Hello out there! I’m back! Internet was cut off at our place for no apparent reason, some technical problem that couldn’t be explained and had to be dealt with by making more than a few fun calls in our macaroni French and waiting and waiting while we took a trip back to the 20th century a time when we weren’t all connected at all hours. Ah yes, the return to a life without internet – such a surprise. Suddenly, evenings became a bit longer, French grammar books returned to the desk and verb conjugations were back in practice, and we caught up with French TV programming. Really, being sans internet was really just an inconvenience, but not to be able to connect with family and friends back home and online – so important to me living abroad – not being able to get work done and emails answered, not being up to date with what is happening in the world… it was a looong week to say the least. The world has changed, and so have we.
Aside from internet withdrawals, we were getting crazy due to the lack of interest and answers on the part of the responsible company. The idea of having to enter, yet again, the labyrinth of endless paperwork, offices and waiting that is bureaucratic France was more than we could bear. As any other ex-pat can tell you, the trials of getting a carte sejour, an apartment, and a driving license in France involve endless lines, wasted mornings in tiny, sweaty waiting rooms, ID pics that get worse every year, and the answer “C’est très bizarre” about lost files. In less than two years living here copies of all of my ID paperwork have disappeared bizarrely, we’ve become BFF’s with the people at the CAF who in two years haven’t stopped their correspondence requesting another paper that is now needed for our file (we still have no concrete answer from them about our request), and I’ve been waiting to get my American driver’s license transferred to a French license for over 9 months-no one knows when it will be done due to a huge delay in the department. Of course, living in another country is bound to have its trials, and here in France the paperwork and bureaucracy is far more complicated than even Kafka could have imagined… but, at least we can snack on baguettes, and croissants, and delicious pastries while we wait.
So, all’s well that ends well, we didn’t get too lost in the labyrinth of French paperwork and we’re back online (albeit a few megas slower than before). And, as I am one to always look on the bright side last week was a chance to disconnect, to really focus on the people and spaces around me, to completely emerge myself in the French culture…maybe we should try to make a point of disconnecting more often. But, for now, I’m happy to be back and can’t wait to share some more ideas and experiences with you! À trés bientôt!