03 April 2014

Ježíš Maria! (Or yet more about my driving license)

Having passed my Czech driving license test (did I mention I passed my Czech driving test?), it was time for me to submit the papers to the relevant government office.

This proved to be its own unique challenge.
Not unlike fitting and SUV through a tree
I am normally obsessive about making sure I have all the relevant advice on submitting official documents. In the UK, I would spend hours searching through buried webpages and obscure forums to make sure I had all of the best information about, for instance, paying Council Tax.

Due to my limited Czech, this wasn't really an option this time around. So, instead of wasting hours of my employer's time, my search consisted of an unsatisfactory attempt with Google Translate. In despair, I begged and bullied L into trawling the Internet for me. I suspect he looked only at one page.

And so, with a stack of papers and two photos, I went to the relevant Městský úřad.

It....could have gone better.

I proudly handed over the stack. The lady tutted and kept saying something about 'autoškola' [driving school]. 

I, confident in the belief that I had the correct documents plus the paper from the autoškola saying I had passed the test (did I mention I passed the test?), grinned nervously and said, 'Jo, jo, autoškola'.

This was not the correct answer, apparently, and she sent me away with a list of further documents I would need and instructions to talk to my husband.

L, who was working at the time and thus unable to visit the office with me, first calmed me down and then called the office. It seems the internet was not in full possession of the facts, and neither, it seems, was my autoškola. 

Note for other obsessive official documents researchers: it seems that the Czech government now wants non-EU foreigners to prove that they are legitimately here and have 'ties' to the Czech Republic before issuing a driving license. For me, this took the form of my marriage certificate, pis z katastru (a document stating who owns the place where I am living), and a letter from L stating that he was happy for me to continue to live with him. 

I'll just pour myself a glass of wine and calm down again.

So, a few days later, with even more documents, I went yet again to the relevant Městský úřad. 

I can't say I fully blame the lady, who, when faced yet again with my smiling visage, turned to her colleague in despair and uttered, 'Ježíš Maria! To je pani...' (Mother of God! It's the woman...)

This time, now that the scales of the rightness of the internet had fully been removed from my eyes, things went better. My Czech was better, both the lady and her colleague made better attempts to understand, and by the end, we were all politely joking about the pile of photocopies that were stapled firmly to my application. 

They even took down L's number in case they needed more documents. 

A little under twenty business days later, and my license was ready to collect.

The office lady took one look at my identification, and recognition slowly spread across her face.

'Pamatuji si vás,' [I remember you] she said. Possibly with some degree of fondness. 

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