Well, this week has been an interesting week. The planning meetings gave me a wealth of information that I found to be useful and helpful. I am still trying to process it all, and that will take some time. But I think that I will ultimately be successful in the position.
On Thursday, I went to the Swedish Embassy in Oslo, Norway (where I am still based at the time I wrote this) to get my Swedish work/residence permit. When I get there, I was informed by the representative there that although the Swedish Migration Board approved my work/residence permit, they send the approval to my home country in New York, so they could not give me a the permits until they received the approval. "How long does that take?" I asked. "One to eight weeks, which could be longer or shorter depending on how quickly things go." I then asked her what the approval consisted of. She told me that it was a letter -- and that the letter had to go from Sweden to New York, and then New York had to send it to Oslo. "After all," she stated "this is Oslo, Norway, not New York, USA." Well thank you Carman Sandiego! Next time I need to know where in the world I am, I will just ask her. Anyway, she recommended that I contact the Swedish Migration Board if I was unhappy with what was happen. So I did. And guess what? The people at the Swedish Migration Board say "oh, we can fax them the letter this afternoon and everything will be all set. You can pick up you permits on Friday." Grrr....this is why I am bitter sometimes. =-)
So on Friday I go back to the Swedish Embassy (because I am in Oslo, Norway you know). But before I go, I give them a call to make sure everything is OK. They say "yes, we have received your approval and you can drop off your passport and pick it up in 2 business days." "No, I will drop it off and pick it up today" I replied and just hung up and went to the consulate. I arrive at the consulate and Hilda the Consulate Barroness is in full battle gear. She calls me up to the window and says that it will take a minimum of one business day to get my permits. However, I give her the contact name of a person in the Swedish Migration Board whom she can call and will tell her that this process should only take 5 minutes. She takes the contact name from me, and with her tightened smile, go into the back office to talk to someone, presumably to process my permits. She comes back "this will take one hour, please have a seat." I go to sit down and as I am taking out my reading material to chill out for an hour, another woman comes to one of the other windows and calls me over. I go over and she says "here is your passport with permits included. Have a nice day." I review the permit and I notice that it is only valid for one year, when it should be valid for three years. I say "excuse me, but the permits are supposed to be valid for three years." To which the best reply she has is "but Mr. Cornelius, the permit is already in YOUR passport. You'd need to apply again for me to change it. Get to Sweden and they will fix it for you. Or just apply again in a year. Bye." Well, I just decided that one year is better than no permit at all and cut my losses and left.
The good news is that I can now travel freely in Sweden, and I plan to get there on Sunday. I'll make good come out of this