We’ve settled comfortably into a new routine. The biggest adjustment has been not going to work. For a very long time we’ve both known exactly what to expect from the next day, month, year, even decade. That kind of certainty comes heavily spiced with tedium but it’s also served up with a heaping helping of security.

It’s exciting to look ahead now and see a blank slate, exciting and frightening. We can imagine the future we want. We can see it, smell it and taste it. There’s Neal happily tapping away at the keyboard. He’s sold two novels and is negotiating a third. Diane is getting ready for yet another opening at Le Château d’Eau and do I smell Toulousain cassoulet in the air?

Of course the flip-side to the limitless possibilities is that it’s all up to us to make it happen. The good thing about a tedious J O B is that they take so little effort, 90% of it was just showing up. We’ve both been self-employed before and remember the effort it took. Add a foreign country to the mix and we will no doubt be pushed outside of our comfort zones!

But we need to get to that foreign land first. We’ve been crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s in an effort to wow the French bureaucracy with our paperwork acumen. I suspect we are punching above our weight…

Our meeting with the French Consulate is in one week. The consulate is not exactly a fount of information (what you see on the website is what you get). In the absence of information we turn to the internet, where rational discourse from reasonable people abounds. What we discovered is that obtaining our Visas will be simple/impossible and that we need to have either $3,000 or $1,000,000 in our pockets to even be considered for entry into the country.

Having no luck with official sources or via crowd-sourcing, we will start with providing everything on the “requirements for a long-stay visa” checklist.

  • Receive appointment confirmation
  • Fill out application form
  • Provide ID photos
  • Copy of passport
  • OFFI form with “Rubrique à remplir lors de la demande de visa” completed
  • Letter of motivation
  • Written statement that we will not attempt to take a French person’s job
  • Bank statement showing our expected contribution to France’s GDP
  • Proof of lodging (Really? Before we get there?)
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Marriage certificate

Things started to go south with the passport photos and really took a dark turn with the marriage certificate. We needed my mother here to handle the glue. “Attach ID photos to application” sounds simple enough. It went something like this:

“Do we staple it?”

“No, then you’ll have a staple through your head.”

“I think I read you can staple it.”

“Let’s just glue it on.”

“With what?”

“I think we have some super glue.”
“Damn it! It’s eating through the paper, get it off!”

“I think we have some wood glue.”

“Wood glue?”

“Yeah, paper is made of wood.”

It went on like that for some time. Imagine two of the three stooges trying to glue a photo to a visa application and you’ll get the picture.

French Visa application

Then there was the marriage license/certificate:

“Huh.” Diane said.

“What?” Neal asked.

“It says on the marriage license that we were supposed to send in the bottom portion of the certificate to record our marriage with the county.”

“And you didn’t?”

“No WE didn’t.”

“Huh.” Neal said.

Hopefully our failure at scrapbooking will distract them from the fact that we might not actually be married.


Visa paperwork

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