"I've Got Three Passports, a Couple of Visas, You Don't Even Know My Real Name..."

Okay, I'm lying I only have one passport, but the last two ring true. This Talking Heads song was in my head during my entire appointment at the French consulate on Monday because it was certainly not a party, nor a disco.

Geez, what a long strange trip it has been since the last time I was in that building in 2009, back when France could do no wrong in my eyes. If I only knew what was ahead of me then...

Even with my vast collection of CDG stamps, a long stay Japanese visa, a Turkish tourist visa, and an expired student French visa that raised some concerned questions, the process was all pretty painless.

Here are some highlights of my Breakfast Club experience:

- A girl in the waiting room wearing hot shorts and a crop top, managed to speak in this high shrill voice complaining about the wait and asking questions that none of us had the answers to, every single time one of the administrators called a number on their shoddy PA. I missed my turn and they were less than thrilled to call my number again. Is it just me or was this an inappropriate outfit to wear in a government building?

- A gentleman from Pakistan sitting next to me offered me some herbs that smelled like licorice and a head shop, and was spooning it out of a mini burlap bag. I politely declined and immediately regretted it once he told me it was illegal in the States. Hey, I was waiting in that place for four hours, a little stimulation beyond reviewing my documents would have been welcomed.

- One of the administrators violently charged out of the office when he saw on the surveillance camera, a girl in the waiting room playing with her phone. After scolding her as if she were smoking a joint in the girl's room, he went ahead and cancelled her appointment. They are serious when they say no phones. For those of you who have future appointments, keep that in mind. It's no joke.

- The redheaded boy sitting to the right of me was complaining about how long we had all been waiting, and was annoyed that he had to cancel his lunch plans at Serafina. I'm sorry but who started the rumor that obtaining a French visa is a quick and easy process? It never is and never has been. Anyway, his number was before mine and when I told the girl across from me who had asked, the boy corrected me. He was actually girl. I was mortified. I seriously had no idea.

- A congregation of Jersey girls discovered that at one point in their lives, they had all dated the same guy; Dan Williamson who now goes to Rutgers after transferring from Stevens College. I was grateful that for once, I wasn't directly involved in the dating gossip.

- And finally, I cried. The angel at window number four and I chatted about personal things. It turns out that we both had some experiences in common; tragedies that make us who we are today. I guess I really do have gift for having people open up to me, government officials included.

Without further ado, I'm pleased to announce that Miss Coquine a son visa! (Insert my fist pump here)

So that's it. I'm all set and ready to re-start my life...again.

So France, what do you say? Let's try this one more time? I'm willing if you are...  

What was happening a year ago today?


  1. Yay, well done!

    I have two passports, so almost there!

    Ouch, we've all been there on the gender confusion, that's much worse than the awkward conversations I have with French people who I'm not sure whether I should tutoie or vousvoie (I spent all 7 months of my assistantship avoiding saying any sentences in French where I had to call the profs 'you'. Because I'm awkward ha ha)

    Aren't you a little bit sorry you missed out on Dan?

    I had to google that 80s pop reference, your trivia is far superior to mine!

    1. Thanks!!

      I have never made a that kind of mistake in my life. If I don't know, I'll generally not draw any attention to their gender, but I was 100% sure that this person was a boy!

      I vousvoie everyone I don't know. It's kind of like it's better to be dressed up than dressed down. I'd prefer being corrected to speak in the informal than the reverse! I have seen that on television where the reporter feels comfortable with the subject they're interviewing and switches to tutoie, to have the person correct them. Awkward!

      I'm so bummed that I missed out on Dan! That was the most amazing part of the waiting room observations! I guess Dan attracts Francophiles from Jersey! Ha!

      Perhaps that group wasn't popular in NZ? I know they were a huge hit in New York. Total guidette music. : )

  2. Hooray!!! So very happy for you Miss Ella. Well done. :)

    And ps. Not sure if you saw my response to your comment but oooh we did our time in Paris apartments or shall I say Vanves? :O So you can imagine with all the joy in the world I hightailed it down south where for our 100m2 apartment we pay...brace yourself...720/month.

    Looking forward to reading about the surprise date! Hey, I'm a newbie!

    1. Thank you!! I'm relieved that that is done with.

      Yes, I saw the response! I figured you had paid your Paris dues. Most Americans do before finding better quality of life elsewhere. I look forward to the day we leave Paris for a quieter part of France. It's definitely the goal in about 5-10 years.

      I hope you liked the surprise date! It's a bit obscure but I guess that's why Seb and I work so well. We're into the same stuff! : )

      Have a lovely weekend!

  3. Hey, that's SUPER!!! Best of luck in all you decide to do...the waiting is over, yay!

    1. Thank you!!! Yes, it's a huge relief! Now I can enjoy my last weeks here in NY before going home....for good. My eyes water up when I think of that.

      Have a nice weekend! Enjoy your lovely garden. : )

  4. Congratulations, darling! When are you going back?

    I think I guessed your last name... more in an email (I'll write as soon as my last two essays are in;))

    1. Thanks Duchess! Going back mid-August. My visa will not allow me back into France until it's start date, which is fine. I have some loose ends here in NY and this is my last trip here for a while. Now I feel like I'm on mini-vacation!

      Take your time with the emails and good luck on your essays!!

  5. yay! when are you back?! x

    1. Woo hoo.

      Back mid-August! Now it's party in the USA until then!

  6. Yay! That's awesome news! Does New York still issue visas same day?? I had my visa appointment this morning. As far as I know, it's all good. The woman didn't ask me any questions, just flipped through my papers and asked me to pay.

    1. Thanks!! Same day-ish. They approved it, but now I have to go back next week to pick it up. I was asked more questions than other people there but my passport sort of begs the inquisition. I was expecting it.

