Friday, September 7, 2012


Lately, I've been saying that my life in the South of France cannot match the one I lead in Paris. Everything just seems better!*

The market is down the street and is open almost everyday, except Monday when a grocery store is surely open. The sun is always shining. Most things are, in fact, within a walkable distance. I like this place.

And then came the time I, and most non-European expatriates dread: carte de séjour time.

Let me tell you, this is my least favorite part of living in France. It is always an ordeal. I'm surprised this hasn't deterred more foreigners from living in the country, but perhaps the grapes and cheeses are too good to leave.

My residency card journey à la niçoise began something like this.
When I arrived in Nice, I tried to obtain the enrollment certificate given by my school. I sent emails, but received no responses. So, I decided to make the trek myself first in a hot and crowded tram car, second in a hot, poorly air conditioned bus.

Lo and behold, when I arrive at the school, I find it deserted but for the main administrative building. Two guys were talking inside. After a brief Q&A, I am told that the university is shut down for les vacances. Mind you, I'm here in the middle of August. They won't be back until August 28.

Strike one.

I wait until the 28th to go back to the school and receive my enrollment certificate. Lost application and 300EUR deposit aside (Why is there always a French uni horror story about a lost application?) I finally receive my enrollment certificate by email. A poorly photocopied, then scanned certificate. Sigh.

Once I've gathered all necessary documents, I set about on my trip to La Préfecture. That actually takes about 30-40 minutes of travel time on the bus. It's not really by anything in Nice, but okay.

After waiting in line for ten minutes, I am told that I am actually at the wrong address. I need to go back to Nice Centre Ville where the CROUS is located to process my application. Though this information is not located on the Pref website, it can be found on the CROUS website. OF COURSE, I AM GOING TO LOOK AT AN OTHERWISE IRRELEVANT WEBSITE.

Strike two. At this point, crying feels like an option.

I return to Nice and start walking towards the CROUS. After arriving, I see a checklist beside the door. The only thing I'm missing is an envelope! Great, I'll go the post office and buy one. Done.

I come back to the CROUS and after waiting 40 minutes in line, I'm seen! Yes! 5 minutes in, he sees my enrollment certificate. He informs me it's not readable. (Mais le fac m'a envoyé ce document!) No use arguing. On top of that, I need my August bank statements and a smaller envelope. Screw you on the envelope!

I return home and commence a one hour document enhancing project to render my certificate readable. At that moment, I was so happy to have bought a scanner.

Today, I returned to CROUS to file my dossier once and for all. After waiting an hour, I was told they were closing and the first three people could go in. Incidentally those were the first three people in front of me. Even after a bit of huffing and puffing (and I'll blow this entire building up if I don't get my dossier sent today!) the guy shut the door on me and another demoralized girl behind me who had all of her stuff too.

Strike three. And they put me out. :-(

It begins agains on Monday.

If you have questions on the process pertaining to you or me, I'd be glad to answer them. I think we should all be helping each other out. Honestly, I think some of us should be consulting for this division of the French government as it is terrible. They need to figure out how to make it smoothly function.

*Outside of the nightlife, that is.

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