Ok, to recap my past 11 months living here in France…
October: Moved back to the land of the frogs after a summer in Ohio. Spent the month being tortured by French bureaucracy.
November: Finally reached the end of three months of France’s idea of torture: expensive bureaucratic paperwork hell. Note that this was only round 1 (paperwork for visa and marriage) of my paperwork battle with France. After barely surviving round 1, I got married on November 22. Had a very small wedding at the town hall of the KB. Celebrated Thanksgiving with the Frenchies.
December: Honeymoon in Prague. Began round 2 of the paperwork battle (carte de séjour); discovered it would be postponed for nearly THREE months. Christmas markets, hot wine, yummy treats. Spent Christmas chez moi in the KB with the hubby and the in-laws. Was super sick and barely able to move on Christmas day. Proceeded to get everyone else ill. Spent New Years with friends and passed out early.
January: Wasted away in my apartment with no money and no job. Michelle and Lindsay visited. Left for a trip to Eastern Europe. Visited Hungary, Romania, Austria and Slovakia.
February: Returned from Eastern Europe. Continued round 2 of the paperwork battle - went to the sous-préfecture, suffered hours of waiting in line and applied for the carte de séjour (finally). Received my récépisse. Began the torture of looking for a job. The in-laws visited.
March: Turned 26. Continued looking for a job. Suffered the worst interview ever with the crazy American bitch. Wasted away in my apartment in front of my computer writing cover letters and sending out resumes.
April: My parents visited. Went to the south so they could meet my in-laws. Spent 4 days at their house in La Teste. Continued looking for a job. Suffered a series of unsuccessful interviews. Began round 3 of the paperwork battle: la sécu (social security)
May: Continued looking for a job. Continued wasting away at my apartment. More unsuccessful interviews. The sister-in-law visited from Thailand. Went to the sous-préfecture. Suffered hours of lines and received a new récépisse. Dreamt of moving. Dreamt of a trip to the States. Dreamt of having a job. Finally found a job (humiliating under-the-table misery). Worked two days and was fired because I had to go to a wedding. Went to the wedding in Bretagne. Drank FAR too much. Contemplated bleak, career-less future.
June: Continued looking for a job. FINALLY had my medical visit for my carte de séjour. Said goodbye to MB for the summer. Received my postcard informing me that my carte de séjour was ready and would cost me 300 euros (a very expensive end to round 2 of the paperwork battle). FINALLY found a job teaching business English. Had hope of eventually moving. Started working at the end of the month. Wasted away bored at home until the end of the month. My aunt and uncle visited. Did the tourists sites in Paris with them.
July: Worked. Finally. Had a little money so hung out with friends. Saw some movies. Actually got out of the apartment. Went to the sous-préfecture and suffered hours of lines. Payed 300 euros (ridiculously expensive considering all the misery they put you through!!!) and got my carte de séjour. Began round 4 of the paperwork battle: the driver’s license exchange. Started planning wedding number 2 American style.
August: Left on vacation. Went to La Teste and stayed with the in-laws for two weeks. Enjoyed the beach, canoeing, biking through the forest, the lake, the boat, the port, the festivals, the food, the wine. Saw some good movies. Visited St. Emilion. Visited Lionel’s grandfather. Met Lionel’s aunt and uncle. Reluctantly returned from vacation and started back at work. Continued planning wedding number two. Set a date for the wedding – Dec. 19 in Ohio! Possibility of moving becoming more and more likely, perhaps before the end of 2009!
And there you have it. The extremely exciting past 11 months of my life in France: boredom, misery, very little money and very little hope. But things are finally looking up and it can only get better from here! I have steady employment, a great Frenchie in my life, hope for the future and things to look forward to!