Sometimes You’re the Winner, Sometimes You’re the Loser, Sometimes You’re in the Middle and Sometimes You Learn New Things
The winner today was me.
I FINALLY, after 6 months of waiting, received my new carte de titre from the French government. Back in September when this whole thing started who the heck could have ever imagined that it would take this long to get my replacement card and all because I just needed a change of address! My card wasn’t even expired. Boy did the prefecture give me a hassle, too, and it was mostly about not liking the fact that I smiled in my picture. So I went over to the local market and took a photo with a very unhappy look and guess what??!! They liked it! The actually decided to use it on my new card and voila! I have an identity card with a picture that looks like an axe murderer!
When I went over to the my town Maire today, the lady who has been helping my family get our cards was so happy that mine was finally in. She definitely knows the aches and pains since she is the one whose job it is to do all the paperwork. The only thing left for me to do is give her 19€ in tax stamps for it. Say what?? Yup. The thing cost me 19€ but nooooo, I couldn’t just whip out a check for it. She said it had to be in government tax stamps. When I asked her what window I could get those from she told me I had to go to the local gas station and get them! Really?? I can’t get government tax stamps at a government office??!! I have to go to the local Total gas station to buy government tax stamps for my government issued carte de titre? Cuz that makes sense how? Cuz I’m in France, that’s how. So tomorrow morning I will be moseying over to Total to get those things. Whatever!
The loser today was poor Dude.
For months now the prefecture has been telling the lady at the Maire that there was nothing left to do for Dude to get his new card. We never received it so I was guessing that they were waiting to send it with mine. No dice. Today she told us that they didn’t like Dude’s picture, either. It was not for the same reason as mine, though. They didn’t like the photo paper it was printed on! They also decided to add a few wants to their list. Here is what they are: a copy of his birth certificate (which they already had), a copy of the receipt that we paid our property taxes, proof that we owned our house (which they already had) and our current electric bill. Now keep in mind that they never asked for any of this for me, just for him! Whatever! So she gave Dude a temporary paper card that is good until his real carte de titre is ready. Then do you know what else she said? She told us that when we come back in to finally get his real card that we need to bring copies of everything again to start the process all over for his next card. She figured that since his is only good for 1 year at a time, we had better start on it a full year ahead of time! Really?? Why? Cuz it’s France.
Tinki was the sometime you’re in the middle winner today.
None of her stuff is ready, but we also didn’t get any negative notes on her card so I guess that puts her in the middle (no card but no bad news either). The original prefecture lost all her paperwork and we ended up having to do her whole file all over again. For her they wanted a copy of Dude and I’s marriage certificate translated in French. They didn’t ask for that for Dude and I’s cards! I turned that in a few weeks ago, but still no word. Why?? Cuz it’s France.
The cool things I learned today were:
1. There is a potentially good school for Tinki to go to. I am super excited to find out if this is going to fly cuz right now she is being home-schooled and although she meets the requirements for going to college in the states, she is not meeting any French kids (and has no desire to) and she is not learning the language. So the lady at the Maire gave me the phone number of the director of this school and told me her son goes and he really likes it. It is a Lycee Agricole and the kids there learn all about animal care and agriculture. I think Tinki will really like it. They have horses, pigs, chickens and other kinds of animals for the kids to learn about and take care of and they get to go hiking and learn how to grow their own food. I would like to sign up if I could and Dude said “ditto” for him. It sounds like fun. I am going to try to call the director tomorrow and see if we can get a tour of the school and figure out how to sign her up.
2) There is a doctor in town for us to go to. We haven’t had a need to ever go to the doctor since arriving in France so we have put off signing up for our general practitioner. In France when you find a doctor you have to register with the Caisse Maladie that he/she is your general practitioner and then they do all the paperwork so the government can pay for you and this and that. Well, we all need to have some check-ups so the lady at the Maire gave me the name of the town doctor that her and her husband go to and she said he is a nice guy. I guess we will try him out since I have no other leads. I still need to find a dentist but this is a good start.
Well, to top off my day (and this is the best part), Tinki and I played Badminton in our lovely garden for a little over an hour this evening. It was awesome! The weather was great; warm with a light breeze and the sun was still shining. We had a great time and it was the first time we have been able to play since buying the rackets and birdies. We only lost two birdies over the wall and into our neighbor’s yard so I’d say we did pretty well for ourselves seeing how we are not professional players or anything. It was lovely being in the garden and just having a good, relaxing game. I have mentioned how much I love my garden, right? Well, what’s not to love about being outside to enjoy it on a day like we had today?
After the game, it was taco’s and rice for dinner. Every once in awhile Mexican food just calls to me and tonight was the calling. Besides, it goes with my new vocabulary word that I have been saying all weekend which is “OLAY!!” Why have I been saying that all weekend you ask? Well, that’s a story for next time. I will keep you “posted”.
