Aug 28 2008

Bureacracy Day #1

by at 10:37 pm

Today we headed back to Renens, VD, which is a 10 min bus ride from the center of Lausanne, in an attempt to sign a lease for an apartment we have been attempting to get since early July and take care of some other bureacracy.  We packed our letters saying we have a job and a scholarship and an admission to University of Geneva, as well as all the traveler’s checks we had.  We also brought tupperwares of food for Seth, since he can’t seem to find anything vegetarian and lactose free on the road, and of course, a couple ipods full of podcasts for the train.

The good news: we do have an apartment, and we can move in as early as tomorrow night.  I even have one set of the keys.  The apartment itself is really pretty and light inside, and the really nice previous tenants are selling us their almost-new Ikea furniture.  The so-so news: We aren’t thrilled with the neighborhood–it’s kind of urban and residential, but without the benefits of either (not a lot of people our age, not a lot of shops/restaurants, not a lot of trees, not super quiet, not very picturesque).  Also, we haven’t yet signed the lease because for some reason the realtor didn’t bring it.  She also didn’t bring the form for the security deposit.  We spent quite a while with the realtor discussing things, and hardly got anywhere.  It doesn’t help that she thinks that the reason we can’t understand each other is because we aren’t fluent in French rather than that we are talking past one another. But, the previous tenants, as I said, are super super nice and gave us all sorts of advice, helped translate, showed us everything, and even called for us to change the name on the internet, tv, phone, and electric accounts.  If you want our new address, send us an email.

After we dealt with that we went to try to get our residence permit because, as we’re quickly realizing, we can’t do ANYTHING without a residence permit.  We hadn’t thought to bring along any of the 36 ID photos we’d carefully had printed in the US, so we trekked to the Renens shopping center to get more, got terrible and expensive ones, and then went to city hall.  At city hall, we were informed that we couldn’t get a residence permit without our proof of a security deposit on the apartment.  Argh!  So we decided to try to find out about bank accounts, wondering how we were going to pay the security deposit if we couldn’t open an account without a residence permit.  We were praying it was the one thing for which we didn’t need a residence permit.  Fortunately, that was the case; they let us open accounts, hooray!  We decided on Credit Suisse without much research because we desperately need an account to pay the deposit and first month’s rent, and we need to leave a couple of days for money to be wired to us from our wonderful parents in the US.  Next week we’ll have debit cards and be able to access our accounts online, if the internet in our apartment actually continues to work.

We are hoping to move in partially on Saturday after we do some shopping, and then Mary is going to help us get the rest of our stuff from the chalet to the apartment midweek.

Other items of note today:

  • On our way out of the chalet, there was construction on the road, and we had to climb over a pile of dirt in our nice clothes/new shoes.
  • Speaking of shoes, I have new black shoes!  For those of you who heard my black shoe saga: they were pretty comfortable with thin socks and did not fall off my feet.  And I did A LOT of breaking them in today.
  • Underpasses are really common in Switzerland, it seems. And the one that goes under the railway tracks in Renens has a separate super narrow staircase with smooth ramps on each side so that parents can push strollers up or down it. Doesn’t do much for wheelchairs or people with other disabilities that make lots of stairs difficult to handle, though.
  • On our way back to the chalet, there was a really cute white dog (I think it was a bichon) who played fetch with a pinecone and me for about 5 minutes, until I had to walk away mid-game because I was worried if I stayed much longer, she’d think I was her new owner and follow me back to our chalet rather than staying in front of hers.

It was a stressful day.

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One response so far

One Response to “Bureacracy Day #1”

  1. Sethon 28 Aug 2008 at 11:45 pm

    I just want to highlight the fact that we got the keys to our apartment, but didn’t sign any legal documents or pay any money yet. Anyone know anything about adverse possession (i.e. squatters’ rights) in Switzerland?

    Also, opening Swiss bank accounts is surprisingly easy.

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