Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Carte de Sejour- Final Act

Today we got all dressed in our best undergarments and headed out for our final (hopefully) appointment in the Carte de Sejour process. This was the medical inspection. I suppose we needed to be given a clean bill of health in order to have a year long visitor visa.

The medical appointment was near Bastille, France's Ellis Island, where all immigrants shed their clothing above their torsos, have x-rays taken of their lungs, and meet with a doctor.

The process went very smoothly and lasted just over an hour. Everyone was kind, helpful and even smiley. It was strange. It was too smooth.

But wait, Sean still hasn't finished his visit with the doctor. I heard him in there on the other side of the wall while I was meeting with my appointed doctor. It sounded like they were having a good time. There was talk of knee surgery... and then I couldn't listen anymore as I had to go back to the waiting room with my pulmonary x-rays in hand. I had appartently passed inspection. But where's Sean?

The woman at the front desk was feeling for me. She too wondered what was taking so long. People were being sent on to pay their money and receive their Carte de Sejour, and I just sat. And waited. Front desk woman said she could send me on, but that I might as well wait for my husband. Sure, I guess.

It turns out that without his translator present, Sean was no longer the silent monkey, but a person, and an interesting one, with stories and information to keep an audience attentive for hours if not days. Good god, where is he? I had half a mind (what's new) to storm in and see what was going on, but I just sat and smiled at the Front desk clerk.

It turns out that Sean's doctor took a particular liking to him (who doesn't? get in line, doc), and he had lots of questions for him. Sean was not sure if the man was asking the questions on behalf of the State, to size up if he was really here legitimately and was of sound mind to be in the country, or if he was genuinely interested in him as a person. The questions involved the size in square meters of our apartment, what amount of money we're living on, and did Sean think he could cope mentally not working a year. (It's been really rough, doc, but we're pulling through so far). Of course, there were the medical questions also.

At one point I was actually afraid that maybe his x-rays had spots all over them, and that he had some sort of medical issues. I tossed up a quick prayer which was immediately followed by, "Something better be wrong with him, or why else is this taking so long!"

Finally, Sean was sprung from the doctor's "examination" room, and the front desk clerk sent us to pick up our carte de sejour down the hall.

So, we're legal until October of 2008. Vive la France!


Starman said...

For future reference: you can get your Carte de Sejour before you leave for France. Just check out any French Consulate Office.

Diablo said...

I got mine in a box of Cracker Jacques!