Today was the day to make another attempt at changing the address on our Titre de Sejour and to get Tinki’s paperwork completed. When we went to the Marseille Prefecture last week, they told us we had to go to the Prefecture in the new department that we had moved to. We had wasted a trip on that one. If you missed that post, you can read about the bad trip here.
So today we took off to see what we could (or could not) accomplish with the French administration. The day started off pretty well since the Prefecture in our department is a lot closer and it’s a lot easier to get to. It happened to be a lot less crowded, too. This was looking good.
It was also ‘park like a French person day’ for Dude. I think he’s got the hang of it.
We walked up to grab a ticket and it said that the window was closed even though we got there an hour and a half before closing time. Wow, sounds French. Since we had made the trip all the way there, we just walked right up to an open window and told the lady that we had moved and all we needed to do was change the address on our current Titre de Sejour. Do you know what she told me?? She said they didn’t do that there and that I had to go to my town Maire to get that done! Are you kidding me?? I told her that I went to the Marseille Prefecture last week (cuz that was where I got my current one) and they said to come to this one. She gave me that French “I don’t give a crap” Administration look and in all uncertain terms told me, “No, we don’t do that here. Go to your local Maire.”
Now, folks, how am I supposed to believe that when this was high end, government official, I had to go to the Prefecture a bazillion times to get the first one business??! I seriously thought she was pulling my leg and putting us off. Then I said, “What about my daughter? The Marseille Prefecture lost her file. They said I had to re-submit her paperwork here.”
She then tells me that’s true and hands me a paper to fill out and then tells me to come back with all the listed documents that were on the back (originals and photo copies). I think she just wanted me out of the way so she was sure to leave on time (in one hour and 15 minutes). Well I said to her, “Check it, babe. I have all of it.” She was like, “Everything on the list?” with a bit of an attitude. I said, “Yup” with a big smile. You see, I’ve been here long enough and been to enough government offices to know that each time you go, you need to bring a ton of copies of every flippin’ piece of identity you have PLUS all the originals.
She told me to go fill out the form and come back to her window. She wasn’t nice about it either.
After doing so, and gathering all the documents (originals and copies just like it said on the form), we walked back up to window and handed it to her. Know what?? She didn’t even want the originals! She just looked over everything in a half second and then told us that they probably wouldn’t accept the photos (you have to bring those tiny, passport size photos, too) because she said they weren’t real! I was like, “Lady, feel them. They are photos!” She said okay in a questioning way and paperclipped everything together. Then she asked me for an envelope with a stamp on it. Oh, come on! Like I carry those in my back pocket! This was something no one ever asked us before so I was unprepared. Now I gotta remember that, too??
I told her I didn’t have one and she let it slide (probably cuz her time to go was getting down to 45 minutes). Then she reminded Dude and I to go to the Maire for our situation and that we should hear something in about a month regarding Tinki’s paperwork. Au Revoir.
Dude and I went home and after lunch we took all of our paperwork and walked over to our town Maire all prepared for rejection. Well, you are never going to believe it! The lady in the office said that they could do the address change for us, no problem and that we went to the Prefecture for nothing. Thanks, cuz I hadn’t figured that one out already.
Well I happen to like my town Maire cuz the two times I’ve been there, these guys were real nice with me and patient and they helped me out. This lady was super nice and she even said that I could fill out paperwork on Dude to get his Titre de Sejour renewed and it would be ready for him at the end of the year. She gave me the paper I needed to fill out and asked for copies of our documents. Well, of course, I had those! Then she opened a file on us and we were set. I told her about what had happened with Tinki and she said that if I didn’t receive her Titre de Sejour in about a month to come on back to her office and she would take care of it. Cool beans! That was awesome!
Then after all the formalities she chatted with us a bit. I asked her if there was an archive for the town because I wanted to find out the history of the house I had just bought. She called her colleague and found the name of the guy to go see tomorrow who’s in charge of the town Patrimony and knows all things history. Boy, was I stoked and I am going to make an appointment tomorrow morning with him before going to work!
Wow! Two things accomplished in one day and all just around the corner from me. I’m liking my little country town more and more.
As Dude and I were leaving the Maire, we stopped by a tiny room they have in the back that holds some ancient relics of things dug up in the town over the years. You’re not going to believe it! They have a skeleton of a guy inside his coffin that dates back to the Middle Ages! It was so cool. Dude and I read all about the dig and looked around at the artifacts that were found. Most of them were found in the year 1988. It was really neat! They found several people buried with pottery and had a bunch of pictures on the wall that told of how life and death was during the time period of when these people were alive.
All in all, I think it was a pretty successful day and I’m feeling good right now. I finally accomplished something (even though from start to finish it was a bit of a pain) and now I get to hopefully find some information on my house.
Oh yeah! If I hadn’t gone to the Maire I would have never seen this guy.