Do you know, I've had this melody spinning around in my head for a while, and I think I'm starting to conjure up a few lyrics too. "Ooohh-oh, I'm an alien". Someone should write a song about that - someone did? Sting? Oh damn, I thought I was on to a good thing there. But guess what, I really am a legal alien in France now! Yep, I had my appointment today in Annecy to do the necessary and it all went swimmingly! For important things I tend to set off chronically early and of course getting my carte de séjour (cds) (residency papers) in order is probably the most important thing on my (non)jam-packed agenda right now. They had only asked for my passport and two "South American drug mule" photos and everything should be in order, but being just a tad anally retentive I grabbed a whole bunch of other stuff (almost needed a Sherpa to carry them) and set off for Annecy. Annecy is the "capital" city of Haute Savoie - and very beautiful it is too. So I was feeling pretty smug when I arrived there one hour ahead of time thinking I could just have a wander around. Well that was until I realized that half of Annecy is dug up with road works and I was "deviated" ("detoured"? sounds better doesn't it) all over the place until I ended up at Galleries Lafayette and decided to park there anyway and walk. Now Annecy is a city but it's really not very big - just labyrinthine - so I knew I wouldn't have very far to walk either way. After I started going through Galleries Lafayette I asked a young security guard ("mask and sanitiser obligatory") how to get to the Préfecture and he very kindly took me down to street level and showed me where to go. Sadly, I hate to think I look that much of an old biddy that I needed help - I prefer to think he was just a very kind, but bored, young man!
On the way there I noticed green signs painted on the sidewalk saying "masks are obligatory", and also on billboards all around town. I had my mask on anyway but as I learned from André when I got back home, different municipalités have different rules, as defined by the Mayor, so in Annecy it was mandatory masks everywhere. When I got to the Préfecture they couldn't find my name on the appointment list despite my email rdv (please tell me they don't still have me under my married name), but they added my name there and then and told me to wait. Well all in all it took about 20 minutes for me to be called in to the very efficient young woman who was handling all the expat Brit shrapnel. And yes, she did indeed only need my passport and mugshot (so no proof of income or medical coverage then). All in all it took about 10 minutes and I was done. While I was waiting I asked her if Brexit had caused them a lot of work and she just laughed. Apparently so far they have issued over 3,000 Brit permits in this area alone, and that's not counting anyone who arrived after 31 December, or people like my friends and my kids who have so far not received a rdv! So considering the extra workload, all I can say is hats off to them, they've done a good job. And I should get my permit in a couple of weeks!
After that I decided to have a wander around Galleries Lafayette (because "sales" you see) and got drawn into the babywear section. Trouble was, I don't know the sex of my soon-to-be grandchild and most of the clothes they had were pretty sex-specific. In the end I fell in love with a complete set of gender-neutral baby clothes that were soft as a baby's bottom. When I got to pay for them, however, I found out they were cashmere and cost the equivalent of two weeks' groceries. What? Did they have a Himalayan virgin milk the goat (yak?) that produced that wool? Oh well, whatever. It's for my Biboo. It will be the one and only really expensive thing that baby gets from me because I know (hope) mom and dad will be sensible enough to dress that baby in second-hand clothes so that Biboo can get dirty and nobody cares - yeah I know, that'll be the case! Give me The Little Rascals any day!
Once I receive my resident's permit I can go ahead and request citizenship. And even though that will likely take a couple of years (it's a possibility, not a right), I will still go ahead with my request even if I keel over on my zimmerframe on the very same day they hand me my citizenship paperwork. Hell, I've told me kids if I die to bury me with both a French and British flag - but to make sure they get that whisker on my chin before they decide to have an open casket viewing!
In other news, I have to say that I started this blog because I wanted to have a record of my life to look back on after I was pushed to do so by a lovely English lady I met in Turkey in 2010 (I hope she's still belly-dancing and singing in Welsh at 91) and Chris in Cuba (lying in the sea knocking back Cuba Libres was when she really convinced me to start my blog). Hell knows my kids don't seem interested, but hopefully one of my grandkids might like to read it someday. It doesn't matter to me how many "hits" I get, but goodness knows how much my life has been enriched by "meeting" people from all over the world. But still, I wrote this blog for me - a kind of personal diary if you like. So it's been odd seeing so many new people commenting on my blog lately but ladies (and gents) all I can say is welcome to my blog. I hope you stick around, and if you have your own blog please let me know so I can hop over to your world. One of my lovely new commenters (commentators?) mentioned that she, like me, lives alone and that I seem to have been through a rough time. Well yes I did. My marriage was a living hell for about 15 years and I honestly didn't expect to survive it. But I did, and, thanks be to God, I no longer hate my ex-husband. It's one thing to be divorced and eternally grateful to be so, it's another thing to be widowed or having to deal with the very real grief of living with someone who is so very, very ill and being, essentially, alone. So yes, I live alone (well as soon as I can get rid of my kid) and am very happy to do so. For many years I hated my ex-husband. But you know what, the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference, and I've been indifferent to him for a good few years. And goodness knows that makes life easier. I blew a fuse the other day when I read what his skank had "testified" about my abusing him financially, but it took all of 10 minutes to calm down because in the end, who cares what irrelevant people think. As they say, "Why wrestle with a pig? You get covered in shit and the pig enjoys it"!