12 March 2008

Fate and Bemusement

Monday it took a lot of motivation to make myself go to translation class, but I am sure glad I did! I needed to talk to the professor after class, because I joined another of his classes this week and wanted to get whatever text they were working on so I'd be a bit caught up. While waiting for him outside his office, I saw a poster on a bulletin board... and was instantly sure that I had Fate, or Luck, or whatever you want to call it, on my side.
This week, on Friday and Saturday, my university is hosting a... linguistics colloquium. Speakers from all over France are presenting some really interesting topics, and students can go for free. I am incredibly excited about this! Talks about etymology, philology, language and thought, and several talks about proper nouns. It'll be lots of fun.

Yesterday a letter came in the mail that worried me a bit. Bring your passport, your temporary carte de séjour (residency card), this letter, and your proof of medical visit to the prefecture, and we'll give you your official residency card.

Oh my.

You see, within a few months of giving them your forms and getting the temporary card, they're supposed to send you a letter saying when you need to come for a medical visit, where they make sure you don't have tuberculosis. It's a hassle to go to Nantes and do the whole exam, and I'm not looking forward to it. But the problem is, I never got the letter inviting me to one. So therefore I don't have this essential confirmation letter thing. Yet another snag in the process.

All in all, I'm just very bemused by their system. I didn't like applying for a Russian visa, but at least they make you get the TB test and HIV test*, before you even go to the country. France's system seems backwards at every step of the process.
* When you call your doctor to ask for an HIV test, explain why. I neglected to, and therefore when I said in an incredibly cheerful voice, "Hi! This is Kel Miller and Dr. Notherrealname is my doctor, and I need to have an HIV test as soon as possible!" I got a very awkward, sympathetic, flustered response. But I learned from my mistake, and thanks to my explanation at the free clinic where I eventually went, I got to avoid all the lectures.

So today, I went to the prefecture, took a number, and showed the documents I do have to the lady. I explained that I'd received this letter, but I'd never gotten the invitation to a medical visit. I asked what to do. She said that I should have gotten it, and gave me a phone number to call... and my official, laminated and shiny, residency card.
So I'm legal!

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