05 October 2005

I'm legal! Plus my first solo flight

First the big news -- I've got my temporary carte de séjour! What a relief. Unfortunately, we had to run the gauntlet again, so to speak. Remember that I said that we had an appointment at 9 am this morning? And how we got to jump the line? Ha ha ha ha ha. Silly, naive me. They still made us stand in line, so it took about 20 minutes to get into the building (during which time I was wondering why on earth I got up early). Then, that "appointment card" that I got turned out to be a ticket to get ... a number! Two hours later, it was my turn at the counter, where my journalistic skills of observation taught me two things:

1. The reason it takes so long to get through is because the people working there don't know how to type. If the "hunt and peck" method is a sport, then surely the employees of the commissariat de police would put together a team. (Of course, the winning team would have to be the slowest, not the fastest)

2. The woman that "helped" us on Monday enjoys her power. By random luck, we saw the same person today that gave us our so-called appointment at 9 am ... another person working there brought over someone else's appointment card and asked her what to do about it. As Colin noted, she simply said, "Ca c'est merde" (literally, "That's s**t") and ripped it up along with my appointment card. Lesson learned: we never had an appointment. They just wanted us to leave on Monday, so they told us to come back first thing on Wednesday morning when it would be ever so slightly less busy.

Moral of the story: apply for your carte de séjour on Friday afternoon, like Colin did. It took him no more than about one hour from start to finish. Grrrr.

Of course, once I had the magic piece of paper, I was grinning ear to ear! Since we had to cancel our appointment at the bank because of the wait at the police station, we decided to just eat lunch out and then enjoy the afternoon at home (i.e. I read and nap, Colin gets some work done.) We ate at a great little Chinese restaurant where we got a lot of food for only 5 euros each. I got beef with basil, and Colin got chicken with basil. The best part was the monster pile of noodles that I got with my meal -- yum yum! For dessert, we decided to stop off at a little boulangerie and get two tartelettes aux fraises (strawberry tarts). Man oh man were they good!! I think that is my absolute favorite part about France - the bakeries are just phenomenal! They have all kinds of little one-serving desserts that you can buy lickety-split, and they aren't expensive at all. I'll really have to take a picture at some point, for those of you who haven't had the chance to see them. I soooo wish we had these back in the US!

This afternoon, I ventured out on my own for the first time. I found the French version of Pier One Imports -- Pier Imports -- and bought three baskets to help organize our toiletries in the bathroom. The best part? This place is super-cheap compared to Pier One in the US. All three of the baskets -- fully lined -- were a grand total of 26 euros! I got two of the big ones, and one little one. Here's what they look like (the little one is first):

Just one of those baskets would have easily cost $15-$25 in the US, so I'm thoroughly pleased. I also got my first scarf, so that I can start to blend in with the other French women. It's very simple - just solid white with fringe - but it only cost 2 euros, so I'm proud of my second frugal find.

Tomorrow, after a REAL appointment at the bank at 9:30 am, I think we're going to go to the bigger cemetary where Jim Morrison and a bunch of other super-famous people are buried. It's been so gray and cloudy that we hate to go to any of the parks because the pictures will be so blah. Hopefully, we'll have some sunnier weather soon so that we can get some pretty pictures again!


At 5/10/05 18:50, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6/10/05 00:15, Anonymous French Cabbie said...

Hey, Amy, kudos for the blog!
And I'm glad to find out that 1) you are legal now, 2) that I made a stellar appearance on your entry for October 1st :)
Keep enjoying la ciudad-luz!
G (aka French Cabbie)


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