I'm a legal alien!!
Well, with my knees knocking I walk up to the first window "Guichet 19 - Non E.U. Citizens" - no line - perfect! I'm an American, so thats non-E.U......wrong! The window with the long queue is for E.U. Citizens and Americans......okay, I change lines and start waiting...pull out my scarf & start working on that...wait ..... wait .......wait ..... finally! 45 minutes later its my turn! "Bonjour" 'Bonjour Madam - votre papiers s'il vous plait' "Voila" 'Ahh, American - hello! here to renew your card?' "Non - S'il vous plait Monsieu - en français - j'apprend français et j'ai preferé parle en français si possible!" Which of course caused him to laugh, tell everyone else that the american wanted him to speak french and not english which caused them to laugh and come look from their side of the glass at me - I felt like a zoo animal!!
So he then gets busy with his computer and then he goes "ohhhh" calls over anther guy and they start at the screen for a few minutes - they talk rapidly - guy #1 leaves, comes back with my file. They flip through it, read several pages, talk to each other. They call over a 3rd guy and talk some more, re-read my file. Meanwhile I am standing there thinking "oh god, I'm being deported - I know it - what will I ever tell my family and future children/husband about why I left Belgium????" They were talking in Flemish which I know only 4 words and kept mentioning my company.
Finally after 10 minutes of them talking, looking at the computer and my file, the guy looks up says "D'accord - Sept Euro cinquant s'il vous plait" With a hand not too steady I dig into my purse for the change - waiting for him to say "just kidding" I hand it over, he stamps my ID card, and says "Au revoir" Wait a minute...thats it? No big long lecture about not waiting for the ID card to expire? Woooo hoooo!!! I'm a legal alien!! :-) I of course rubbed it in to the co-workers who were in the same situation as me, but were yelled at, denied renewal and sent to the foreign office!
Ps - Secret Pal I am having fun with the new stash additions - working on the bookmarks for the bookmark exchange with the thread from Jackie, still trying to decide what to make with the cotton that you sent.....hmmm.....too many projects to pick from!