After a month in my new beautiful home, I eventually gave up and acknowledged that I will not be learning German by myself.
I went for the standard path: go to a school, take a course. Following the recommendation of many, I decided for the Volkshochschule, and checked their website. German-only. And no, Google translate is not of much help.
I went physically to the school—these days this is something bizarre, walking to the place instead of doing everything online?—and using my close-to-null German1 I managed to get directions to the actual language branch2 and join the queue («snake», in German) of multicoloured anti multi-aged people waiting for information.
Well, once inside, I did a quick German test, and the teacher told me (in English) the documents I needed for the registration. That was basically one: the Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung.
I get this all of the time: how am I supposed to get a grip on this language if the words are, like, 40 syllables long?
The next day was me in the U-Bahn going to the Bürgeramt3 and trying to read, let alone memorise, the 27-letter-word describing the paper I needed.
Any way, all went good, and I have to add that—despite German people constantly complaining about their bureaucracy—I was surprised by the speed of the process. The lady at the civic centre discovered that I was not registered in Berlin—I didn’t know it was compulsory!—and so she did my Anmeldung4 as well. Total time, excluding the «snake», of course: 5 to 10 minutes5.
Now I am officially a Berlin citizen.
And, following this other post, here you have the forecast for the next few days. Quite a different one.
By the way, I discovered days later that the Freizügigkeitsbeschainigung is a certificate of free movement of citizens of the European Union.
- That is, basically, ‘Ein Bier, bitte’, ‘Wo ist deine Schwester?’ and ‘Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’. [↩]
- That explains a few things: in my head, the whole school was a language school, thus making the German-only website a bit too extreme. Instead, they teach pretty much every subject, silly me! [↩]
- That Google translates in Italian either as «civica ufficio» or «Bürgeramt» depending on the capital letter. [↩]
- Registration. [↩]
- Most of the time was indeed used by the Bürgeramt employee trying to spell my name and my birthplace. [↩]