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"!
I think it's good not to hate one's ex. I know quite a number of people who are divorced who seem to have developed a divorced relationship which isn't quite friendship, but more of an understanding of the commonality between them.
Thanks Dave. I no longer hate my ex, I'm indifferent to him. Actually, I may even wish him well - I just don't wish to ever see him again.Delete
Congrats on your "alien" status! I like that saying about wrestling with a pig...I'm going to remember that one, when my dh is worried about what others think.ReplyDelete
It took me a long time to learn that believe me. But seriously, say I hated your husband because XXXX Why the hell would he care? I'm nothing to him. So he could shut me off and not "wrestle that pig" any time soon right! Good luck!Delete
oh and the baby clothes....I told my dd that if/when she ever has a baby our shared Amazon prime account order history is going to be full of baby stuff. Be prepared for packages just showing up at her house, LOLDelete
Hey I KNOW this baby will be everything to me. However I know I will love on my little munchkin in second-hand clothes to the moon and back! Because that's how it should be, Munchkin needs to be loved on. If it were up to me, all Biboo's clothes would be second-hand, but I realize I might be going too far for new parents!Delete
when my dd was a baby/toddler she had a lot of second hand clothes I got at yard sales or goodwill and I always got compliments on how cute she was dressed. I particularly remembering finding a pair of black mary jane dress shoes at Goodwill that looked like they had never been worn. Paired with a cute dress I found and she looked adorable at the banquet we had to attendDelete
Congratulations-one more step done. Second hand clothes for kids rule! I remember dressing my youngest in the cutest little Tommy Hilfiger colored tee and little denim Guess skirt when she was about 20 months, for child care. She loved this as then she was a little clothes horse and very particular as a toddler, then preschooler, about her clothes, preferring dresses and skirts. I picked her up, and the staff was a little sheepish and she comes running to me from the play ground so happy... and filthy! She had evidence of her lunch down her shirt because she had prematurely taken her bib off, and was covered in playground dirt and grime. The teacher was so sorry-couldn't get her and another child away form a dirt mound, and were nervous I was going to be mad because of her expensive clothes. I made sure they knew that 1, I'd never send her to child care in clothes she couldn't fully play in, and 2, the clothes were probably third hand-not even second hand!ReplyDelete
My kids grew up with second-hand clothes, not because we were poor but because I knew they needed to be free to play and get dirty, and it worked. It's not very "French" but I will struggle on! Thankfully my daughter-in-law seems to feel the same, so Biboo will be allowed to play and to hell with the consequences!Delete
Gosh, one step closer to citizenship! Hey, you can't travel right now so "investing" in baby clothes is where its at :)ReplyDelete
I no longer need to get citizenship since I have residency. But I consider myself lucky to live in France and while they may be crazy on occasion, I would consider myself lucky to be French!ReplyDelete
Congratulations on that huge step checked off on the Big List! You have done it!ReplyDelete
I know that new babies should have a few new things. It's just nice. But after that- bring on the hand-me-downs! My daughters belong to FaceBook groups that offer exchanges in clothing and it's a beautiful thing. I remember when I was a young mother and we hippies passed around bags of clothing which was lovely because it was so fun to see other children wearing things that brought back memories of when our babies and kids wore them. And there are consignment shops where parents can sell their baby things and kid things from toys to clothes to beds to strollers and other parents can buy them at a greatly reduced price. Works out for everyone.
I, too, am glad that you blog!
Jen already has quite a few baby things her friends have passed on and I absolutely agree with second-hand clothes - at least when they're really little as they don't spoil them anyway. Same with toys. They have a "toy library" here (they call it a ludotec in French, but my English is getting shot to pot right now) and I think if you give them just a few toys rather than hundreds of toys they actually play with them. Even better, a huge cardboard box right?Delete
Youdidn't need food for the next two weeks anyway, right?ReplyDelete
A two-week fast probably wouldn't do me any harm Kylie!Delete
I would buy little whoozit something fabulous also! My kids wore hand me down clothes almost exclusively but the first grandchild is different.ReplyDelete
Yeah you for your resident alien status! Next step citizenship?
I agree about the grandchild bit (of course I do) but Jen is sensible too. And yep I'm going for citizenship, even if it takes a few years (looking at about three at the moment). Those years will pass whether I apply or not but I feel strongly about getting back the rights I had before Brexit (which I never got to vote on either and yet look how it affected a million expat Brits in Europe). Even better, I would finally be allowed to vote somewhere (I wasn't allowed to vote in the UK after 15 years away but at least I could vote in the European elections). This way I would get to vote in French elections also!Delete
Congratulations on your residency status!!! I moved to Canada when I was 10, so I got residency status THEN I got citizenship because if your parents do the test and you're under 16, once they pass - you do too. I am so glad about that, haha.ReplyDelete
Also, that pig saying is so true - kinda like if you lay with a dog, you're sure to pick up some fleas!
I think having a Canadian passport is a pretty good thing to have isn't it. And hey, I see you've started a blog! Good for you, I'll add you to my reading list!Delete
Congrats on your residency. I didn't realise that there were so many Brits in France. Just googled it! Love the opposite of hate, indifference, so true. Who cares? Let the pigs play alone.ReplyDelete
I had a mix of second hand (third, fourth!) and new. Some things, like the soft outfit, just grab you.
