Today I went into the city for the second time in order to have my Visa put into my passport. Sounds simple, right? Not!
I was told to go between 9am and 10am with my passport and the receipt they gave me. When I arrived in front of the building at 8:40, 20 people were already standing outside. At first it appeared that they were all there to apply for a Visa, wrong again, the majority were waiting just like me, to get a sticker put in their passport. At 9am they finally open the door (remember this building only opens on the half hour because of “security reasons”), there was a bit of chaos as we all try and get in and the workers try and split the 1st timers from the others. Finally I get upstairs, hand my Passport and receipt in at one of the booths (a bit confusing since they kind of just shoved us all up the stairs), and stand in the little space behind the red line with the rest of the crowd. I ended up waiting for two hours, during which they called my name once (to find out exactly when I was leaving) and added more people to the already chaotic space every half hour. I was going a bit nuts as the people around my gossiped about how it was their third time due to missing forms. Finally, my name was called and I was handed my Visa. Simple as that. It seems it doesn’t get too crazy unless you don’t have all your forms the first time. Then you are given a list of the missing forms to bring the next time, and then they determine if you’re ready to get your visa or not. So, for this I thank Goucher. While I was annoyed copying and finding all the items on Goucher’s list of paperwork for the Visa, it came in very handy when I needed to be prepared for all the things not listed on the Visa website. Such as a copy of your driver’s license. It seems almost everybody needed a copy of their driver’s license, and unless a friend tipped them off, nobody had a clue and were forced to use the 50 cents per page copier in the office.
So, thank you Goucher OIS for being insanely prepared and helpful in my journey à Paris.
Random note: Eat before you go to the consulate. They can leave you stuck in there for hours on end, and if you leave you lose your appointment. I was quite hungry by the end of it today. Same applies to bathroom, there’s one in the building but who knows when they’ll call your name.
After getting my Visa (God, it feels so good to say that!), my mom and I went to the Guggenheim Museum for our annual art fix. I could rant about how confusing and silly the Guggenheim is, but that’s not the point of this blog now is it? My Frenchy museum experience was with the free audio tour they give you. I asked a worker how to switch the language into French, and decided to see how much I could understand. Turns out, my French hasn’t slipped all the much since school. I haven’t magically become fluent or anything, but I could basically understand the tour. This made me feel sooo much better about next week. I still need to figure out the Parisian accent, but it feels great to know I’m starting out in a good place. (And a little note to Madame, I was able to spot a Manet, Monet, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, although I did miss another Van Gogh. UCONN French taught me well. )
That’s all I have to say about NYC. Back on the home front I’m trying to catch up with old e-mails. I don’t know what it is this summer but I just hate responding to e-mails. Must have inherited it from living with Becca for so long. But, if you don’t respond to IFE it turns out they send you another e-mail with URGENT as the subject. I better hop to that.
I’ve been starting to pack. Turns out I can fit all my clothes in a huge suitcase using Space Bags. Also turns out this makes the bag exceed the 50 lb. weight limit. So, I’m working on it. I guess I didn’t really need my fuzzy PJs in France. 🙂