Berlin - 1979 - settling in

We needed to settle into our new life. The first step was to register as a new resident. So we walked to the "Einwohnermeldeamt" where I applied for an ID card and registered at my grandmother's address. Next step was to visit the immigration office, so my husband, being married to a German citizen, could get a work permit and resident visa. The so called "Auslaenderpolizei" was many subway stations away and the lines were incredibly long; it was crazy and took half a day just to get the right forms. That department was clearly understaffed and not able to handle the mass of asylum seekers coming into Germany at that time. It would only get worse in the coming years.

My sweet little grandmother would take us to all these places in her role as our guide and even translator, as some of the forms were too difficult for me to understand.
I loved her so much, She was classy, always dressed up, hair and nails done, wearing her cute hats and gloves. Without her we would have been so lost.



Next my husband signed up for German classes at the "Goethe Institut". And I started to look for a job. I was so lucky. My first interview was for the position of Jr. Secretary to the Executive Secretary of the General Manager at the Hotel Inter.Continental Berlin. And I got the job! In February, within two weeks of our arrival!


This is the only picture that I have of the hotel, taken when our friends from Liverpool visited us that first summer.

I was so nervous when I started working there. The hotel was grand and impressive and so was the General Manager. But the Executive Assistant, a 50-ish old-school secretary, with bright red lipstick and a black-dyed teased up-do, smoking Eve cigarettes all the time, was really something else and I was very intimidated by her. However, she trained me for my job and as her future successor. I admired her professionalism. She was one of the best that I could have learned from.

So, we settled in, One of us working 8-5, the other attending classes 8-5. Returning to my grandmother's in the evening where we had dinner together, after which she would test my husband's vocabulary and practice with him. I did not have the patience for that.

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