I have been remiss in my blog writing lately. Chalk it up to STRESS!!! I haven’t been able to keep my lips from trilling, let alone write something cognizant. Not that I haven’t started a couple of posts. It’s just that, half way through, I realize I’ve written nothing but incomprehensible dribble with no beginning, middle or end. C’est la vie in transition.
So much has been “up in the air” lately. It’s like we started to juggle several balls which just evaporated over our heads. Now we anxiously await their reappearance. Stuart and I have adopted this fascinating shoulder shrug and blank look that we make several times a day…just to remind ourselves we don’t know WTF is happening, and we just need to accept that we are “squeaky mouse toys” in the rabid teeth of God. It’s been an exercise in sensing. Do we turn left or right here? Do we proceed with x and forsake y or go through with y and hope it doesn’t make x impossible. And what about z? And what really matters? What steers the ship when there are no stars? (We’ve decided the answer is desire. Desire, and trusting our desire, is all we have to go on.)
Despite the cray-cray, I’m starting to feel more at home here. I’m starting to make friends. I’m getting a bit of a routine. I’m sleeping better. More importantly, Stuart and I are laughing more. It’s taken near a couple of months, but I dare say I’ve survived the 1st passage.
Now for the 2nd initiation…becoming official. I’ve been here two months making it time to apply for my Carte de Sejour, or residence permit. We asked a French-speaking friend to help us out with the process (may our rabid-toothed god bless French-speaking friends everywhere). While we waited to hear back from him, we began the mammoth task of gathering our paperwork in triplicate with translations. Guess we waited a bit too long though because my appointment at the prefecture isn’t until the 2nd week in August, a whole week after my visa expires. Hmm…
After our initial freakout over the fact that I’d possibly be “illegal”, we started doing our research. Would I be mercilessly tossed back to the states or would it be best to use my return flight ahead of time? Would I be fined thousands of euros? Would I be forbidden from ever returning to Europe or unable to return for 3 months if I overstayed? Would I get stuck in France unable to leave? You would think the answers would be fairly straight-forward. Wait, did I just say that? If I have learned anything so far, it is that when it comes to bureaucracy, there are no straight-forward answers!
I have one helpful person telling me to seek help at my Mairie (Mayor’s). I have another telling me to ask for an extension at the prefecture. I have other information that says I have rights as the non-EU spouse of an EU citizen and still another perspective offered that tells me to “chill” as this happens all the time, especially in summer. Yet another new friend with a sense of humor says she’ll see me when I get back from the states (tongue -in-cheek) if they let me back.
After a morning of sweating it, we have now decided not to sweat it. It’s too tiring. We have our French-speaking friend who will be on the horn the next time the prefecture is open (a very narrow “two days a week for a few hours” window for residence permits) with our remaining questions. And who knows? Maybe he’ll get some different answers or even a moved-up appointment. We’ve heard that happens depending on who you talk to around here.
We’re still hopeful. My “Carte de Sejour” ball has been tossed into the air. It is now floating invisibly through the Manisphere (that’s the atmosphere where manifestation happens), and we shall wait patiently for it to reappear hoping we don’t get cruelly bonked! Stay tuned…