Sunday, 8 January 2012

Blessed bureaucracy

This was going to be a long rant, but I think I am going to try and keep it simple...

Bureaucracy sucks.  There, I think that about covers it :)

The UK Deed Poll, which is easy to arrange, has so many hidden problems that are only made visible after you have spent the money in getting one that it has made my blood boil a little. Like the fact that if you live outside of the UK don't pay the extra for legal copies as the passport office only accept legal copies for applications coming from within the UK.  Outside the UK you have to send the original - why?  No one knows. It's nice that they tell you that after you have spent the extra 100 pounds or so on arranging them though!

Or the fact that getting a passport when outside of the UK has got to be such a complex and impossible task compared to what it was a couple of years ago, when you simply went to the consulate and gave them an obscene amount of money compared to getting a passport in the UK and they got you a passport.

Now, after their efficiency drive you have to spend more than double the old obscene amount (178 euros in fact) and they will not tell you which of the multiple passport application forms you need to fill in or what documentation you need to provide.  Oh, and you can't do it at the consulate any more, you have to send it to Paris.  Who then send it to Cardiff. Why can't I just send it to Cardiff in the first place, why the extra pointless step!  Or if you have to have that step anyway, why not keep it at the local consulate level to try and make life a little easier for the people using the process!

I was going to try the express passport service in the UK, but they won't do that in my situation only that I can use the one week service which *should* deliver a passport within a week. I can't tell me boss that I *should* be back in a week.  I need to know if I try for the week passport that I will actually get a passport in one week so I can travel back from the UK.

In fact the only thing they will say is that you have to send the 'correct' documentation and that if you don't they will simply return the form to you delaying the 6 week service (and I use the term loosely) even further.  You can't even call them without handing over your credit card details fist and risking a huge bill.  I have emailed them about 6 times now and they are still giving vague, difficult to interpret answers so I am going to have to just try and see what happens.

I've been so stressed about it, after all the people aspect of my transition has gone so very smoothly, it's been great.  And then this nightmare.  2 months of stress and hard work and I am no closer to actually getting the new documentation that I was at the start...

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Tante Stacy come to dinner

Well, the Christmas and New Year celebrations are behind us for another year - the decorations are down in the living room, which incidentally now looks empty, and normal life resumes.

And for the coming time period it is going to remain full to overflowing - both privately and professionally.

The first thing I had to do for the new year was outside of work: introducing my niece and nephew to Stacy for the first time.  My sister-in-law had been preparing them over the last few weeks whenever the opportunity came up to talk about it with them.  Whether that was a comment from my niece about girls and boys, she is in the age group where she is noticing the difference between the girls and boys and noticing what is expected of both, and when something to do with gender was on TV.  The fact that in the Netherlands we have some great programming about various aspects of the human condition, and I really mean great - just a presenter talking to and following people in their day to day life rather than something more sensationalised, meant that there was something that she could discuss with my niece before actually telling her about me specifically.

Then on Sunday night she told them about me and that on the following Tuesday, the day we always go and visit, that Aunty Stacy would be coming.  My nephew is a little too young to get it, but my niece, after cracking up, apparently just said 'Yeah, I have three aunts now!' 

On Tuesday evening Mrs Stace and I arrived and at first my nephew was a little 'eh?' and my niece again cracked up.  But after a couple of minutes they both came around and my nephew came up to me for a hug as he normally does when we arrive. We spent the evening before dinner doing jigsaws on the floor and talking.  She thought I looked funny, and was asking if I was in Mrs Staces clothes or if they were my own - she seemed quite impressed that I was in my own wardrobe :p  She also asked, just to show how early these things get ingrained, if I was going to get my ears pierced, and if I was going to get my nails painted.  My ears were pierced last weekend, and last week I did have my nails painted - not something I do very often - and she exclaimed 'Oh, you are a real girl!'  I had to laugh at that.

What I was really surprised at was how much she tried to get my name right.  After talking to my therapist we had decided that we were not going to correct the kids.  There is enough of a change with me without forcing them to call me something different.  Once all of the adults start calling me Stacy they will follow in time, and it will be less traumatic for them.  But my niece was trying from the start to call me 'Tante Stacy', and the name change itself was actually the easiest for her.  There were a few 'Oom Stacy' moments throughout the evening - I find it interesting that she found the name easier than the switch from uncle to aunt - but she corrected herself every single time.

After eating we helped put the kids to bed and as I gave her a hug good night I got a really sweet 'Ik vind je heel lief tante Stacy', roughly translated as 'I think your really sweet aunty Stacy', whispered in my ear.  Ahh... :)

I don't think I could have wished for it to go better...