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Death by Lady Bureaucracy

Death by Lady Bureaucracy

Jesler in Freiburg

I’ve never been a fan of Kafka’s work. It always seemed too dark, too negative and too whiney. Now, I won’t claim that I’ve grown to like Kafka - I have not and will not attempt to reread his stories any time soon. But I have grown to understand one of his muses - the suffocating Lady Bureaucracy.

I had the unlucky privilege to get in touch with Lady Bureaucracy in the many e-mails I’ve received from Freiburg. I already mentioned her when writing my love letter to UCM, though this encounter was only the tip of the iceberg. Below this tip is, among others, a step-by-step description of all six institutions I have to fight before I’m allowed to start studying in Freiburg. This alone will cost me three days, according to my much-trusted University College Freiburg sources.

German bureaucracy made me start pulling out my hair - something I’ve even written a whole blog about only to toss it because it was dripping with self-pity. Instead, I did exactly what any sane Dutchman would in that situation: I overindulged in beschuit with pink muisjes. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, hop over to Jumbo right away and be amazed!) After this, the world was happy and good again.

Until I wanted to go to the doctor before moving to Freiburg. Which shouldn’t be a problem, right? In an Orwellian fashion, the answer to this is: Only if you fall in the norm. I, as a student that used to live in Maastricht but doesn’t anymore, on the move to Germany and with parents that live in Singapore, miraculously do not. And so, after six calls with three different doctors and two visits to two different clinics I finally came to terms with the final conclusion: Lady Bureaucracy’s at it again - there really is no way.

So now, I finally understand what Kafka was writing about all along. And if any of you are still in doubt: move to Germany - everything will make sense. 

Jesler van Houdt

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