Adventures and misadventures in France.

Archive for May, 2013

French government vs. Logic

Another day, another challenge. I’d just like to take a minute to share my recent frustrations with the regional French immigration office.

About a month ago, I submitted an application for a Titre du Séjour, which would allow me to live and work in France for one year. I waited a month (ever so patiently), with no response. I began calling the office, to verify that they had received my paperwork, and see if there was anything else to be done to speed up the process. Except the office who handles this specific type of application only anwsers calls 9-12 Tuesdays and Thursdays. And each attempt at reaching the office during the designated hours lead to a rapid transfer to answering machines, incorrect offices, or an immediate dropped call.

Luckily, a contact was able to give me the email address of the woman who was supposedly responsible for handling my case. Here is the email conversation (abridged for language and humor):

Me : Hello Mme. X, can you please confirm that my application for the visa has been received and accepted? If it has been accepted, where and when can I come pick it up? I’m leaving for America next Wednesday, so I would like to have more information before then.

Mme. X : You are not applying for a visa, you are applying for a Titre du Séjour.

Me : Has my application for a Titre du Séjour been received and accepted?

Mme. X : You can ask Mme. Y about the status of your application. Here is her email.

Me : Hello Mme. Y, can you please confirm that my application for the visa has been received and accepted? If it has been accepted, where and when can I come pick it up? I’m leaving for America next Wednesday, so I would like to have more information before then.

Mme. Y : Mme. X already told you it has been accepted. You need to understand that the process will take at least 2 weeks. You will not be able to have the paperwork by the time you leave. You don’t need to return to America because the paperwork can be completed here.

Me : Can I begin the process Monday or Tuesday? Who should I see, and what documents do I need?

Mme. Y : You can come Thursday or Friday.

Me : I’m leaving for America Friday.

Mme. Y : You don’t need to go to America.

Me : I’m traveling to visit family, and I just want a document to confirm that my paperwork is submitted before I leave.

Mme Y : Both myself and Mme. X will be on vacation until Wednesday. 

Translation : the only two people in the entire country who could possibly assist me in submitting this paperwork will not be available until I leave. You may have submitted a complete application, but we take no responsibility for informing you that we have received it, that it is complete, that it has been accepted, and when or how the Carte du Séjour can be obtained. I’m not sure how the French expect anyone to figure this system out, much less a foreigner. I’m assuming that they keep étrangers out by wrapping us up in a system until we give up and go home. Luckily, I can be as stubborn and pushy as any government official, so I’ll just keep jumping over administrative hurdles until someone declares I’m a legal resident. Merci la France!

Voyage to the Passé

Having a nostalgic moment looking at some posts from my previous European adventures in the Fall of 2010. For anyone interested in checking out my former blog, you can read it here:

L’Aventure Supérieure

Unfortunately, I stopped writing new posts in November, but you can still find some posts about life in Toulouse, France, and visits to Paris and Barcelona. It’s a shame I never got pictures up from Rome or the Alpes!

Still one of my favorite pictures from my semester abroad!

La Poste

Today featured another example of rural village living. I had ordered shoes online, which were supposed to be delivered today. I had planned to go home for lunch and see if they had arrived. Instead, around 10 am, one of my coworkers informed me that a package had arrived at the office for me. I descended to the entrance of our office, where I found our local postwoman, beaming, personally delivering my new sneakers to the office. I thanked her and hurried back to my desk. The address on the package listed our home address, confirming that the postwoman knew that we worked during the day, and knew where we work. I guess this is one perk of living in a town of 3,000, and working three blocks from home.

Carbay Trail

A lovely walk through the countryside with Joanna and Jojo!

We took advantage of a gorgeous spring day to explore an extension of a countryside trail through some farmlands. We stopped to take some pictures of a field of cows, and the cows stopped grazing to CHASE US out of their field.

Nico and Joanna!

Two of my favorite people came for a visit! We had a lovely time checking out rural sights, catching up, and mélange-ing our languages.



Thanks so much for visiting! Clearly, Jojo appreciated the extra attention!

Lambos are Just Material Possessions

Our boss took his baby for a spin on a sunny day. Casual.

Apparently this car will be making another appearance when Max’s father has an open-house for his tire repair shop.


That Time We Built a Shed

It took an entire day (and we might still need to finish the roof) but we built a shed with our bare hands!

Using ridiculous idea-inspired directions, each aluminum part had to be attached manually by about ten thousand screws and bolts. Luckily, we had Max’s precision and my brute strength to make it happen. Several water breaks and a couple of sunburns later, we had an actual building to show for it!


It’s also 4x larger than we had planned! Now we have a place to keep exciting things like lawn refuse and bikes!

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