      Congrats to us!!!! When do you head back?

    2. They don't give you any inclination at the Chicago Consulate which is kind of a nail biter.

      I head back mid August!

  7. AnonymousJuly 19, 2012

    Hooray! Woohoo! Congrats!!!!

    Love the waiting room gossip -- my experience in in the UES embassy was not as colorful. :P

    Japan, Turkey ? I'm impressed! You get around :)

    So curious about your last name ha

    P.S. The admin I dealt with on numerous occasions was this uber-happy gay man which was nice. And once this young chick who upon arriving at the window was on her cell phone giggling and texting (or sexting..).. (maybe she's the one you had a personal convo with?). Very low key in there -- maybe that's why it's so slow! :P


    1. Thanks!!! You didn't have ANY gossip? It was my third time there over the past 3 years, and every time I go everyone starts chatting aka complaining! The craziest was when the man busted the chick playing with her phone. It was quite a scene! When you were there, no one said something to the girl on the phone?!

      No, I didn't have a personal conversation with a girl on the phone. It was with one of the administrators working for the consulate.

      Have a nice weekend! Oh and I tagged you in that photo contest! Did you see?


    2. AnonymousJuly 21, 2012

      Non non, it was the administrator who was on the phone! My number was called so I went to the window, but she was so distracted on her phone (looked like she was texting) that she didn't notice me on the other side of the glass. So I watched her for 30 seconds and then she peeked up and was startled and then giggled! Ha ha!

      I went three times for the 1 visa I was applying for (even though I had everything on the check list and more) and never experienced much. Perhaps because I always made my appointment for 9:30am - right at opening so I was always one of the 1st three people. I can't imagine going later in the day. X_X

      Oui oui, j'ai vu ! Merci pour le tag! <3

    3. Ah, no. Sorry! I didn't understand! I didn't see any women working when I was there, so no, it wasn't her.

      How funny! Was she sexting in French or English? How funny!

      For my appt. I went above and beyond with more paperwork than I needed. Me and the admin even joked about it. He took some documents that he didn't even need but felt bad that I went through the trouble of getting them, so he took them.

      My appt. was at 11. I didn't want to get their too early. I needed the coffee to be fully in my system. :)

    4. AnonymousJuly 26, 2012

      11 o clock , that's why there was a wait! There's a French cafe nearby (a few blocks down and on the way to the subway) that I would go to afterwards to treat myself to a macaron and coffee. I'm pretty sure I had a tall Colombian coffee at home before leaving. I need my morning java as well.

      Yes, same here with bringing extra papers! I STILL had to return 3 times because they needed something that was never even mentioned on the check list. Ditto with my new visa here in France. I've had to go back numerous times and it's is already 3 months late (I don't even know if I'll get it.. they say I will, bit it hasn't happened yet).

      I have no idea what she was texting/sexting but it definitely made me feel more relaxed!

  8. AnonymousJuly 19, 2012

    Paris wouldn't have been the same without you! Congrats!

  9. Fantastic, fantastic news! You must feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders huh? Is this a 1 or 2 year?

    Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in Paris!

    1. Fantastic news indeed!!! Thank you, Sue!!! Yes, I do feel a huge weight has been lifted, now I can enjoy my last few weeks in NY! It's for 2 years, so I don't have to deal with this again for a while!

      Are you still in Paris?

      Have a lovely weekend!!

    2. 2 years, pure awesomeness! Does this mean you'll have the right to work as well? Not just the part-time gigs?

      Unfortunately, I'm back in NYC. This time back is especially different becauseeeee I'm engaged to my little French man so the distance REALLY REALLY blows.

      Anyway, again, I'm happy for you and that you are in possession of the elusive visa. I hope I have your same luck when I'm dealing with the consulate, again.

      Sooo, since you're in NYC and I'm in NYC I propose a little drinky-drink before you head back.

    3. I actually want the part-time gigs because I have so many little projects I'm working on that I don't see myself giving my all to a full-time job. My corporate years are over!

      CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!! What are your plans?!? When do you see yourself heading back??? I'm so happy for you!

      Yes, we should get together! I'll e-mail you. : )

      Congrats again!!! : )

    4. Awesome, awesome news that you'll continue to forge your own path! I wish I had the gumption (isn't that such a good word) to do that.

      Thank you for your well wishes, LF and I are quite excited. We'll be getting married in Paris and then I'll just stay. That's it so far, those are the only plans that are concrete. If all goes well, I'll be living in Paris by the end of the year but if not then early next year for sure. Things are looking good so far so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. :-)

  10. Congratulation on getting your French visa, Mlle Ella! So, when are you coming home?! Paris misses you, I miss knowing that you're somewhere in the city and I'm certain that Seb misses you! Plus, today is the first day of the Paris Plages. It's time for those ducks to let you go! Otherwise, we'll have to send in a hostage negotiator to secure your release!

    1. Thanks MK!!!! Yay!! I come back mid-August. Seb will be here next week to help me pack, go over paperwork and explain PACS to my grandparents, which is going to be a whole situation. They are going to be so confused!

      The ducks have gone in for the week because NY is getting hits with tons of rain. It's like I'm in Paris!!!

      Have a nice weekend, and I hope I didn't give you too big of a project with this photo contest. Brett was less than thrilled. LOL!

  11. I keep reading all these stories about French bureaucracy and my dream of living in Paris gets more and more remote. Although I am from the EU so does that make any difference?

    Congrts on getting your Visa.

    Love your blog. It is going on my list


    1. Hi Denise! Being from the EU makes a HUGE difference!!! You would have it so much easier than us who are not! While yes you will experience the beauties of French bureaucracy, not nearly as much as us. If this is your dream, I say go for it. If us foreigners to the EU can do it, so can you! :)

      Thank you for your comment and welcome aboard!