All posts tagged: bureaucracy

Almost Useful

**I am slowly but surely posting my way through the past few weeks…hopefully I will catch up this week and then I can start posting in the present tense! October 1st was the first day of our contracts as assistants. The académie de Grenoble required all 260-some assistants to come to the city of Grenoble for a two day stage, or orientation. The Chambéry assistants all met at the train station early in the morning for the approximately 45 minute train journey, which was exciting because it was the first time all the Chambéry assistants were all together….at least most of us… The day I arrived in Chambéry, I met up with a fellow American named Kevin. In the nearly two weeks after that fateful meeting, I remained the ONLY person to have met Kevin in person. When I would meet up with other assistants, they would ask after him since they recognized his name from the Facebook group, but no one else had EVER seen him. Obviously, this led to a lot of jokes about how …

Life in Limbo

My first days in Chambéry, though thrilling, included probably the most anxiety-filled moments I have ever lived. Why? you ask. How could you possibly be stressed while surrounded by stunning mountain ranges around every corner and all the croissants and éclairs you can eat? Because, dear readers, I was functionally homeless for about two weeks. Add in the fact that pretty much every single administrative task we need to complete requires a justificatif de domicile, or proof of housing, and this limbo status quickly resulted in doing basically nothing that first week except frantically calling and emailing potential landlords, or staring at my computer screen, paralyzed with anxiety (I’m mostly exaggerating…mostly). France is just full of Catch-22s. For example, you need an address to open a bank account, but some agencies require bank account to rent an apartment. Or, you need an address in order to receive a SIM card (only if you order online. I HIGHLY recommend not doing that and going to the store in person), but it’s nearly impossible to contact landlords or agencies without a French phone …

Trip to the Embassy!

Last week, I completed another step in my journey towards France: The Visa Appointment. I’m very lucky because I live so close to my regional consulate. The same consulate also serves people from DC, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland, so some people have to make full day trips, while I just missed a two hours of work. On Friday, I left work early and made my way to the French Embassy/consulate in Washington, DC. It is a complex of pretty ugly buildings in a lovely neighborhood in Georgetown which was quite beautiful to drive through. Luckily, I have an amazing mother who helped me get there and back, since it is not very Metro accessible. I spent the previous few days gathering all the information the consulate lists on their website: the visa application form, my passport + 1 copy of the info page, my arrêté de nomination + 1 copy, a passport-sized photo, my Virginia identification card, and a prepaid envelope.  When I arrived, I had to show the woman at the gate …

Chambéry Jamboree!

Okay, so technically the title of this post does not rhyme when pronounced correctly, but indulge me for a while because I finally have received more details about where I will be living and working while in France! On Monday, I got my ‘arrêté de nomination’ (my work contract with the French éducation nationale) in the mail! After 20 minutes of being confused by French paperwork, I determined that I will be moving to Chambéry, in the Savoie département!! If there is one small town in the world where it is possible to taste the gentle way of life in an atmosphere of a pleasant and safe trade, it is Chambéry! -Jean Jacques Rousseau Chambéry is the capital of the Savoie départment and has a population of around 60,000. It honestly seems kind of similar to Charlottesville in many ways: a university town, surrounded by mountains, old time-y architecture, was once home to a great thinker upon whose writing many foundational texts of America are based (Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote the Declaration of Rights of Man in …

The Next Adventure!

Hello World! Guess who’s back?! That’s right, I’m resurrecting this blog for my next exciting chapter! Beginning in October, I will be acting as an “assistante d’anglais” or an English teaching assistant in France! I got the position through an exchange program run by the French Embassy and French Government, the very creatively named Teaching Assistant Program in France, popularly known as TAPIF. To chronicle this exiting new adventure, I’ve made some major updates to the blog, including a name change! But, Anne, you cry, Why oh why did you choose “Present Perfect” as the new name for your blog? Well, I answer, I honestly am so terrible at naming things and all the obvious things about Americans Abroad seemed taken. So, I used the name of a beloved English verb tense, which also seemed to appropriately idealise how I feel about returning to France: At Present, Perfect!! (Ironically, the French have no Present Perfect tense…….eh, details) So, where will I be this time? While I would love to be back in Paris (and you better …