Tuesday, July 3, 2012

avocats et consulats

La France is notorious for its bureaucracy and red tape.  Need something today, "come see us in three weeks."  Need something tomorrow, "no, c'est pas possible!"

Our appointment at the city hall to submit all the paperwork is tomorrow afternoon.  But, honestly, this is France.  There is no way I can get everything done in less than two days.  But, I figure we should keep that appointment as I'd love to meet with them to have them review everything we do have.

When I left today, I only needed three things:  Two official documents, plus one document translated.  I expected to only get dates for when I could get things done.  I also am feeling quite guilty because I didn't do everything I could have done before I arrived.  I knew I had to get these documents here so I didn't do any research into the details.  If I had, I would have known I could have arranged the appointment at the embassy online.  But, with the fast-paced, never stopping life I live, I just didn't have the time to dedicate towards research into something that I couldn't do until I got here.

And, this weekend I wasn't doing anything online.  I wanted to soak up all the time with the boyfriend that I could.  I knew that I'd have plenty of time during the week while he's working to do all the business.

Monday comes.  Tasks for the day:
1)  Visit Lawyer and get Certificate de Coutume.
2)  Visit the US Embassy and get the Certificate du Celébat
3)  Locate a translator and get my birth certificate translated.

Expectations for the day:  Nothing accomplished, but I'll have fun in the process.

So, this morning, the first thing I did was contact the lawyer.  Found out he'd charge a lot more than I was expected so I dumped him.  Didn't like his location anyway.  He was out past La Defense, but he had come recommended.

Moving on, hit the US embassy website.  Got an appointment for today, yippee!  Also, got a list of lawyers and translators.  Left for my appointment.

Bus - RER - Metro and I arrive at La Concorde.  I take the first exit I see and am excitedly surprised to find myself just on the north side of the jardin des tuleries.  One of my favorite views of La Tour Eiffel was just a few feet away!  I rush into the garden and soak in my monument.

My head clears, my breathing slows and my body relaxes.  I enjoy the view for only a few minutes as I want to get over to the embassy early.

Its only a couple blocks away, but I immediately can see the location as its the only building surrounded by the gendarmerie (French Police).  Yippee for America...

I hand my passport to the lovely officer at the sidewalk and find the my name isn't on the list.  One can't even get near the building without being on the "list".  The officers were quite helpful though.  They called the proper office and let me talk to them.  Found out I'd totally mis-read the appointment calendar.  My appointment wasn't for today - it was in four weeks!  She did tell me that the next available appointment was next week though and I just had to get online to reserve it.  I knew I'd grabbed the first available appointment so I needed to rush to get online if I wanted an earlier time.

Thankfully, Apple saves the day for all the travelers.  With a large store at the louvre with free wireless for all and plenty of computers and iOS devices for anyone to use, tourists can do their business online while sight-seeing.  It's one of my favorite destinations in Paris and even when I don't need wifi, I make sure to stop by just for the fun of it.  

I walked over to the Louvre and entered the carousel du Louvre (the underground mall).  I arrived at Apple and instead of enjoying myself, I immediately sat down and got online.  I wasn't quick enough.  The appointments for next week were already gone.  But, the next available was for the 23rd instead of the 30th, so I moved my appointment up.  We would like all the paperwork submitted sooner than that, and although it will be pushing it, without a return ticket, there is time.  So, I'm not pleased with the outcome of Task #2, but it is exactly what I expected.

While at the Louvre, I read through the lists of lawyers intending to choose one nearby.  Midway through the list saw a female lawyer who does adoptions.  Obviously, I'm partial to adoption so I decided to head that direction, having no idea if she is in or if I can gain entry to the building...

Not only was the lawyer in, but she was able to give me the document I needed for half the cost of my intended lawyer!  Also, she added in the needed information for document number two, so the embassy visit may not be needed after all!  (Can't get my hopes up though.  I'll find out tomorrow if they will accept it.)

She then gave me a recommendation for a translator.  She tried calling them, but no answer.  So, yet again, I head to an office without an appointment or building access.

I love Paris!  A block away from the lawyer's, I discover a beautiful church.  

Thankfully, upon arrival at the translators, two different neighbors gave me access to each of the entry doors and I was able to go up to their office.  The translator accepted the job but told me it'd be a few days with no way to speed it up.  Wonderfully, in non-typical french fashion, when I told her I needed it by tomorrow afternoon, she agreed to get it done by the morning.  (After first saying "impossible" several times.)  ;)

I then took a break to rest in a park and then as I was only a block away from the seine, decided to walk over to Notre Dame to catch my train home.

To my absolute shock, Task #'s 1 & 3 were both accomplished with ease, and possibly even my 2nd task also.  The customer service here is definitely better than my previous experiences.  Wow!
And, I had an amazing day.  At home, running errands means sitting in traffic.  Here, I got to enjoy multiple monuments while rushing around!


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