I survived the dreaded OFII appointments! For those of you unfamiliar with the French bureaucratic system the OFII is the Office for Immigration and Integration. The process (currently- it is constantly changing) involves two appointments: first a medical visit and then an administration one. The medical appointment was very efficient. I felt like I was on an assembly line, being passed from person to person. One checked my eye sight, one asked me a series of medical questions, another took a chest x-ray (no I don’t have tuberculosis YAY), and finally the last person stamped my form and sent me on my way. In and out in about an hour. Success!
Three days later, I had to go down to the prefecture office and go through a series of events that lead me to finally get the stamp in my passport validating my visa. I had to take a written French exam, which I did very well on (compared to some people in the room who only put their name on the paper and that was it)! So I felt good about that. Then I waited for my oral interview. The woman was very nice and spoke slowly so I was able to mostly understand her. The worst part is that I was informed I have to take two 9 HOUR DAY long courses about French bureaucracy and civic understanding. These are from 8AM-5PM. One is in January and the other in February. I cannot overestimate how much I am not looking forward to that.
On the bright side, I am free till January! I was told that in order to renew my visa (which expires in July), I should start looking for a renewal appointment in February! That is 5 months in advance. I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned in a earlier post that the people who move to France REALLY have to want to be here. It takes a lot of dedication and patience. For those wondering, when I renew my visa it should be good for 4 years. After that, I will have been in France for 5 years and I will be able to apply for a 10 year residency card. Long term goals!
While I may complain about the system here, I wouldn’t trade living here for anything. I would sit in a week of courses if it meant I could live in Paris forever.
Christmas is beginning to appear in Paris. Lights are going up, trees are being decorated, and the holiday markets are opening up. Plus, we might get some snow this week! Snow in Paris is very unusual so I am very much looking forward to it!
Here are a few images of Christmas in Paris, I have no doubt they are just the beginning of many more pictures to come. Maybe even a few with snow! Fingers crossed!!