vendredi 27 juin 2008
Today, being one of my Fridays off, I decided that we had to go back down to the Prefecture for my tri-monthly happy happy fun time. Quick recap- we went to renew my Oct 2006 - Sept 2007 card in Aug 2007. By October had not received the Oct 2007- Sept 2008 card, and I needed it to go to China and Korea for my work, so I got a temporary recipisée for three months. Got it renewed in January. Got in again renewed in April. At the end of May I received a letter from the Prefecture. I was hoping that it was the "convocation" saying that my card was ready and to come down to the Prefecture and pick it up. Nope. They were asking for two more photos. I figured that they had lost mine. I sent in two more regular ones, the kind that you can get from one of those automated photo booths. My current recipisée expires July 3rd, so we figured that we would go today.
Alain has to go with me once a year to prove that we are still married and sign papers to that effect. Then we are able to have the file that we have to file out showing "proof" that we are still married and living together, like a bank account or something. Though how that is "proof" I don't know. I would prefer for this whole process to be shorter if they would just interview us like in the movie "Greencard" if it would mean that I didn't have to go back to the Prefecture every three months, but oh well.
Anyway, we waited in line for about an hour to get my recipisée renewed and to get the file for the next card. (will it ever end?!) We finally get to the front and the woman tells us that it is ready but that it was my fault it took so long because I didn't send in the proper photos. Well, they never specified anything about what type of photos they had to be. Alain got annoyed with her, she was speaking to us like we were children. And she cannot give us the file for the next year without my having the valid card for this year.
Anyway, she said to come back around 2 pm. However, we decided to wait anyway because we had been told before that it would be around noon. So we went upstairs to the general stuffy crowded, screaming-babies waiting room and waited for another hour.
A little before noon my name is called and I go in, and get my recipisée with a stamp on it, saying that it is good for another three months. Why they didn't make another one like the last five times, I don't know.
We asked the woman about my carte and she said that it should be ready in about a month. Also, that it wasn't a problem with the photos (format) just that they didn't scan in well.
So we will have to go back again, get the new card (which will most likely be valid for about two more months by the time I receive it) and right away get the file for next year.
After three years of one-year cards, I can get a ten-year card. Then after four years of marriage, we can start the file for me to get the nationality, which I guess takes about a year. That is, if Sarkozy doesn't change the laws for foreigners in the meantime.
Sometimes I really wish we did not live in Marseille- that way, we could go to another sous-Prefecture, such as in Aix. It might take just as long, since there is apparently only one central office that makes the cartes, but at least there wouldn't be as many people crowding around and pushing. Sometimes it is just such a struggle to live here in France. People come and visit and think it is great and how they would love to live in the South of France, but they don't see the administrative hassle- getting carte de sejours, and driving licenses, and all the rest.
jeudi 19 juin 2008
I swear, I work in the soundtrack of the Amelie movie. There are two accordion players who like to hang out right around the building where I work in Aix. They like this road in particular because it is a main road that tourists take. When they first started playing a month or so ago, I thought it was quaint and French. Now, after day after day of accordion music, it is just annoying and French. About two weeks ago I cracked and begged my boss to call the police, the "noise control" squad. They came and chased them away. Which was good for about half a day. Now I just have to put in earplugs, go into a different part of the office, or listen to my Ipod. As far as accordion players go, they aren't bad. But I think I have heard the same three songs about 30 times each now. It has become just a constant accordiony whine in my brain. I feel like asking them, "If I give you 10€, how much time of silence does that buy me?" "A day? Okay!"
Today I had a treat, there was a violin player outside.

The Day of Music, June 21st, is coming up. It is a day when everyone, talented or not, is encouraged to make music somehow- singing, blasting their radios, etc. Oh fantastic!
dimanche 15 juin 2008

dimanche 8 juin 2008
Busy doing not much.
Well, still continuing with the apartment- I have finally finished cleaning the walls and the rash on my finger is slowly fading away. Might one day be able to wear my wedding ring again.
Yesterday we went to a store and ordered an AC unit. It will be installed, hopefully, next Friday. Neither of us are big AC people- when I lived in Virginia I never needed air conditioning and went most of the summers without it. But here, I just cannot. The first two summers, I thought I would have to crawl out of my SKIN it was so hot. Last summer was tolerable, and this summer is starting out rainy, so maybe it won't be an eyeball boiler this year. Still, we decided to put one in. We can't really advance too much on our apartment until it is done, because we aren't 100% sure where they will put the pipes connecting to the outside unit, which we will have to put on our back balcony, the one that is onto the inner-courtyard and where everyone hangs their laundry. If we put on the street side, some of our neighbors would have aneurisms I believe. While that could help indirectly solve the blasting TV problem....
So next Friday, hopefully, they will come and drill lots of holes through the cement walls, making our neighbors happy, and then we will have air conditioning. The unit also does heating, but we aren't supposed to have just this unit for heating, we have to have a back-up, because it doesn't work below -2 celcius. So we will keep our large ugly radiators that have pipes running all over the place. In addition to the electric wires and water pipes. Anybody ever hear of HIDDEN pipes and wires? I guess not. Though on the other hand, I guess that would make it harder to do all the work we have been doing.
Once the AC is installed, we can order the crown molding that will be placed along the ceiling, and then I can start painting while Alain works on building a closet in our bedroom. Now we are sleeping in the medium bedroom, which is on the indoor courtyard side. It is much quieter, but I am so used to wearing earplugs that I can't not use them at night.
Work is going fine. I am so happy I stayed. (That was the thing I was struggling with a month ago).
I will have one week off in August, so we will probably go to Italy again.
Our internet connection was down for a few days, and so we spent about six hours today reinstalling the service provider, trying to fix internet explorer, etc. Finally figured out that it was our anti-virus program that was blocking it.
To everyone who has commented that I haven't responded to, I'm sorry. Will try and get caught up on everything this month. If internet works. And if I am not sitting in front of the fan, too hot to type because our air conditioning doesn't work.
Here's to a mild summer!

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