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Coming Up for Air.


Here's a present that I received today!

No, it's not from the Gods of Paris Fashion Week offering me a benchmark of an ideal weight to keep in mind for next season (gross), but rather a gift from La France herself. Awww, she shouldn't have. Really...

So we briefly interrupt this Paris Fashion Week to come back to reality, come up for air, and back to my real life with a trip to the doctor's office at the Office of Immigration...

Will an immigration office ever sound glamourous? Doubtful.

Because I've basically started from the beginning with my new visa, I've had to re-do everything, including the mandatory medical check-up we all have to do shortly after entering France. I received the letter last week reporting me to their local office, and of course, it was smack right in the middle of fashion week. The letter finely stated that failure to attend would threaten my legal stay in France.

In that case....off to the doctor it was!

With past jobs, coming in a few hours late would not be okay, even for something critical like, I don't know, potential deportation. Luckily, the house I'm currently with understood the magnitude of this visit and told me to come in as soon as I could. In my 20's, I never understood the importance as well as luxury of working with rational people. Frankly, I didn't even think of it as I was just happy to be working in fashion, but now in my 30's, I almost demand it.

One of the more extreme examples I've had with unreasonable bosses was when one told me to tell my father to please hold off dying until after fashion week when he was then free to "croak". Exact words. Yes, I'm going to call my father at St. Vincent's Hospital to ask him to wait until the collections have hit the runway before he's allowed to pass away. This lunatic ended up firing me when it without question should have been the other way around, but hey we live and learn, right?

Fast forward to my real adult life working with professionals, I didn't get any grief for a necessary inconvenience and all went swimmingly (and somewhat speedy) with my appointment. Nothing too far out of the ordinary happened, just my usual random interaction with the French. For those of you who haven't done a mandatory medical check-up in France, it's simple: you get a chest x-ray, do a simple eye-test, get weighed, measured, get your blood pressure and a heartbeat check. There is a different doctor for each of these exams, so a visit that should take fifteen minutes tops, can take up to two hours.

Here are some highlights from the visit:

- I got scolded at for saying, "ça caille!" after standing topless under an air conditioning vent while waiting for the x-ray technicians to start-up their machines. Apparently it was rude to say such a familiar expression to a doctor whom I didn't know. On a side note, and not that I have given this much thought; but I would have figured that getting scolded or having any kind of serious conversation with a stranger, topless in a public place was uniquely for strippers. Well not in France...

- One of the doctors shared with me that she finds Louis Vuitton bags to be vulgar and made for ugly old ladies. She prefers Lancel, but not the BB collection. 

- I almost had to get a prescription for eyeglasses because even after three years in France, I still confuse the pronunciations of the letters "G" and "J". Reading an eye chart certainly wasn't going to kick that habit and the English-speaking part of my brain logically said "G" when looking at the letter, forgetting that it's pronounced "J". Why won't it stick in my brain to just reverse the two when speaking French? 

- And with my sit down meeting with the final doctor who simply could not wrap his head around the fact that I have a middle name (which was a ten minute conversation in itself), lectured me - after dramatically slamming his glasses down on the table- about the fact that HPV is part of the American scam to increase healthcare costs by instilling fear, that it would be virtually impossible for a woman under the age of 30 to have pre-cancerous cells in her cervix, and that there's no such thing as an irregular PAP smear.

All of this before 9 am. Only in France, kids...

I made it to the showroom in time for the big appointments and literally just got home from a grueling 13 hour day. My feet are in misery; swollen, cut and bruised as I try to break-in the designer ballet flats (I might as well have worn heels!) I was given and am rewarding myself with a big glass of red that is waiting for me in the kitchen. So I'm off to put my feet up, sip on a 2008 Bordeaux that I've been saving, and watch a slasher film because after all, it is October!

Not to worry, a full report on this week is coming soon and do I have some goodies for you guys...

I think the cray definitely got cranked up this season...yes, it's the models again.

Like I said, Happy Paris Fashion Week!

34 comments:

  1. Lungs go really far up! (I feel like that's something I shoulda probably known already.) I still hesitate sometimes with J and G, despite having to say both of them whenever I spell my name. I remember the first time someone spelt something over the phone to me, frickin disaster ha ha!

    Glad you got sorted, do you have the visa in your hot little hand, or is that another appointment?

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    1. Yes! I had it back in NY - this was just for my carte de sejour. So now I'm all set for this year, no further appointments! Thank God!

      I'm glad it's not only me who hesitates over the G and J! I'm glad I don't have these letters in my name. : P !

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to keep us posted when you must be exhausted!
    GM x
    p.s. I can't get over that person's comment when your Dad was dying. Also, anywhere else you wouldn't have been left topless and cold, you would have been supplied with a little robe to keep on until the last minute - and what's wrong with saying you are cold - who do the doctors think they are - God?????

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    1. Hi Gwan's Mom,

      That woman who said that was a horrid, low-class beast. I did learn a lot from her and toughened me up in business big time, but yeah, her comments went far beyond inappropriate. Sheesh.

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  3. What a great photo! You must make it your new profile pic. I don't get the doctors here. I asked for a dermatologist and the doctor was like "why would need one?" Only because 3 of my friends had melanoma before the age of 26. Or "it's ridiculous to do a pap test more than once every three years." Needless to say I found a new doctor. Such weirdos.
    Hope the red was great.... sounds tasty and can't wait to hear about the rest of the week!

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    1. Dentists also don't encourage flossing. I told my American doctor that (who incidentally is half French) and he was appalled that people don't floss here like we do in the States.

      And I get a PAP every six months... because you never know!

