Well, I miss M like crazy, and his advice is ringing in my ears: "Expect things to go wrong here, and you'll be fine." As I leave there is one final herculean task involving lots of Belgians that has the capacity to go wrong, and that is getting the cat and I authorization to leave to the country of my choice. And yes, it is going wrong.
1. I need a health check for the permanent visa, part of which involves a chest X-ray. The hospital lost mine. Okay, it's something that could have happened anywhere, but the intense fucking stupidity of the follow-up is what reminds me that I'm in Francophone Belgium and not in your run-of-the-mill sort of place. My examining doctor, to whom the results must be sent, is only available by phone from 13h to 13h30. The woman at the X-ray clinic who is responsible for the deliveries to the doctors only works in the morning. And yet somehow I'm being asked by these morons - me, the only person in the situation whose fault this definitely is not - to work out why the X-ray is lost, when the doctor insists it didn't arrive, and the clinic woman insists she sent it to him.
Fuck. Morons. Fucking Franco-Belgian morons.
Luckily time isn't exactly of the essence, due to the Canadian federal police's cack-handed inadequacy in terms of providing criminal background checks (normal countries can do it in a week; the Mounties take FOUR FUCKING MONTHS; they may always get their man but they have to wait until age slows the fucker down apparently). But I am annoyed. I'm annoyed as all hell. It's not just the prospect of a second exposure to an admittedly low level of radiation, it's not just the prospect of arguing with a bunch of brain-damaged hospital Neanderthals about how I will not pay for a repeat in my daily-worsening French (when I told my brain we were moving to Australia, it just started jettisoning my entire vocabulary, as if being lighter will get us out of this stupid, dirty surrealist shithole faster); it's an utter frustration with Franco-Belgian retardation.
Now I know retardation is not a Franco-Belgian monopoly. It's just the way they're retarded that I can't stand. It's in the way they can fuck up, fuck up royally, exposing the person they're fucking up to a world of expense and bother - so far, so averagely retarded - AND THEN strive like a fucking Bosnian fighting the Roman Empire to blame the person they've fucked over, when there is no stretch of the imagination besides a frighteningly 1984-ish doublethink by which the person who they've fucked over has anything to do with the mechanics of how they were fucked over. It is fucking unbearable. It puts me in the mood for face-punching, car-keying, and crotch-kicking, and I'm a fucking Quaker. It makes me quite adore the British for their mania for apologizing for everything, which used to annoy me.
By-the-by, in my experience, this brand of retardation is a Wallonian trait - not a Flemish trait - good enough reason besides all the others for the Flems to want to seperate, in my opinion. God knows I want to fucking seperate from it post-haste.
2. Somebody in my vet's family died and he won't be able to take the rabies blood test for another couple of weeks. The problem there is that I've cut things too close to the wire, since I was expecting to give her to a friend in Canada. She needs her blood test five months before her departure, and I desperately want the freedom to leave here at the end of September, and I desperately want her to spend the minimum time possible in quarantine on the other end of things. That's just something going wrong, of course. It's not Belgium. My vet's from the south of France and sadly people in families die. But it's adding to my stress level.
I've found a shipping company that can send her there, though, and they seem to know what they're doing and they're Flemish. So things are working out. Slowly. Churningly. Annoyingly.
Anyways, it's time for me to go try to get a tourist visa for China and be exposed to a whole new nationality of bureaucracy.