I couldn’t believe it a hundred days ago, and now I can’t believe that I’ve been in France for two hundred days! If I wasn’t so far into the semester and trying to finish an essay and pass a midterm at the same time, I’d do something to celebrate. That’ll have to wait. But until then…
Two hundred days in France means two hundred days of jumping through hoops just so le partimoine will smile down upon me and give me my carte de séjour. Some of their rules are annoying and time consuming (CampusFrance, I’m looking at you), some are simply archaic (showing up in person to apply for and collect your entrance visa), and some are just silly – but in the good way, the way that really makes you laugh aloud. Oh, la vaaaache.
Take, for example, the complex science of passport photos. I came to France with about twenty, and I’ve just given away my last one a week or two ago. You need them for everything – two for your entrance visa, one for your student card, one for your carte de séjour, three for your residence, two for your tram pass, tiva card, and carte 12-25. Photomatons are all over town and I can imagine the owner of one being able to live off the earnings from a day’s worth of photos for quite a good amount of time (4 photos for 5 euros, quelle escroquerie!).
That’s not to say I don’t support small business (hah, because it’s just a tiny booth!), but please, please don’t ask me for any more passport photos, France. There are so many rules to follow: not too big, not too small, not too blurry, not in a park, not with half of your head cropped out, not with your mom sitting in the background, or grabbing your head with her vice-like grip, not with a suspicious look, not a glamor shot, and above all, not one where your eyes are shooting laser beams! Good thing they made this poster to help confused foreigners like me.
But France, I still love you and I can’t wait to see the new ways you’ll make me panic, groan, smile, furrow my brow and roll on the floor in hysterical laughter (as I did when I first saw this poster back in September, and every time I’ve passed by it since at la Maison des Echanges Internationaux et de la Francophonie – ha!). I’ve enjoyed it all so far and I know you’ve got more for me up your black and white striped sleeves, you baguette-toting, cigarette-rolling, closed-on-Sunday Frenchies. Je vous aime du fond du cœur. Entre vous et moi, il n’est rien de plus réel que l’amour et le rêve. Moi! Je brûle près de vous!