This is personal; and it is mostly a rant. So if you don’t like ‘personal or rants better get off my blog now and do something sensible like read a book or plant your garden. I rarely succumb but this minute I so need this that you aren’t going to believe it.
Let me get the part of this post that is personal but not a rant:
Just had a confirmation that I have a full professorship at the University of Manchester!
You my friends can start calling me ‘Prof’, like John and our sons have been doing, at your own peril! I am pleased, of course I am. But I still want to be a big-mama blogger and write novels. Now we have it!
This out of the way let me move on to a full blown tantrum fuelled rant!
I am sitting in our apartment in Sofia eating chocolate waffles and this says all! Gone is the ‘slow burn’ diet, gone is the motivation and anger, lack of comprehension and excitement of the fight have moved in. But mainly I am fuming!
Sometime ago I told you that we have a buyer for the apartment I inherited from my parents. This morning I got on a flight to Sofia thinking that I’ll sort out the administrative stuff today and tomorrow and then will be off to the North to finalise the deal; after all we have a preliminary contract and, after it became clear that I don’t need a Bulgarian passport to sell, all I need is a simple document of civil status.
But nothing is simple and straight forward when it comes to bureaucracies: to get this document, I need a Bulgaria passport. In other words, I am back where I started – that I need a Bulgarian passport. Mercifully I knew this couple of days ago so arrived with all documents that I thought I’ll need to get a Bulgarian passport:
- My expired passport (well, true; it expired a very long time ago but still)
- British naturalisation document (as if this will help get a Bulgarian passport but John insisted and I have decided to choose my battles).
I already knew that I need a document for permanent address in Bulgaria but assumed that owning an apartment in Sofia and paying taxes for eighteen years will count. How wrong I was!
At the municipality, I was told that:
- To have permanent address I need a Bulgarian passport; and
- To get a Bulgarian passport I need a permanent address.
Can you see the problem? Classic Catch 22!
There is another way which involves me going through a ‘naturalisation’ procedure which lasts between six months and a year and is plain wrong. I never lost my Bulgarian citizenship; why am I going to go through a naturalisation procedure?
So, I have two different problems at the moment:
1) One is immediate and relates to selling my parents’ apartment; and
2) One is long term is about other property including our apartment in Sofia (which is in my name).
Of course there is also the small issue of my relationship with Bulgaria; it turns out that my ‘motherland’ is shafting me big time and I am not one for unrequited, sacrificial love. If anything, today I was reminded why don’t do any work here (but work all over the world) and why I will probably never live here again (irrespective of how cheap it may be for us).
As it often happens with me, rationality takes hold at some point; once I put away an embarrassing number of chocolate waffles, I worked out some options that can be explored but I need your help here.
Selling my parents’ apartment
Option 1: Since Bulgaria is member of the EU I can apparently sell it as a British citizen. In this case it is likely that I won’t need the document for civil status I cannot have without a Bulgarian passport. Downside is that John may be involved because they would like to make sure that he is not going to put a matrimonial charge (a ridiculous idea if I ever heard one).
Option 2: The notary arranging the deal may find a way to get around the document of civil status. This is being explored by the buyer.
Option 3: We can’t finalise now and will have to wait till I have a passport. This means that I will have to make allowances for the buyer and lose money (I’ll lose money if I lose the buyer anyway).
Long term property matters
For these I really need a Bulgarian passport; which brings us back to Catch 22.
For the ones who remember the book, and the crazy situation Yossarian was in, you also remember that the message was that Catch 22 situations can’t be resolved and they have to be accepted. This is obviously not an option in my case! This got me thinking.
Catch 22 situations – which a classic lock-ins – can be solved only by eliminating or changing a broader condition. Yossarian got out of the war not because he was mad but because the war ended.
In my case this means that I’ll have one of three possibilities:
- I manage to get a document of permanent address somehow; possibly by bribing someone. For many this may not be a problem but for me this is not an option – I am not very good in doing these things.
- I go through the naturalisation process. This seems unjust to me because I have never lost my citizenship; I have never renounced it. I have always been Bulgarian as well as all else (this brings identity crisis but I’ve lived with it for 23 years).
- I stand up and fight. It seems to me that these are rules that have been left behind since before EU membership times; they are rules that assume people don’t move around and which is an archaic notion. To fight I need a good lawyer and the determination to take a country to the European Court of Human Rights. Please tell me I can’t do it…and watch me!
Life can be in the way of bureaucracy and I believe in such cases we should work to change the latter rather than squeeze the former. In the municipality today, the lady asked me how come I didn’t renew my Bulgarian documents in 1999 when everyone else did. I didn’t answer.
Now, I am thinking, that life was in the way:
- In 1999 I had an ectopic pregnancy that almost killed me;
- In 2000 I had IVF which was hard but resulted in…
- …a baby born in 2001.
After that I was raising my child, building a successful academic career, getting blogs off the ground, getting in debt and paying off debt, generally living…And the main thing: I didn’t need a Bulgarian passport.
Here! I’ve said my peace! Now off to you, my friends:
What do you think I should do?
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