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Wasting Time In Marseille Is Never Fun

Well today was another fun day in Marseille, NOT. The family had to go to the prefecture to change the address on our Titre de Sejour (our pass to live in France). It’s the law.

First of all, the prefecture is not a fun place to be. If any of you have gone, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t had to experience it let me tell you I would rather clean my neighbor’s bathroom than go there.

Second of all, now that we moved the Marseille prefecture is really far away (that’s a good point, as well). When we first moved to France we lived in department 13, the Bouches-du-Rhône. For our department and area we were obliged to go to Marseille in order to get our legal status taken care of. We’ve had to go several times with all kinds of paperwork and a million copies of everything before we were finally given the golden (or rather pink) pass to be here legally.

The last time we went was to pick up our Titre de Sejour. It was finally ready after many, many month of being here. At that time we knew we were going to move and we also knew that we were moving out of the Bouches-du-Rhône, so I asked the lady who gave us our Titre de Sejour if we needed to come back to change our address on our “passes” and I also let her know where we were moving to. She told me that we absolutely had to come back when we moved it was the law. I also told her that my daughter had not yet received her legal paperwork. She then said to come back anytime after July and to bring tax stamps with us and her paperwork would be ready.

Well, today was the big day. I had all my bazillion copies and all the originals. We got up early and we took of for Marseille. When we got there we had to first wait outside in a line. See, you have to make it to door #1 before you can try for door #2. The lady asked for our “justification de domcile” and our current Titre de Sejour.

I had them all ready, handed them to her and said, “Check it”. Cuz I figure I’m cool like that.

She then gave us three numbers (why a whole family can’t share one number is beyond me and lame, I might add). Then she said to go upstairs and we would be called. Onward and upward towards door #2.

The good thing is that we didn’t have to wait too long today. For some odd reason it wasn’t as crowded as it usually is. When they called us in to the “special room” we were greeted by a very nice guy. He already had our paperwork in his hands and was ready to give it back to us immediately. He explained to us that now we had to go to the prefecture in our own department. He couldn’t help us. I told him that I specifically asked the lady who helped us before about this situation and changing addresses and all and she told us to come back to Marseille. He felt bad, of course, and I did believe him. He really did try to help and explain to us exactly what we had to do, but I was upset that I had tried to get the straight answer ahead of time and it didn’t work.

To make matters worse, we tried to get Tinki’s legal paperwork (remember it was supposed to be ready after July) and the guy couldn’t find her file and paperwork anywhere. He took her passport and went looking in several places to find it. Didn’t happen. I told him that we’ve been here for almost a year and she has no legal paperwork. Then he proceeds to tell me that as long as she stays in France she will be fine.

Problem. We’re American. Our whole family lives in America. She has plans to go visit them at Christmas. If she doesn’t have her paperwork she can definitely go to the states for her visit, but I wouldn’t be able to get her back. I see this as a major issue, which I told the man, very politely. (Really I did, it was nothing against him). I told him that I really would like to have her back and this just wasn’t acceptable.

He said that he would try one more time to check in a few other places and again walked off with her passport. Dude and I just sat there thinking about what a big waste of time this was.

The guy came back a few minutes later saying he couldn’t find anything, no record what-so-ever! How could this be when we all turned in our paperwork at the same time! He gave us a document and said that we would have to fill it out on her behalf and when we go to our proper department’s prefecture we will have to turn it in and explain to them the situation. He was confident that she would receive her legal status a couple of weeks later. I hope he’s right cuz I have no faith in it.

Stuff like this is why the French always roll their eyes when you mention anything you’ve had to do involving the French administration. The eye rolling along with the, “Ooh La La” really makes you confident doesn’t it?

Well, that was my big wasted morning/early afternoon. I could have busted out a few clean neighbors’ bathrooms in the time I spent there. At least I would have felt that I had done something worth my time.

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