I have wasted my hours. – Leonardo da Vinci

Wij zijn net bij de gemeente voor de intakegesprek geweest. En het is een beetje triest!

Waarom zei ik dat? Omdat ze niets nieuwe dingen hebben gezegd. Maar: “ja, u moet inburgeren!” I know that I must integrate. Because I’m in a country where the language and the society is different from mine. But inburgering/integration is a two-way affair. Maybe The Netherlands is forgetting that.

As soon as we sat down at room #2 en Mevr. Simson van de Werk en Inkomen afdeling vraagt: “Zo, wat is uw vraag?” I knew there was something wrong with our appointment. She asked us why we were there! We were there because we knew that I have to integrate to the Dutch culture and society — learning the language and all. Actually, we should have been invited there. But we had to set the appointment because I’ve been here since 11 May and yet, we didn’t get any call from the gemeente about inburgering and such. And they have the gall, the audacity, the temerity to state in their letter that we will have to pay a fee if we don’t show up for the appointment. Uh, reality check, didn’t we set it ourselves? (after many many calls and not so many many callbacks)

Yes, I am very disappointed and frustrated. Because they did not call us before we did. They did not know why we were there. They did not give us new information. And I still don’t have a school where I should go. I am so willing to integrate. I believe that it is my responsibility too. But I don’t have a map where to go. Because no one’s telling us what we should do next. We only know what we know through acquaintances and friends who were here before us and from our own research.

The lady even asked if I have taken the basisexamen inburgering already. Stupid question. Because Mark and I won’t even be able to apply for an MVV if I didn’t take and pass that. I can’t even be here because that’s a requirement.

I mean, it’s just a matter of communication with the different offices concerned with buitenlanders, right? Before I arrive here, we must apply for an MVV. When I arrive here, we should then again apply for a verblijfsvergunning. All the other offices have to do is to forward my papers to the municipality where I live. And when they know that “oh, there’s a newcomer here”, they should just invite you right away for an appointment. Tell you what you should do. That’s when inburgering becomes a success, because the communication is open, as early as possible.

The word “inburgering” is popular in this country because there are so many buitenlanders coming in. The was an inburgeringswet passed because many of these people are still not ingeburgerd. Some are here for 25 to 35 years and not ingeburgerd. In the inburgeringswet it says that buitenlanders moet inburgeren. There is a problem if the buitenlander zichzelf wil niet inburgeren. But if he/she will inburgeren, it doesn’t minimize the problem IF people who are supposed to know the path to inburgering don’t know what they are doing. A blind man cannot teach another blind man where to go. #