn't an analogy for my life, I don't know what is. I am just a fat little beeb in the world, covered in crumbs, surrounded by bright things, and exhausted but still able to walk.
Something that has made me feel better this past week is just looking on pinterest for tattoos that I like--- and drawing them in my sketch book. Sometimes creating art when depressed makes me feel so much worse. Like nothing I could ever produce would be "good enough". So instead I just copy artists that I like and put a little twist on it. Then I get a tiny blip of a confidence boost. Sometimes that's all I need to just get through the next hour.
Things I had mental breakdowns/panic attacks about last week:
- Biked in a rainstorm and my shoes filled up with water
- I couldn't change the phone number on my Gmail account
- I couldn't figure out how to transfer money to a European bank account
- Going to the grocery store
- Not being able to access my Gmail account
- Meeting new people
- My dog being a spaz
I'm sure there are more that I'm not thinking about at this moment, but you get the point.
Oh, and I cried during every single movie I watched this week.
I'm really struggling with the fact that I'm in between health insurance coverage and not being on medication. As I've mentioned before in previous blog posts---I weened myself off of Lexapro back in February-April before my move. As hard as that shit was--- I'm so fucking ready to be back on medication. Somedays I feel like I can't handle the world. Yes, I know it's temporary. Yes, I know my life matters. But sometimes, when you're depressed, you can't tell yourself that. It's like a fucking monster lives inside of the deep dark center of your brain. It sits there and waits until you are feeling down and then it's like SURPRISE MUTHAFUCKA I'M BACKKKKK!!! YOU ARE THE WORST PERSON EVER. NO ONE LIKES YOU. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING HERE. YOU SHOULD JUST NOT BE ALIVE. DON'T YOU JUST WANT TO NOT BE ALIVE ANYMORE AND THEN YOU WONT HAVE TO DEAL WITH ANYTHING ANYMORE AND EVERYONE WILL BE FREE OF YOUR BURDEN. YOU ARE A SHITTY FRIEND. A SHITTY LOVER. LETS JUST SAY YOURE SHITTY AT EVERYTHING.
If you struggle with depression, you know exactly what I mean. If you don't... this is a very real way of explaining it. I know, I know... You're probably thinking "But just tell yourself these things are a lie. They obviously aren't true." Sure, if my brain was functioning properly and rationally I would indeed be able to use logic and reason. That's not the case when you're depressed though. My brain isn't always strong enough to fight off the demons. Sometimes, I give in. Sometimes, I just let go of the control. Why? It's exhausting to have to CONSTANTLY be fighting with yourself. It's a life long thing, ya know? It doesn't just go away. Not even with meds. The meds just makes it more bearable. It's like giving your brain armor. Armor isn't impenetrable, but it could save your life.
Above photos taken by Brett de Vos on our rooftop patio.