Thursday, February 14, 2013

La carte de 10 ans

Woo to the hoo. Boo to the yah. Remember that post on the préfecture back at Halloween? Well just as Halloween represents all things scary, Valentine's Day is all about spreadin' the love, right? And a little lovin' from the préfecture comes in the form of my 10 year residency card. You see, let me back up a bit. Last fall, we trekked out to our favorite local butt-ugly skyscraper to renew my residency card. The way it works here is that first you're given something that has all the officialness of looking like a computer printout with your pic stapled on the front (classy, I know). 
Normally, for a one year card, you're given a date as to when to come pick up the real deal plastic version (usually about 4-6 months later). Only I wasn't given a date--this time I got to be part of the special applying for my 10 year card club, which of course, comes with special rules. The biggest one being that we were going to get a surprise visit by the police at any moment during the next 4 or so months. Fun huh? Apparently they get a bit skittish about us foreigners marrying Frenchies--marrying for the 'green card' and all that jazz. Personally I don't see the point really--what they've got going on at the préfecture is enough to scare away all but the most desperate or truly in love individuals. Not that they really want my opinion though--I can't even vote yet. 

Here be that card in all its glory: (yes, that is my tough afraid)

So months start rolling by and no police visit. Until one evening I'm looking out my front window and see a cop car pull to a stop just in front of our building. Considering we live with a bunch of retirees whose only violence consists of reprimanding neighbors for putting the recycling in the wrong bin or hosting a barbecue, I know they must be here for me. (Well technically us, but heck I'm married to a pastor so unless they wanted to wait around until 11ish they were going to just have to put up with only half of the Sanders duo)

I see four cops pile out of the car and walk into my building. Instantly my thoughts frantically jump to the question asked by all women out there, at some point in their life: is. my. apartment. clean? No. The answer is a big resounding no. Forget the fact that I now sound like every mom I ever knew while growing up (and of course swore I wouldn't be like when it came to that); I am not about to be spreading the lie that we Americans are messy pigs so I start frantically shoving stuff away left and right. Finally satisfied and a bit on the sweaty side, I look out the window again only this time to catch them heading back out into the car and driving away.

More time goes by and this time our drama comes in the form of a letter. Now we need an official marriage document produced within the last three months validating the marriage. The catch? We have 15 days to provide it or else the préfecture will essentially dump our file in the bin (paraphrasing a bit...). Fast forward one overnight FedExed 70 dollar document from the states, a couple weeks later and we get a new letter. No, the document is not the correct one, we need to provide one from some government agency in Brittany, France and once again we have 15 days. Only slight dilemma: we can't overnight FedEx this time and the delay it took for us to get the letter only gives us a few days. I try not to hyperventilate while Matt writes the préfecture an official letter stating essentially that we're working on it and can you please get off our backs?

   How do you like my mugshot? Yes, you're actually required to make your official photo as jail-timesk     as possible... 

So we get it. We send it. And then we hear nothing. Eventually my paper printout is ready to expire. So off we go again to ask what the deal is, fully expecting to get a new printouty thing and be told that we have another 5 months to wait for the police. Imagine our surprise when we find out that my 10 year card is ready and has just been chilling there waiting for us to come and give it a home? Thankfully I was too grateful and excited to chide them about the whole not telling us at all that it was ready. Yes, the préfecture fairy works in mysterious ways...

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