i’m still here!

I know, I know. It’s been awhile. For someone who wants to work in copywriting/content creation, I sure do have issues with keeping my own blog updated.

I think a lot of it comes from feeling that my life is really mundane at the moment.

I’m working a dead end part-time job that is severely underpaid for what is expected of me. That really doesn’t do much to boost the morale.

(Though it’s not all bad. Some of the kids are pretty sweet like the one who gave me a flower on her last day of class with me.)

flower almost bilingue

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officially have my first titre de séjour as a conjointe

It’s here! My titre de séjour vie privée et familiale (spousal residency card) is in my possession.

almostbilingue

It took less than two months including holidays since my appointment for it to be ready! Imagine my surprise! I didn’t know the Prefecture could be so efficient!

Last week, I was filling out a form (more on that later) that required my titre de séjour information. I was stressing over that fact. After a call to verify, I learned that I could submit said form with just my récépissé and then send in a copy of my titre de séjour once it arrived to complete my file. The afternoon after submitting the file, I received notice that my actual card was ready. Because of course.

The only thing that bugs me is that my card is valid October 2014 to October 2015. They gave me the right to work retroactively after refusing to give me anything from the time my old card expired until my appointment. Yeah… thanks for that.

I know why they probably did that (because what if we had CAF payments or the like hinging on that fact?), but still, it bugs me. It means basically 4 months of my year card are already over. And I sat around unable to do nothing for months. Last year, they gave me a card valid from when I handed in my paperwork (October) and not when my old card expired (August).

Le sigh.

Next up in the world of French admin, attempting to exchange my driver license.

no longer “sans papiers”!

After waiting almost 5 months for my appointment at the Prefecture to change my status from student to spouse (and two months after my student residency card expired), I finally have something that shows I’m legally allowed to be here (and leave France and come back).

From speaking with people we know and hearing their recent horror stories, we took every single document we could think of that we had in our possession.

The woman we met with was super nice and welcoming. She also seemed to be very efficient. We ended up leaving with more papers on us than what we gave to her, but I prefer to be better safe than sorry. Some of the things on the list of required documents she didn’t even need as I was already in their system. Continue reading

oh, french admin, tu me tues

It’s been a crazy week for us as we’ve been in the midst of moving to our new place. We’ve been making numerous trips back and forth each evening, and tomorrow will be the big moving day. We will finally be sleeping there tomorrow night.

Another thing we’ve been starting to do is gather proof of “vie commune” (living together), one of the requirements for my residence card as a spouse. The list of requirements asked for one document. However, we all know the Prefecture can be fickle. One PACSed friend went recently, and all she had to show was any piece of mail addressed to both of them. Another friend (married) had to show three official forms of proof! I’m glad she warned me! Luckily, they had brought four things, but the person almost didn’t accept certain things. So we’re preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best.

almostbilingue_frenchadmin

As I am on J’s health insurance as his “ayant droit”, an attestation of that counts as proof. Little did we know that our adventures in health insurance were not over. We kept having trouble with the site which kept saying technical error, so J finally went to the CPAM office itself. Continue reading

Renting an apartment in France

Last time, I told you about our new apartment. Now, I’ll tell you a bit about what the requirements for renting in France are.

I know, I know. This has been done plenty of times before, but I thought I’d share with you just in case. There were also some changes this summer to agency fees, so I wanted to share that with you as well in case an agency is trying to make you pay more than is allowed by law.

almost bilingue - renting an apartment in france

You can rent either directly though an owner (look at ads on sites such as leboncoin.fr) or through an agency (which of course has fees associated with it). I’ve done a combination of both in my time here in France, and we looked at both options when searching for our new place, but we fell in love with a place through an agency. The owners don’t live anywhere around here, so it makes sense why they’d offer the place through an agency. Continue reading

more fun with french administration

Now that we’re married, I qualify for a “vie privée et familiale” residency card – the French equivalent of a green card for spouses . As my student residency card is up in October, we decided to head to the Prefecture to ask for an appointment straight away (i.e. less than a week after the wedding).

more fun with french admin - titredesejour

The French Prefecture is always a fun fun place to go (note the sarcasm), but at least this time, J was accompanying me so I wouldn’t have to wait alone. After handing over document after document (and this was just to make an appointment!) and her criticizing our proof of address even though I’ve always used said document (and always less than 3 months old of course!), she finally agreed to let us make an appointment.

She gave us the long list of documents we need to provide (Including a photocopy of each page in my passport! I just renewed it last week, so it is completely empty) and then turned to her computer. She was like the first available appointment is the 10… I thought to myself “October, not so bad”, December. What?! Nothing available until December?! Continue reading

publication des bans

To get married in France, wedding bans have to be published for at least 10 days. They’re hung up at the town hall in the town where you will be married and the town where you live.

In France, you can only get married in the town where you have lived for at least a month or the town where yours or your fiancé’s parents live. For us, this meant we could get married in Lille or in Bourguignon. We chose Bourguignon as most of J’s family lives around there, so it was simpler logistics wise.

Bans of marriage

Our bans of marriage (a little edited for privacy reasons)

Why the bans?

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