The Driver’s License

I had a good cry today. The day had finally come for me to pick up my German drivers license. We applied about three weeks ago and lucky for me, the reciprocity agreement with Texas allowed me to bypass the test which seems to be pretty hard. All I had to do was apply and then now to go pick it up, but there was one catch. In Germany (and apparently internationally) you aren’t allowed to carry more than one drivers license, so the only way I was able to take the German one home with me was if I surrendered my Texas license.

When my husband got his license in Texas they didn’t require him to surrender his German license. At this office in Germany they said that this was a mistake. Honestly I believe that Texas DMV just doesn’t care about it. The license doesn’t mean anything to them, its the record that goes along with it.

At first, in the office, I got frustrated. The German license doesn’t have address or donor information on it so I argued that this was my identification card in the State of Texas. They told me I still had a passport.

The next approach I took was to tell them they could cut the corner of it to prove that it was no longer valid, as I have seen in Texas many times. This was also not acceptable to them.

They then told me they would be sending my license back to Texas and I could pick it up there, which infuriated me. I asked them to tell me WHERE they would be sending it and no one could tell me. The even referenced my home address on the license and I just got more worked up. My husband finally said they aren’t the ones sending it. Someone from a central handling office would be sending it using the guidelines set by the State of Texas. I laughed and said “Texas doesn’t care! They will probably mail it to that address as if it was lost!”

After many different arguments, I asked my husband what he wanted me to do and he said to take the new German one and leave the Texas one. So with tears streaming down my face I told him to get it for me and walked out of the room.

A sample of How the new Führerschein looks

I couldn’t actually understand why I was so upset at the moment. I felt like a woman without a country. Yes I know that Texas isn’t a country, but in my heart it is. I felt heaving coming in my chest and just wanted to be alone when I started crying hard.

My Texas license is only valid until 2025 when I would have to renew it. The German license is good for life apparently, so it does have that going for it. There was something though, that I just couldn’t reconcile with.

I have made it clear that I was born and raised in Texas and it feels like part of who I am at my core. For some reason not having my Texas drivers license felt like a cut to the core of who I am. I have had it in my wallet since I was 16.

The Donor emblem on the front of the license

When I looked at the license though, it dawned on my that it just felt like giving up a piece of myself. My dad taught me to drive. He taught me to use my knees to steer. He made me believe in the importance of being an organ donor, so I take pride of that heart on the front of my card. My middle name, that I hated as a young girl, was the one given to me by my dad in honor of his grandmother and I am proud of it in a way I never was as a kid.

I have since calmed down, looked at the entire thing with a little distant perspective and found that it’s really the sentimental aspect that is plaguing me the most. I feel like I can’t call myself a “card carrying Native Texan” anymore, not that I really ever phrased it that way… but I will be when I return to Texas again. Until then I almost feel guilty wearing all my Texas shirts… but I can’t walk around naked and since that’s all I really own, I guess I will make it work!

Registering in Germany (Meldepflicht)

We had our appointment today to register in Germany. If you are staying in Germany more than three months you are required to register your address (anmelden) with the local office called Bürgeramt. There is a limited amount of time you have to this (14 days from arrival), and is especially important if its needed for the customs clearance of your container, which is our case. Our future house will not be available until November for move in, so we aren’t allowed to use this address until that time. Our current address is that of my parents-in-law, which is not located in the same town as where we will live in the future. To most this wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but this registrations dictates a number of things. Just a few are…

  • Address
  • Registration for the car and license plate
    • Germany license plates are typically a combination of the city + initials + selected number – which would change when our address changes so we would need to wait for that!
  • Where the kids would be required to be in school. Attendance in school is not something that can be taken lightly. As soon as we register, Lainey will be required to be in school. Since the German school year ends middle of July, we just found out that she will need to be in school within a week of registration. This is brand new information to us and has us a little panicked today!
  • Registration will also be used to establish tax identifications for us and also enable us to start health insurance locally.

It seems that of the majority of changes happening for us, Lainey is having to be the one to put herself out first. Even Markus is working from home, although it would be easiest for him. When I asked if I could go to classes with her, I was given a side-eye so I assume the answer is no. I know that she will do fabulous. She’s brave and smart and amazing, but this is not only a huge change, she has also been in online classes since March of 2020.

One awesome thing I found out today is that Texas now reciprocates the drivers license with Germany, so I won’t need to go through the long testing process I had previously been afraid of, I will just need to submit a translated copy of my existing license and pay a fee.

Our lives are just getting started here and registration was the very first step! One down, 100’s to go!