13 December 2006
Because I like being kicked in the head…
Today started out simple enough. No, it started out simpler than I’ve know life to be in almost three years. Marc and I woke up and got dressed and left the house. Notice anything missing? Yeah! No getting the kids ready. They were at Granny’s house and boy did that make the morning go easier.

Marc and I went out the night before like a normal, sane couple. We. Went. Out. And the world didn’t stop, or fall off it’s orbital path. Death and destruction haven’t befallen us. It’s amazing. And what’s more, we went out and ate Indian food—granted it was because the French restaurant of choice wouldn’t seat us—and Marc actually liked it! Well, aside from the ‘there’s no bread’ fiasco we have to deal with every time we eat anywhere remotely ethnic. Even at the “Mexican” place he’ll beg for bread. It’s sad. But he ate Indian and LIKED IT. Like REALLY liked it, meaning we may eventually go back for take-out (because it’s cheaper and hey, one can have bread at home). Hope exists in the universe.

So, back to this morning. Off we went, in different directions of course, because let’s face it, not everything is going to change in a day. Marc had another all-day meeting, in Chalons this time, and I had an important visit with The Tank—the nurse mid-wife who has seen me through two successful pregnancies and never ceases to crack me up. Sometimes I think I got pregnant again just to have an excuse to visit with her.

All’s fine in baby land. Today’s visit was more about explaining the process of having a baby at that particular hospital and as this is my third turn in as many years, we spent our time talking more about the babies I have at home than things like epidurals and breast feeding. She, at least, unlike certain others of you out there who refused to believe me, remembers what a NIGHTMARE the little Tigger-ette thing was in the beginning, and let me just add if I may, that given the number of babies this woman sees delivered in a year, that is some kind of feat. So PBBBBLTH to those of you who refused to believe what a nightmare she was, because SHE WAS. (past tense, AMEN)

After that, because I just didn’t get enough of French Red Tape and Bureaucratic Stupidity while dealing with my Carte de Séjour Nightmare lo these many years ago, I drove into Chaumont for a visit to the Tribunal d’Instance to start the (let’s hope less-nightmarish) process of obtaining French nationality. The lady with whom I spoke was nice and polite and very helpful and even though she refused to accept any of the paperwork I’d brought along to get things going, I was grateful for it. See, she’d explained that they’d heard of all the CdS nightmares and tried to make sure the dossier was as complete as possible before accepting it. “Nous essayons de faire plus simple ici Madame.” What?! Someone who actually tries to make sense? Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. She did complement me on my French and also explained that while the number of children we have has no official bearing on the outcome of my case, the fact that the third one is now well under way does seem to point out that this isn’t another one of those marriages for citizenship things. Uh, no. I just want to help assure my children’s future. Good line? I hope so.

So I again find myself in the quagmire of French Bureaucracy. Color me glutton for punishment. I keep telling myself I only have to do this once and then it’s over. No more stupid people at the sous-prefecture, no more screaming ‘You can’t have the original of my divorce! It stays at the courthouse in the USA!”, no more trying in vain to explain to a French civil servant that outside of France things do indeed work differently and the world hasn’t ended yet. I can do this. Right?
posted by Doc at 02:38 | Permalink |


  • At 05:37, Anonymous Alison

    Oooh, enjoy the process. We had to go for an interview with the Renseignements Généraux after I applied for nationality. I felt like we were in the movie Green Card!

    But you're absolutely right: once you're done with this, you're done. Membership has its privileges. ;-)

  • At 08:51, Blogger Wendz in France

    Oh bum - it's that difficult to get nationality? Oh bum bum bum. I want it one day too.

    Cannot believe Marc liked the Indian...hope does indeed exist.

  • At 09:12, Blogger meredith

    Absolutely fed up with the CdS crap, I went to the TGI for my french nationality and found them very nice and helpful. Other than having to get fingerprints sent to the FBI to prove that I was not a criminal hiding out and doing the interview like Alison, it was a rather painless process. I only went once for the orginal paperwork, once for the fingerprints, once for the interview, and the last time was to turn in the dossier. Four little visits, and voilà I am french and never have to go to the prefecture again, well, at least not for the CdS.

  • At 10:04, Blogger Jennifer

    I have only just started the process of getting my CdS and my god, what a nightmare. I'm not even halfway done. My blood pressure doubles (at least) before I go there because WHY does it have to be so ridiculously bureaucratic?! There's no reason for it! Well, anyway, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one and they're not just out to get ME or something!

  • At 13:25, Blogger samdebretagne

    Hey Doc, I replied back on my blog as well, but I think you get the casier judiciaire from the Consulate/Embassy...at least that's where my Columbian friend got hers from when she applied for citizenship.

    I'll be applying as well as soon as I'm eligible (ie. in 2008).

  • At 18:20, Blogger Nicole

    Why do all of you want the citizenship anyway, if you don't mind me asking? Are there really advantages to it? Other than voting, I mean. I was just planning on riding it out without it. I've got a resident card and work permit and all that and the kids are both French and American citizens so what's the value-add?

  • At 20:01, Anonymous pinkjellybaby

    totally irrelevant... but i LOVE your blog design! it's wonderful

  • At 00:06, Blogger Doc

    Nicole, don't worry. I imagine I'll probably end up asking myself why Why WHY! indeed. For me, it's purely economic. Like Sam, I'm attached to one of those damn tractor drivers and should anything ever happen to him with the state of politics surrounding anything agricultural in France, the family farm is gone. I wouldn't be able to hold onto it for even a day because there are no non-French allowed in their little exclusive club. Once my monkeys are all in school, I'd like to actually work in the national education system, pass the CAPES and get a 'real' job. Again, reserved only for French nationals. And more pressing, and probably more likely than me ever getting motivated enough do pass any kind of exam, the idea of me taking over some little mom and pop shop somewhere will be nine billion times easier if I'm French, especially if there's a liquor license or, God forbid, a tabac connected to the deal--tabacs are another exclusive all-French club. I gain so many more opportunities with the little piece of paper than without it, and since I don't have to give up my American nationality to do it, I see only good things. I'll be French as far as France is concerned (thus no more trips to the sous-pref to renew that evil CdS every ten years, dealing with their crap because they change the rules more often than some folks change their undies, and who doens't want that?) and American as far as the Americans are concerned. For me, it's the best of both worlds.

  • At 06:16, Anonymous Deb

    I really hope you are able to obtain your French nationality easily enough. I have heard that it is quite a lengthy process. Everything from obtaining FBI criminal background checks, to your parents birth certificates.

    Not that it's the main reason that you are staying in France, but I guess it helps to have more children huh? ;o)

  • At 09:46, Blogger ohlala

    I missed getting mine because Sarkosy changed the law 6 DAYS before my wedding date and I done the entire dossier which is about as hard at the CdS (another nightmare each year that I still have to do). They told me if you have French kids that your dossier gets looked at first so in 6 months rather than a year ;)

    Ohhh, Indian, yum! Did he get Naan bread? That is how I get my Frenchie to go...he loves Indian food.

    Anyways, I read your blog all the time and have left a long ass comment before but Blogger ate it! I hope that this one works!!