26 January 2006

Jeudi Gras

For foreign women, getting the carte de séjour is a lot like Mardi Gras in New Orleans: flash your boobs at a couple of key people, and voilà! They throw it at you!

OK, I'm exaggerating. Slightly. As you might guess, I finally got my residency card today. Colin has already explained the process in a previous posting (and been harrangued about the cheesy photo I took of him on the same day), so I'll skip re-explaining the sequence. I will say, however, that this place was the model of efficiency -- very un-French! Even though the process went very quickly for me, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did speaking French. I'm not sure if it's because the employees there are used to poor French and knew how to speak incredibly clearly, or if my three-hour conversation with Isabelle earlier today doubled as a prep session. Either way, I rocked!

Anyway, I only had to show my "Golden Globes" to four people: three people in the X-ray room, and one doctor a few minutes later. I'm not sure why, but I was bound and determined not to be embarrassed about being topless in the doctor's office. So, when my little door opened up, I just stood up straight, fought the urge to cross my arms over my chest, and walked over to the machine. After all, it's not like the three women in that room were seeing anything new, right?

The second time I took my shirt off, I was allowed to keep my bra on. Like the first time, it was very quick and efficient: I walked into the doctor's office and closed the door; she told me to take my shirt off. I made sure to clarify that this is what she actually wanted before acting because the last thing I wanted was to take off my shirt only to have her look up and say, "What are you doing? I asked you for your passport!"

The odd part of the whole experience was that the doctor immediately told me to take my shirt off, but didn't examine me right away. Instead, I sat - in my bra - in her guest chair across the desk from her and answered questions. The first request was to confirm my birthdate, which is a bit tricky because I had to work out how to say 1977 in French (mille neuf-cent soixante-dix-sept) under unusual conditions. (Hey, my French teacher never made me take off my shirt before saying numbers, so I wasn't properly trained for this!) After several questions about my health and a short lecture on the fact that I hadn't had any vaccine booster shots since I was a kid, she finally came over and listened to my lungs. Just as the X-ray on the wall showed, my lungs were completely free and clear of tuberculosis.

At long last, my mountains of paperwork, translations and photocopies has been reduced to a little plastic card that proves my worthiness to the French government upon request. Just to spite them, I think I'll go get infected with tuberculosis! (Wait, maybe that's not the best way to get back at the government for all of the long lines, ridiculous paperwork, and pointless meetings.)


At 27/1/06 05:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you had to do to get residency in France is show your Golden Globes to 4 people?! Perhaps that is the reason (not your excellent conversational French) why the process went very quickly for you! Which begs the question: what did Colin show people in order for him to get residency so easily???

-Bill Cornelius Ludwig Trogdon

At 27/1/06 21:33, Anonymous Rachel said...

Go Amy! I knew you could do it. You really should try to stay longer; milk all you can from the system after all the stuff you've gone through; you're officially a Parisian for a year!!

At 29/1/06 21:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness, you finally get to stay there (longer than 4.5 months).


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