Musings on leaving New York and moving to Brussels
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The Policeman Just Came
For reals. You know, just to check on us. Because we need checking on. Actually, everyone who applies for commune registration (a nightmare-and-a-half; everyone has a horror story) receives a visit from the local police in order to verify that they really do reside at their reported place of domicile.
And while my guy wasn't as dapper as the two prototypes featured above left, we had a nice chat (in Dutch), mainly about Flemish identity. He told me that about 60% of cops here are Flemish, do not live in Brussels, and feel bedrogen (which could either mean "deceived" or "threatened"; likely the former) by French speakers. He couldn't really explain his grounds for feeling deceived, but who am I to invialidate his feelings? He also shared that, in his opinion, the Flemish resemble the English more than they do the Dutch, whom he believes are more "Germanic." He also asserted that the Flamands have fewer problems with vreemdelingen, or foreigners - but, as with his previous point, did not have much to back it up. Except that the Flemish are more "protectionist," which made me feel, as a (visible) foreigner, slightly uncomfortable. Especially since he was evaluating our abode in a manner slightly reminiscent of someone from the Administration for Child Services.
In the end, he gave J the green light to register at the Saint Gilles commune - yay! (My visa/registration status remains in the "Unresolved" category for the time being.) I also kind of wonder what would've happened if I hadn't been around today.