Adventures and misadventures in France.

Archive for February, 2014


Hyper bon!

Hyper bon!

Here’s a 2008 comic from Pénélope Bagieu, the talented cartoonist and illustrator behind Ma Vie est Tout à Fait Fascinante. This very scene plays out on the daily chez nous.

Les garçons ne grossissent pas (les salopards)

Translation :

Men don’t gain weight (those assholes)

“You might find it hardcore, but have you ever tried nutella + salted butter + Nesquick? – Super good.”

(World of shit)

Biking to work?

Monday morning,my week is already flooded with great news, bad news, and maybe-good news.

First, the great news :

Our company has finally moved into the new office building. While the kitchen and recreational floor haven’t been completed, all of our desks, computers, and office supplies have been unpacked. Here’s my new office.

photo (18)

I’ll be the first to admit that my level of responsibility and work experience do not merit an office this big. It’s very likely that I’ll end up sharing with a colleague, and that my career path will never lead to another setup as shiny and spacious. But for now, I’m very happy to work surrounded by windows, glass paneling, and oversized images of Times Square.

The bad news :

We’ve been putting it off for months, but Max’s contract requires him to spend some time working in client offices around France. A few months ago, he had a temporary assignment in Paris. It’s very likely that he’ll have another assignment an hour away for a period of several months. We’re lucky that he’ll be able to commute from home every day. But our new office is no longer within walking distance of our house. That leaves me with a few options for getting to work:

1) Beg coworkers to drive 3-10 miles out of their way so that I can carpool.

2) Learn to drive manual (and somehow obtain a car).

3) Bike to work.

The commute is 5 miles (8 km) each way. Google estimates that it should take about half an hour. Does anyone have experience with a biking commute? I think it would be a great way to energize before work and manage my variable work hours. The office showers will be completed in a month or two, and we’ll have bike racks as well. I’m a bit concerned about the busy two-lane roads and the weather, because winter and spring are monsoon season in our corner of France.

Please feel free to post advice in the comments below!


Celebrating differences and Michael Sam

Dan Hansen, a Texas sportscaster from Texas, speaks out on ABC about Michael Sam.

For those who haven’t been following the story, Michael Sam is an NFL prospect (and recent graduate of the University of Missouri) who publicly announced on Sunday that he is gay. If drafted, he would become the first openly gay player in NFL history. The draft is scheduled to begin on May 8. 

The New York Times published a piece on Michael Sam’s background, presenting an athlete whose talent and drive offered a way out of an impoverished town and unstable home life.

There has been an ourpouring of pride and support from Sam’s home town of Hitchcock, TX, his university, teammates, and the public. Unfortunately, many NFL representatives has expressed that there may be a negative impact on his draft standings.

This video succinctly states what many (sports fans or not) have been thinking about the value we place on professional athletes.

Check that status

Quickly approaching my one-year France anniversary, and it would appear that I’m finally reaching the home stretch of obtaining legal residency! Let’s take a look at how far this process has come:


March – Sent emails and letters to regional government officials figure out which status to apply for.

April – Mailed application for the titre de séjour.

May – Received unofficial word by phone that my application had been accepted.

June – Received documentation that application was received (récépissé) which granted legal right to stay in France pending approval from the Préfecture (regional government office).

July – Submitted additional documenation to the DIRECCTE, the French agency involved with granting legal work status.

Then the country went on vacation.

October – Récépissé  expired after several months with no progress. I left to travel for a few weeks in the US with my legal status still hazy.


January – Received an invitation for a medical exam with the OFII, the French immigration department.

February – Visited the OFII for the medical exam. When I was a student several years ago, this appointment only involved a brief discussion with a doctor, some basic health analyses, and an X ray of my lungs (that they allowed us to keep!). This time around, I had to participate in the many steps to integration provided by the French government. In addition to the medical exam and meeting with a doctor (no X ray souvenirs), there was a video about French integration and an interview with a social worker. The video covered French history and values, and explained the contrat d’intégration. The contract requires new residents to attend four training sessions on institutions and resources, civic engagement, professional competency and employment assistance, and 200-400 hours of French language lessons if necessary. Luckily, the social worker determined that I was exempt from all sessions except the formation civique.

Within a couple hours, I was racing to the Préfecture to beat their lunch break. The Préfecture operates like the DMV (RMV in Bahston): take a number and wait. Forever. Luckily, there’s a way around this. Before each visit to the Préfecture, I email the office, ask too many questions, and tell them when I’m planning to come in. You only need to take a number if you don’t have an appointment. So I march up to the front desk, wait until someone becomes available, and explain that I have an appointment. Within 15 minutes, I was able to pass off the OFII documents, change my registered address, and let them take my fingerprints. They finally submitted my application to print the titre de séjour, which will be ready within 3 weeks. 

All I need now is to pay 550€ in fees, attend the civic training day, and pick up the new carte!



New single from Beck

Beck just released a new track called “Waking Light” off his upcoming album Morning Phase, set to be released at the end of the month.

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