Wooooo. I am so tired.
I just got back from a 4-week experience in Paris and it was not a vacation (although I did have a tiny bit of Me Time). And no, I am not complaining. That would be ridiculous.
TEEN TRAVEL ABROAD IN PARIS
I curated a 2-week Teen Travel Abroad experience for four American teenagers and We. Did. Everything.
I don’t usually take in every single monument or Paris attraction when I’m in France. In fact, I’m just a typical flâneur when I’m there; visiting family, savoring the cuisine, buying clothes for my little boutique, always always going to places both in and outside of Paris, meeting new people, and trying things I’ve never experienced before…at a leisurely pace.
But this time I had work to do. This time, I had some teen girls (and a college student) to empower by exposing them to the glorious experience of international travel, the power of the passport, and traveling with heart…and all without their parents. We had our own Paris apartment in Le Marais, shopped for groceries daily, traversed the City of Light daily, and watched boys daily. LOL We were even there for Bastille Day!
The girls learned how to use a map and navigate the 20 arrondissements of Paris by foot and by Métro. Of course, they got frustrated at first (“I can’t!” “Where is it?” “I’m lost.”), but the look of satisfaction on their faces when they ultimately figured it out was priceless. The whole experience was priceless. I am still processing it. You can check out my Instagram feed for photos of the trip if you like.
So I’m back in California and I’m tired…
But while in the midst of a personal arts & crafts project I was focused on yesterday, I perked up immediately when my husband told me he got an email from the French Consulate in San Francisco. “They received our Livret de Famille [from Trinidad],” he said. “It finally came in.”
After close to 6 months of waiting, it finally arrived. Looks like I am one step closer to my carte de séjour. *twirling*
After getting a bit anxious and doing some follow-up a few months ago (“What’s taking so long?”), I found out that the passport/visa offices in Trinidad were in the midst of their own drama, only open intermittently, and were scheduled to actually close on June 30, 2014! So I guess you could say our timing wasn’t so bad after all. But it’s a bummer that anyone in Trinidad that wants a long stay visa has to go to St. Lucia to get it now. That’s what I get for marrying a French citizen in Barbados. And no, I wouldn’t change a thing. #bigsmile
In any event, I’m on to Step Two: I’m scheduled for my long-stay visa appointment at the French Consulate in San Francisco at the end of August, just in time for my September 30 departure back to Paris. I’ll only be there for 2 months this trip, but I’m going to be operating at my own pace most of the time; with some side trips to London, Josephine Baker’s former home in Morocco, and maybe even The Netherlands or the South of France.
I probably have to register in the prefecture where my family home is (outside of Paris), but I’ll know more about that after my appointment next month.
What I do know is that – even if I have to chop up my trips to France over the next 12 months – it’s nice to know that if I wanted to, I could get a job or stay for longer than 90 days without a hassle. This thing is actually happening, mes amis. I can’t believe it. =)
THE ROCKY ROAD AHEAD
Et oui, I know the rocky part of the journey has only just begun, but I’m not pressed, so I’ll simply have to strap on my seatbelt. Getting through French bureaucracy isn’t easy. Shoot, they invented the word; but I’m in it until I get it…
Thanks for taking the ride with me. Let’s see what happens, shall we? *twirling*