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MOVING ABROAD DIARY #1- French Bureaucracy

It’s one week before my one-way flight to my new life and I don’t have my visa yet. Or my passport since I had to hand that away in order to get my visa.

I remember to breathe.

I am doing everything according to the timeline that I am supposed to however I am not feeling a lot of equanimity about my status right now. I’d hoped to take a couple of small trips before my season officially begins August 21 but with my visa questionable I feel like I can’t plan those. Also I am starting to realize how very much I will have to do in order to become an official resident in France. Getting there two weeks early might not be enough time!

I have been warned about the notorious headache that is French bureaucracy by every resource available to me. I’ve been told it’s hopelessly complicated, tedious, tiresome, slow, contradictory, next to impossible, that you when you’ve been told you need three copies bring ten. And then some extras.

I know how difficult it is to deal with Comcast even when I speak the language and understand the fine print! It will be a challenge. But everyone who has ever expatriated to France has had to deal with this and they succeeded eventually. I think I have prepared as much as I can from 4,624 miles away. So much of what is on my To-Do list is stuff I can’t do until I get there. You’d think in 2017 most things I’d be able to do on-line but in France they are still sticklers for face-to-face interaction.

So I am waiting.

In the meantime I am trying to gather all the information I can so that when I arrive I have a sense of what needs to be done and in what order. I’ve scoured the internet for moving to France information, set up appointments with about 10 banks hoping that one of them will be able to help a slightly clueless solo American girl out.

The problem is that in order to set up a bank you have to have an address and in order to sign a lease you have to have insurance which requires that you have a bank which you can’t have until you have an address. You see how this cycle is going.

I remind myself that I chose to do this. That the reward of my year in France is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and that it will – it is- worth it. I remind myself that these are not optional things. I have to get a visa. I have to set up a bank account and utilities and get insurance. I have to, everyone has to, and I will. Somehow. I have a hard time asking people for help but I have a feeling that by the end of this year I will have had a lot of practice. Pouvez-vous m’aider s’il vous plait?

And hopefully when I get everything set-up I will feel like I have conquered something daunting- French bureaucracy!

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