Hi Lucinda, while I'm all for second-hand I really didn't want the first thing I ever give that baby to be second-hand. After that no problems. My friend once saw Jordan in a jacket (that he loved) which she had given to me - which had been given to her by a friend, which .... We reckoned that jacket must have been about 20 years old at the time and still going strong! And yep, there are around 1 million expat Brits in the EU and 3 million EU citizens in the U.K. so you can imagine how thrilling this has been for all of us!Delete
Thankfully, my son and his wife and daughter and her husband do not mind yard sale clothes. The things I sent them were like new but dirt cheap.ReplyDelete
Quite right too. My niece is on a FB group in England and they sell on entire bags of children's clothes for about £5 a bag and most of the clothes are just beautiful!Delete
Well done on your new status (trust antennae, swivel eyes or green hair are not obligatory). Meanwhile as an English woman abroad, the most I could ever afford in Annecy was a postcard, but beautiful memories of the walk around the town and the lake still linger.ReplyDelete
I don't think anyone would bat an eyelid at green hair to be honest, but yes, Annecy is just stunning isn't it! Especially the old town!Delete
My brother was an alien. He was born in India when my father met my mother and married there during WW2. He came to the UK on a troop ship as an addition on mums passport. My dad had told him there was no birth certificate do he had a fight on his hands to get a British passport. I found my brothers birth certificate when going through old paperwork when dad died. My brother was given a UK passport.ReplyDelete
People that are in that situation have a tough time of it. My friend (British) married a Chilean (long time ago) and at the time a British woman could not pass on her citizenship (that's patriarchy for you) and since her kids weren't born in Chile either her first born was actually stateless. Eventually it was sorted but .... My kids are both British through me (also American) but my grandchild can't claim it as second generation born outside the UK doesn't have the right. But at this point it's up to my kids what they do anyway. And this is the second time I've been an alien - I had a green card until 1992 so I guess Interpol probably have my fingerprints already right?Delete
Congrats legal alien! And thanks for the post title, I will now have that song running around my head and I'm good with that!ReplyDelete
Cashmere baby clothes? That they'll outgrow in weeks?? Come on!!
And I'm glad you blog because I get to see and know another part of the world, and another person's experiences and find out that all the way across the globe, you and I both love a Sting song!
Sorry about the ear worm Bob, but I've been humming that song all day too! If you want a really beautiful song to hum along to check him out singing at the opening of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah - How Fragile We Are! He (they) were just fantastic. As for the cashmere, ha ha, I hadn't even looked at the tag. I was carrying my coat, my purse and a truckload of papers (well that's my excuse). When the world's slowest cashier rang them up I almost fell over but .... not being able to travel for a year has saved me a fortune so I hope you'll forgive me this time. And I agree with you about blogging, it's nice to see how other people live isn't it! (Hope you've been kind to Carlos this week)!Delete
Well done...another thing done to cross of your list..you are a list lady are you not?. I think buying one 'good' thing is fine but after that 'pre loved' all the way. When my grand daughters were born I bought them both some premium bonds (remember those?) as the 'main gift' and hope that they prove useful.ReplyDelete
I'm very much a list lady thankfully as I couldn't imagine going through this as disorganized person. To be honest, I hadn't realized how expensive that outfit was because I was lugging around a thick winter jacket, my bag and files so I just thought "oh that's nice, I'll take it". It was a mistake but .... After that second-hand all the way!Delete
Eek, cashmere! I once made a similar error, in Harrods in London. When I was pregnant with my first, hubby had to work in London for two months and he would only be home for weekends or his company would pay for me to travel to London so off I went for a week and during the day while he was working I got buses all round London and found myself at Harrods. It was absolutely amazing, I'd never seen anything quite like it and of course I had to buy the baby an outfit. I picked up a lovely little yellow fine wool set and only when I had to pay for it did I realise it was going to cost about a weeks wages!! I was too embarrased to walk away so it was bought and worn about twice! That said, my baby is now 41 and I still have the outfit wrapped in paper in the attic and I did use it on my other two and oh how I loved it! Wouldn't do that again though!!ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your alienship. I hope your citizenship comes through sooner rather than later, but it will be a relief to have that certificate of residency in the meantime.
Meanwhile, stay out of the mud! xx
It's good to see it's not just me that gets caught out by the expensive baby clothes!!!! I wrapped it all up and the shop gave me a voucher to put in with it that will allow Jen to take it back if she wants and spend the money on something else (although the voucher doesn't give the price). In the end I don't mind either way as, like you, I would keep certain baby things that I treasured (their baby shoes being one). I actually have a rather tatty old baby bonnet that my mother-in-law had for my ex-husband and I did indeed put it on my kids a few times, even if it was obviously very old. And I also kept those jackets my mom made. Jen's pretty sentimental so ... but, like I say, in the end, it's up to her/them! I guess it's just as well I've never been to Harrods huh!Delete
Congratulations on being an alien.ReplyDelete
I remember being young and wanting everything brand new and shiny and now, now I realize that brand new is a waste and shiny ends up covered in shit.
I love the quote about wrestling the pig! I'll have to remember it.
One of my favorite quotes is, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and nobody thinks theirs' stinks.
You're absolutely right Lily. I think as we get older we realize that what other people think about us is totally irrelevant, hence the pig and the AH quote!Delete