Prefecture – a complicated word

It doesn’t sound so hard to pronounce right? Try pronouncing it french style when you are angry. It’s complicated all right. As soon as any strong emotion hits me I lose all french language ability and what results its something like a two-year old with horrible pronunciation.

Really, try this, imagine a young woman (aka moi), sitting there flushing red, attempting to produce a recognisable sentence with my pathetic range of vocabulary. I have a slightly panicked and confused look on my face and have curled my hands into those little white knuckled balls. AND I don’t understand a thing. I sit stiffly in the chair while VGT talks with the woman. I try to calm down and concentrate on understanding anything of whats being said. VGT glances at me with a funny look on his face. I must look pretty weird compared to my normal carefree, relaxed Australian style.

I bring this scene up for a very good reason. We are sitting in the office of etrangers (immigrants), at the prefecture. The Prefecture. Will. RULE. My. Visa. Here is the place I come for information, to give information and to get important things like my carte de sejour. Oh, and did I mention that we waited 10minutes for the lady at the desk to finish gossiping to serve us. There was no one else waiting but we still had to stand/sit/shuffle for a designated time. And she looked harassed!

So we are back to me sitting in the chair, my nails are now making pretty crescent shapes in my hand. She is speaking so fast it’s nearly spanish to me. Somehow the conversation is ending because she starts pausing (I am amazing at body language now, after a year in this country I am obliged to learn something ) and after all the hullabaloo of waiting and getting information I don’t understand she finishes with “Mairie”. My ears prick up like a dog hearing a whistle. The mayor, what has he got to do with it all?

As we walk back down the stairs VGT explains that for my carte de sejour we need to get married now by the Marie, and then I return to Australia, wait for my visa AND then come back. If we don’t get married now, I have to return after marriage into Australia to wait for my visa. So another plane ticket, or the extension for the fifth time of the ticket I have now…. Insert the sarcastic AWESOME!

So not only did the woman want me to rush into my marriage, she wanted it in three weeks. And then I had to go back to Australia. I am skeptical as to whether she gets a commission off the airlines too…

As we drive home I start screaming and crying at the same time “I TOLD YOU, I KNEW IT, I TOLD YOU SO!” It all stresses me out. But alas, I have survived my very first encounter with french bureaucracy. I have come out nearly whole, I don’t need a mental institution but I do need tissues…

The problem was I had been under the impression of a Fiance visa, allowing me to move and marry in one big swoop… after double checking different sources it is still possible. She was just… FRENCH.

Prefecture… There. I can write it without wanting to fisty someone in the eye. Don’t ask me to say it just yet. I ask for a little patience (maybe kindness too, the french aren’t too good at that, have you heard their national anthem?) But there, Prefecture. It’ll have to do.


4 thoughts on “Prefecture – a complicated word

  1. Pingback: PART 1: The process of Marriage to a French Citizen | Inbetween Countries

  2. LOL. I love this: “She was just…French.” I had to deal with the French consulate in the US which, for my region, is located in Atlanta. The South is notoriously friendly and walking into the French consulate was like getting blasted with a southerly. Speaking of – where are you from in Oz? I lived in Melbourne for just over a year and that is where I met my boyfriend who lived in Australia for six years! We both miss it desperately!

    Am really enjoying your blog – your writing style is like being inside my brain, haha! Although, I fear that I am reading about future hassles that I might have to endure!

    • Honestly, we may very well share a human brian. The issues and attitudes are so similar. NOT OPEN ON A SUNDAY? It drives me crazy!!!!!!(
      Making Seb escorte me places, (including my first ever soccer training: I made him stay “just in case” and basically hid in his “skirts” i.e pants like a 6 year old, panicking before I arrived that I had the right shorts[I didn’t])
      Also I am from Brisbane, where there is sun and lots of it. I miss Australia a hell of a lot. More than I thought I would.
      However, Seb speaks English and can sometimes pass as Australian for attitude. I speak so little French that I haven’t had a real conversation with his mother and sometimes rely on mime in shops, (speaking English words with a french accent in the hope its similar help a little too). So France was something I volunteered for to learn his side of things properly rather than the 5 visits I have had before this…where I just brazenly hope!
      Post soon! I can’t wait to read the next one!

  3. There may well be some bizarre genetic connection between our brains. I am cracking up with your blog!

    Never made it up to Brisbane, sadly! Got up to the Whitsundays but that was my only northern visit. It’s almost been a year since we have left and I think we are both aching for a visit. Le sigh (sighing in French).

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