I’m stuck at work at the moment; can’t go home because I can’t get in the house because Rudder’s got my house key. He went to Amsterdam with his parents today; they’re staying tonight (but have his key for when they get back tomorrow) and he took a train home but is now stuck in the next town over because the train broke down or something. And that’s not even my biggest cause of frustration at the moment. (The property management office won’t give us more than the two keys.)

I finally spoke to someone at the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (what would be the embassy or consulate if they had such in the US) about why I haven’t gotten back my legalized birth and marriage certificates.

A small recap: there’s something called an apostille which is basically a statement from the officialdom who issued a birth or marriage certificate (hereinafter, a BOMC because I don’t feel like typing all that again) to say that yes, it is a valid document. It’s accepted by most countries, per a treaty. Anyone who was reading this last fall will remember the hassles it took to get those. For the record, Rudder’s Oregon BC was much easier to get than mine and our marriage cert, both from Pennsylvania.

Then (and this is apparently a recent change) Taiwan came up with a new wrinkle: their office now needs to further legaliize those documents, I guess to make sure they agree that the apostille is legit. (Or conceivably it’s instead of the apostille; no idea if they’re party to that treaty.) So last month I had to send Rudder’s BC to their Washington office, who handle Oregon, and mine and our MC to the New York office who handle Pennsylvania. They had to include copies of our passports, a check from a US account, a copy of my US driver’s license to substantiate the check (actually they wanted a US money order because they don’t normally take personal checks, but I pointed out those are purt’near impossible to get in Europe) and a self-addressed stamped envelope with return postage.

Would you trust international mails with all those original documente? Me neither. Figuring out how to express it with return postage was also difficult – I could have used the company’s DHL account but there would have been some horrendously complex system involving calling ahead about the return mail to get it back here, and I doubted the Taiwanes office would have been willing to call me when they were ready. Fortunately, FedEx made it a bit simpler, since apparently I have an account with them (that ‘d forgotten about!).

Once that was all sent, I got Rudder’s BC back, legalized and all, with commendable promptness. Apparently West Coasters are better about these things. Mine still isn’t back so I called the office yesterday. The guy who handles this was out but they gave me the number to call back today. First, he told me he’d set an email immediately telling me about the other docuemtns he needed. I never got that, but OK, it could have been caught by the spam filter. Then he told me he needed a copy of Rudder’s passport for the MC (reasonable, and I should have send that in the first place) and of both my parents’ passports to substantiate my BC. I don’t think Dad even has a passport, and those certainly weren’t mentioned when I’d originally called his office to find out what I needed to send. (He also asked for a money order, but gave in on that point when I reiterated the impossibility of that.) But really, both parents’ passports? Does he think I was spontaneously generated or what?

Yeesh. Sorry if your eyes have glazed over by this point; mine have too, pretty much.