Sorry for the late update, but I got some good news. Last week I had a second date with OFII. Finally they’ve decided to invite me for a rendezvous so I can sign my integration contract as a stranger in France. Now to be clear I went to the OFII of the Yvelines District not in Paris as at the moment my registered address in the Yvelines area.
So the day start with queueing up outside the door at 7.30 in the morning, nice and early. I have to present the invitation and passport at the reception at the front. Went up to another room where I was asked for my phone number and to show him the €241 timbre that I’ve paid (which is like a tax, you paid it online). Then I got sent to a conference room where you watched a video about living in France (in french) the translator machine was broken at the time so for me I understood probably 20% out of the whole thing. There were some presentations as well but all of them were in french so to be honest I have no idea what was it all about.
Next, I was called for my medical check-up, this was pretty straight forward procedures. They took urine test, X-Ray, eye check-up and the normal weighing and measuring your height. Now ladies just so you know during the X-Ray they will asked you to take your top off, as in bra and all, and you pretty much walk in to the x-ray room half-naked (I was warned by a friend of mine prior which was good so I was prepared). After that I was interviewed by a doctor, he asked me about my vaccination history and whether I am currently on any medication. He then gave me a medical certificate, it’s important to keep this piece of paper, as you need it when you have to renew your carte de sejour.
After all the medical procedures are done, I went back to the conference room and waited until being called for the interview. My interviewer didn’t speak english very well so it was a challenge but we managed it somehow by me speaking broken french and she speaking broken english. But don’t worry if they don’t speak English at all they will call up your partner to help with the translation. Basically she stuck the titre de sejour in my passport (which works like a carte de sejour), the expiry date is the same as my long-stay visa. Then she asked me to sign the contract, which I need to keep and use for renewing my card de sejour. Normally they will organise a language test and send you to a full day conference about your civil duties or something like that (sorry but I barely understood thing that she was saying), however mine was delayed as I am moving to Paris this week, therefore they have to transfer my dossier to the OFII in Paris, which will then organise these things for me.
Overall it was not as bad as I thought it would be, though the lack of English explanation was a little bit overwhelming and confusing for my part. But hey looking at the bright side as I was doing this not in Paris the waiting time was probably half of what it would be if I was doing it in the Paris OFII. We finished around 11.30 ish perfect timing for a nice lunch!
The cherry tree in the backyard is ready for harvesting, so when my father in law asked if I want to go and do some cherry picking, I was like ‘of course’. I didn’t know that I have to climb up this ladder so I can pick the ones up high in the tree. I am a bit scared of height but the whole experience was not as frightening as I thought it would be. It was actually quite relaxing to be up top in between branches, looking for those dark red juicy cherries. I even started eating them while I was picking them. It is not an easy thing to pick fruits, it made me realise how hard-working farmers are to produce these beautiful fruit and vegetables, ready for us just to pick up in the supermarket. We need to protect the farmers, and with all these middle subsidiaries in between us and the farmers, they get next to nothing for their produces. I would encourage people to buy direct from farmers if you have access to them, it’s a way to protect their livelihood and sustain their diminishing existence due to environmental harsh and economic conditions. Protect your farmers and buy locally!
After a week of french language school, I feel more confident in trying to speak even if my pronunciation is bad, you need to start somewhere right? Campus Langues turned out to be good, it was the most affordable language school I found in Paris with good review and best of all you get to practise your french in the class. I started in the debutant class, which is for complete beginner. The teacher taught you in french at all times, but it was manageable to understand what she is teaching. We did a lot of question and answer for the first week on how to introduce ourself and ask basic questions, which is great. Rather than just the teacher doing all the talking all the time, it can be a bit slow as you tend to repeat a lot of the things but overall I enjoyed my first week of school. We got a really good teacher too, she speaks slowly and clearly, gives extra interactive home work via emails to help you progress in your own time. I will definitely recommend this school if you ever want to learn french in Paris. A bientôt!
Wednesday, June 5th 2013 was the World Environment Day, and this year focus is on food waste and productions. Therefore I pledged to myself to do these little changes in my life to help protect our beautiful earth and off course something achievable within my means.
1. I’m the biggest culprit of buying food and forgot to eat them, until they are passed their expiry date. So I decide to be more vigilant in this matter and reduce food waste as much as possible. Only buying what we can actually consume, even if it means going to the market twice a week.
2. Eat locally and seasonally as much as we can, except maybe the odd Australian Vegemite and my Indonesian sauces and spices(can’t live without them). As well as reducing my consumption of meat as they are the biggest carbon producer in the food pyramids.
3. Reduce my consumption of bottle water and drink tap water instead, at the moment I am still researching whether those Brita or Bobble filters are recyclable or biodegradable for me to make the switch.