Showcase April - Thoughts from a Visa queue | About bureaucracy and government processes

I'm from Mexico for those who don't know. I'm not just mentioning this because, I'm doing it to give you some context, context that will be useful for you to understand the stance and opinions stated here.

In Mexico, bureaucracy is King, petty conditions to get paperwork done are law, government mediocrity is Queen… but money is Divine right. With money you can get anything done, from skipping jail after drunk driving and manslaughtering a couple of kids, to getting someone arrested; from getting ahead in line to get a new kidney to buying illegally a property without the other person's consent. You get the picture.

For normal people, you know, those who don't have a lot of money to spare for briberies, accelerate processes, incentivize people to do their job and to ignore other requests in order to give yours some attention, getting a government process done can be a pain in the ass, to say the least.

Getting official shit done in Mexico is slow, painful and will mess up with your head.

You could be dying and yet, they won't give you a doctor's appointment in less than 6 months, and that is if you are covered by the public health system. There's this ongoing joke for those who are in that system, goes something along the lines "being covered by the public health system at least ensures your death won't be expensive". If you have at least a little bit of money, you get a private doctor. In public hospitals you'll be mistreated - not by doctors majorly, but sometimes - by the administration people, you'll spend countless hours without any response or conclusions, you'll get a hard time receiving a note to be excused by your employer and most likely, you'll starve to death if you need to skip work for longer than a few days, and that is if you keep your job.

Any legal battle will take at least 5 years. Doesn't matter what it is about and who's judging it. Unless you spend money every week to speed it up.

Changing the name of the electric or water bills means tons of paperwork - they keep everything in physical copies, there's no digital backups or processes - and at least 5 hours doing a line, in a weekday only, from 7 am to 1 pm, no weekends.

Oh yeah, did I mention that all the house buy/sell processes got delayed for months after the earthquake that hit Mexico a couple of years ago? Well yeah, everything got delayed because the general.archive of notaries got affected by the earthquake, and since they keep everything there as physical copies with no digital backup… well, the earthquake made all the boxes and furniture to fall down, so it took them months to get them organized again, and in the meantime everything got delayed.

I think you get where I'm going. Well, to give you a little bit of context, I began an inheritance process in mid 2012, and despite me spending around 10k USD in incentives to speed up the process and in fees, I finished it in late 2018. Some people - or families - spend 30 to 40 years doing this shit.

On the other hand, some paperwork for foreigners - remember we are a third world country with self respect issues and an inferiority complex that dates back to the XVI century - is easy as hell. For example, getting a house or apartment as a foreigner just takes having money; getting a work visa takes a bit of money and a job offer (any job offer, could be as a hotel clerk); re-entering the country after 6 months is as simple as going to Belize or Cuba for a couple of days and coming back voila, you have another 6 months in Mexico.

Getting official shit done in Germany

I'm not gonna lie, when I first came to Europe - in general, but I'm speaking more about the mid to northern Western block - three years ago, I was mesmerized. The organization and coordination of public transportation, the politeness and hands on attitude of people in service - hotels, supermarkets, stores etc -, the general quality of life, the average income and purchasing power, among many others, just mesmerized me, it baffled me that people could live a life like this with a janitor's paycheck; nothing wrong with being a janitor, in fact these countries prove exactly that, that anyone who's working and contributing to society can get a chance at a good life, the thing is, in Mexico if you're a janitor you're fucked, in fact I could even wonder how the hell are you still alive.

I was aware that Europe had flaws, I just needed to identify them. It would be naive from my part to think there's anything close to a utopia anywhere in the world, but when the bar is set so low for you, almost everything is an upgrade, especially when comparing the two opposites of the coin - comparing Mexico to Germany doesn't have the same impact as comparing Chile to Spain, I'm not sure if you get what I mean.

Turns out the flaws Europe has are exactly what I expected, the cons mostly revolve around those that societies too advanced suffer from, those that feel the need to rescue others who are lesser in their eyes, or those who need - or worse - deserve - their aid.

Be that as it may, living in Europe is still one hundred times better than Mexico when it comes to quality of life, purchasing power, overall safety, health/education/transportation system and many more. Of course there are some lows like the food, the general coldness of people, the freaking weather and some others, but I can definitely live with those.

Well, right now it's 6 am. I've been on a queue/line for one hour. I'm waiting in the cold outside the Ausländer Büro in Berlin, trying to get some shit done. I'll get to see how the bureaucracy and government processes are in this city and, perhaps I'll make a post praising it, or maybe I'll end up trashing it like I did just now to my home country's situation.

This post was originally posted in March 2020 and it's part of my initiative called showcase April, where I'll post the best content I've done over the past three years.