So I did want to get back to the topic of my once again pending French legality…
I have been in France a year now (as of November 1, 2013) and what a year it’s been! A few months ago now, I went to the prefecture when I had my “appointment” that I had set to renew my scientific residence permit. I honestly didn’t know what that meant to have an appointment but I decided that even though I had an appointment at 9:00am I should show up relatively early since I have heard a ridiculous amount of horror stories about everyone’s prefecture experiences (sleeping bags in front of the building to ensure they got their number and place in line). I showed up around 7:20a and the building opened at 8:30a. I was perhaps 50th in line at that point…oddly, as the time approached 8:30a more and more people were jumping in line saying that they were here earlier, their friends held their places….etc etc. In general, standing in line makes me anxious anyway, but this was an even higher stress situation. There was a dude behind me only speaking english, freaking out about these people jumping into the line. Not that I was happy about it either, but wow, he was freaking out. There was an almost fight happening in front of me … the police came out and said “If you keep it up, no one gets in”. so they stopped. I brought my kindle, not that I could focus on it. But I do suggest reading material and if you’re lucky, dates for renewals and such that aren’t in the dead of summer or winter.
Once inside, I walked up to a window and told the lady I had an appointment for the renewal of my carte de séjour and she said, oh, you have an appointment? then you just go on up, you didn’t have to wait in line. UM, what?!? She said they’d call my name when my time came. Okay then… even though everyone else had to wait for a number and once I got upstairs I didn’t hear any names being called…until mine. At about 8:58a my name was called…or what sounded like my name. I handed the lady my papers and after about 10 minutes I was out the door with my récépissé de demande de carte de séjour. With a huge amount of luck I will have, once I return to France next month I will get my convocation to go to the prefecture, again, to pick up my shiny new carte de séjour AND the lady said they are requesting me a TWO YEAR card! Send me your good vibes for that one! I’d prefer not to go to the prefecture again after that 😉 at least until I figure out how to move to France after all this PhD stuff if over 😀
If I have left things out, or you have any specific questions, let me know. This part of living abroad is definitely the most stressful and unknown part and despite all the searching