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    1. I know, don't I look like so thin? Like omg.

      Hahaha.

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  5. What a lovely pressie, black and white is really 'you'.

    I swear some ballet flats are out to get you, the seduce into thinking that because they're flat that they'll be comfy and pain free, evil little things...

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    1. Hahaha thanks! I think the photo is really flattering, one of my best so far. : P

      New ballet flats are wolves in sheep's clothing. They attack your feet after an hour or so, or after you've developed trust for them. Sneaky little bastards!

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  6. oh this was a welcome reprieve from the presidential debates here in the States.

    Glad you're spic and span, or so it seems. And soak your feet.

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    1. I'm so glad that I was able to offer some relief from that debate. I'm concerned about this election...I really am....

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  7. Oy. I've done the visit 3 times already and will do it again this year. I haven't received my letter yet, but I just have this feeling it's going to be scheduled during my vacation when I'm off visiting the boyfriend's family. That's going to be so much fun to deal with. Fingers crossed that it doesn't happen! Or that it doesn't happen to be scheduled on a day that I have an exam!

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    1. Yeah, they don't really give you much of a choice and it's easier to change your schedule than to get someone on the phone to postpone it.

      For your sake, I hope it's not during a planned vacation! Fingers crossed. : )

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  8. My sit down Dr prefered I stay topless through the interview and told me I probably had AIDS. And the lovely nurse who ran the urine test told the entire room that I either had my period or was in kidney failure. Its barbaric here!!!!

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    1. You have GOT to be kidding!!! That's just awful!!!

      Hahahahhaha he "preferred" that you stay topless!! That's insane...and really freaking funny. Thanks for the good laugh, Sylvia. : )

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  9. Hope you had a good rest last night and that your feet are feeling better today. After forsaking comfort for fashion and wearing some killer shoes a couple of days ago, I feel your pain!

    Funny about the eye test. When my doctor asked if I wanted to see an ophthalmologist who speaks English, I said that it would be a good idea for the same reason, except I always mix up my vowels in French.

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    1. Thanks MK. My feet have fully recovered. I finally pulled off the 7 gel bandages that allowed me to wear those flats. The office is keeping them for me for next season because they are slowly getting broken in. Perhaps it won't be so difficult next PFW!

      Here's hoping, at least...

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  10. My last boss was like the one who want your father to hold off on croaking. Gee... move to the south of France or continue to work for her sociopathic, bullying butt... oh, however would I choose???
    Happy to hear that France has deemed you healthy, looking forward to more Fashion Week gossip x

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    1. Hahah. I'm sure it was a tough choice! I think there is too much of a premium put on working long hours for tough bosses. I would much prefer a calmer life (perhaps less money) and to just be happy. Less money, how unAmerican of me.

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  11. I have been working on saying j-ai not j-i and g-ee not g-ai for over 40 years (-: it is just not natural!!!

    Looking forward to the report on FW.

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    1. Exactly! It's just not natural!!

      Great, so I have another 40 years (God willing) of struggling with this. Awesome.

      : )

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  12. This totally had me giggling! Tales from OFII, when I walked in for my medical exam some guy was getting escorted out screaming, what a warm welcome! I'm a first time commenter, long time reader, thanks for all the great stories!

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    1. Hi Annabelle! Thank you for reading and for your first comment! : )

      Hahahah, yes tales from the OFII! You poor thing! That would have freaked me out! Anyone being escorted out screaming would be enough, but in an immigration office...aye.

      The floor that I was on wasn't too bad, mostly students, but down in the lobby was quite a scene. I wanted to organize my papers down there but the stench was just so awful. I had no idea what I was smelling but I had to get out ASAP.

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  13. Your description of that self-involved nut who told you to tell your dad to hold off croaking til after fashion week is very reminiscent of Miranda in The Devil Wears Prada...;)

    Glad you got the medical out of the way! Hope you pampered those feet and enjoyed that red:)

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    1. This woman had way less class than Miranda. This woman is a beast and is in fact famous in the fashion world and is notorious for being completely inappropriate and ridiculous. I cringe whenever I see photos of her!

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  14. Oy vey.. you had to re-do the exams? Thatshitcray - I didn't have to do that with my visa change. Nada. Just paperwork.

    Glad your bosses are professional this time around - what your former boss said is absolutely revolting.

    "ça caille" -- I don't know that expression! I'm going to look it up now. :)

    Hope you enjoyed your wine and movie after your long day! Take good care of your feet, too.

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    1. Thanks D! Yeah, I had to do it all again which wasn't as stressful as I had originally thought it would be, and was all pretty seamless. Thank God.

      Now I'm all set with my carte de sejour, visa, working papers, etc...it feels good.

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  15. @Sylvia -- that's horrible!!!

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  16. P.S. I had an eye exam 3 days ago and I totally messed up the G's and J's too! haha.. I was even giggling during it. A voice in my head was like, "Just say G for J and J for G". That didn't fly well with my inner rebel.

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  17. What?? Are the doctors there serious? Where does the professionalism come in? Or does it not exisit?

    I hope you had a good enough time during fashion week to make up for the 13 hour days.

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    1. Oh my dear Sue, you will see...you. will. see.

      It's unlike anything that would happen in the States! I can't wait to read about your first month adventures here!

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  18. These doctors sound the ones we have in Fiji! I cringe every time I have to go for a medical because of all the awkward, nonsensical conversations that take place during them! I'm glad that you're all done though!

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    1. Thanks Vanisha! I can imagine going to a doctor abroad anywhere is adventure! You must have some crazies stories too! Oy vey.

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