Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Visa Visa

So I got my visa today despite the mini hurdles that I had to overcome.

Shall we start with the guy below? Doesn't he look completely intimidating and disgruntled all at the same time? If you really hate your job all that much why not go out and find a new one? That's what I did.


For the purposes of this post I'll refer to the man pictured above as "Disgruntled Security Guard" or "DSG" for short. Being the punctual person that I am I arrived to my appointment slightly early, ok make that a full 45 minutes early. Now, after reading all of Stephen Clarke's books one thing I learned about the French is that they don't queue or stand in line. So I walked up to DSG and showed him a printout confirming my appointment and his response was "it's not 12:30", oh ok then I'll just stand here and wait until it's my designated time. Then around noon some guy drives up in a Mercedes and asks what time the consulate closes and I told him sometime around 12:30 and 1:30PM but because I was not 100% sure I checked with my bud DSG. DSG's initial response to my question was a roll of his eyes and when I repeated my question he snapped back with 12:30. Ok ok I get it DSG you don't like questions. So I continue to stand outside as it starts to drizzle and wait patiently for my appointment. 12:30PM rolls around and I walk over to the locked door of the consulate and I do the international sign language for "wtf DSG it's time to open the door and let me in" but of course he was non-responsive as he was most likely playing video games as he sat in front his computer. As 12:35PM rolls around DSG comes to the door (that's when I snapped the above photo) and he asks me "do you have an appointment" and I responded "well yes, you yelled at me less than 30 minutes ago for being too early for my appointment I'm not standing out here in the drizzling rain just for the hell of it". So he finally lets me into the building has me go through the metal detector two times and scans the inside of my purse. DSG approves my entry into the building and instructs me to proceed upstairs. I thought to myself "self, that was rough the next step should be a piece of cake" or not.

I get upstairs and I sat in the waiting area for several minutes waiting for my number to be called. After several minutes my number came up and I walked briskly and confidently to window number 4 knowing that this would be easy breezy as I had all the documents that I needed and the requisite number of photo copies. Mr. Civil Servant behind the window looks at my visa application and notices that I'm applying for a Teaching Assistant visa and then proceeds to say "parlez vous francais" and I quickly scan my brain to translate the question that he just asked me and I think to myself "girl, you're in big trouble now". He asks me several other questions in French which I can comprehend but I'm unable to respond to because I was paralyzed by fear. Then he sees the faxed copied of my arrêté and quickly switches over to English. He says to me "I cannot accept this, I need the original version. Where is the original version? Why don't you have the original version?" Mr. Civil Servant posed some very relevant questions several of which I asked myself in the recent past. Again, taking my cue from Stephen Clarke's A Year in the Merde and In the Merde for Love I did the best French shoulder shrug that I could muster. Then I proceeded to tell him that my contact in Creteil faxed the consulate a copy of my arrete because when it came to signing mine and mailing it to me they just couldn't make it happen. Mr. Civil Servant retrieves said fax peruses its contents and then says to me "well I really need the original copy, it's not my fault if you get in trouble for this." Uhm ok thanks again for doing your job. He gave me a slip of paper and told me to return between 3PM and 3:30PM to pick up my passport.

3PM rolls around and I return to the consulate. I wait in line for a few moments and am greeted again by DSG (saying that I was greeted is being overly generous). I pick up my passport and voilà I got my visa. I also met two assistants one placed in Rouen and another placed in Brittany both of which have housing provided by their schools so which means that I hate them by default...just kidding.

7 comments:

nicole said...

congrats on getting through despite the lovely people at the consulate.

Valerie said...

Your story made me laugh until I got to the "I cannot accept this, I need the original version." part, because I too have a lowly faxed arrete. I must start working on my "Mais, ce n'est pas grave" shrug for Friday's appointment. Wish me luck!

Farfallina said...

Aw!! Congrats on your visa! :) At least you were able to jump all the hurdles, and what a story with the security guard, gee!...

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

Thank you for the congratulations it's such a relief to finally have my visa and to surpass that one last hurdle (not counting packing of course).

valerie good luck on Friday, I'm sure you'll be fine with your faxed arrete.

Zannah said...

Are you sure neither of your schools have housing for you? I don't about colleges, but a lot of schools in Creteil have housing available. If it's any comfort, they're usually pretty uncomfortable rooms, nasty linoleum floors, not much light, etc - so the free housing those other assistants have is probably not something you'd want anyway!

joy suzanne said...

Big fat congratulations!!!

Anonymous said...

That is your boyfriend. He is just upset that you are leaving him for France...

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