Vingt Neuf jours en février pour une année bissextile

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One step forward two steps back. This dance I perfected this year hasn’t gotten old; upon closer reflection, perhaps I added a spin or two. Yes, I am prone to exaggeration, but the first year of 366 days comes to a close and Rosh Hashanah is approaching, teasing me to make resolutions offer apologies.

Before touching down in France, the priority was to find a temple for the holidays. I recall my life in places other than home, when the holidays approached. Being happy to savor those experiences, those special years, when i sat alone and but didn’t feel it. Now more than ever, I crave that envelopment of jewish prayers that go beyond country borders. The good looking gorillas that allowed me into the temple last year, will have an easier time interrogating me with my improved French. Although I am sure I’ll embarrass myself as I often do. One missed word and the entire sentence is a sexual innuendo. Je suis chaud.

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Specific prayers bring different emotion and memories, and mostly of my dad, and the Shabbat queen. (Team Al) We shared more time at temple together than anywhere else and those times remain some of my best memories. His health continues to worry all the loved ones and we wait for exam results and advice. Mom is the same, but thankfully this is a good week for both.


It is said that the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the book of life is inscribed. Our fate is determined. Who will live and who will die. Who’ll be ill and healthy and so forth. Each year I feel thankful not have lost a loved one and wonder how long the stretch of good luck will continue.

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After the 4 month wait for an Identification card ended with nothing to show, we went to see an immigration attorney, or at least the associates that work for the attorney. Although lovely,  I have little faith since they left the room to seek council when we asked questions they had no answer for.

Besides being told that the right person on the right day may be able to make an exception, were were informed that all answers could only be obtained by talking to the prefecture. We were also encouraged to seek citizenship. Due to marriage, it seems I am eligible; although, it is a 6 month minimum process. Still easier than the traditional naturalization.

Claude requested the morning off from work to accompany me to the appointment, and we will beg them to switch my papers to “Spousal” to avoid the form that requires me not to seek employment for an additional year. The Visa it seems cannot be renewed here, I would need to return to the states to have this done. But no one will kick me out.

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I recall thinking what fun it would be to have a year off work. This was before I realized that manicures and pedicures are more expensive here. Sadly the year never brought my dream to Painting into fruition, but the writing became my pallet.

In refection, the year has given me many gifts, although hard to accept. My patience has been tested by the bureaucracy of government that has centuries more experience than America. There is no choice other than to abandon myself to the process and sit in more cafes.

Mistakes made last year in purchasing essentials for home have proved that I know Paris better than most. I can find the best deal and often I will jump off the metro at Batille on marché days to grab a quick and cheap poulet rôti. I have exhausted the tourist spots and found hidden treasures that are often written about but lost to the larger attractions.

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My preference for the Abbey over Shakespeare and Company shows my evolved taste and i always know where to go to find a good used book in English, though i still try to refrain knowing it stunts my french growth.

The best pools, the best gardens and beer bars. Not all fun and games, but when I first came and was lost, it was a dream to casually go to any of the above. I still go to free museums on the first Sunday of the month and although the big ones are done, i still have an endless list to discover. Ill skip the police museum, but the doll house museum is curious to me.

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Mostly it cones down to language. I still don’t understand as much as I would like, but I am assured it will take time, and now more than ever i am trying to return the “the best libraries” to study for the DELF. In order for me to seek citizenship, i need proof of passing this exam which rates my french fluency. An exam will be given in October and I wait till next week to commit, hoping the prefecture angel will solve all my problems and I can go back to French cartoons.

The job interview brought the following days rejection. One a day is all we ask. If i dont have some sort of rejection in a day, it feels off. At least it is Keeping me humble. I kept submitting applications and deleting the replies that sadly state I was not chosen.

After calling an Irish Bar back, I was told they already got someone and it was only 2 hours later. No that is matters, because according to the immigration lawyers, I am not eligible to work. Im going to take it with a grain of salt though because no one knows how many Carte de Sejourn there really are.

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The dance moved forward and after a 4 week wait, HSBC was kind enough to waive traditional requirements to allow me my first French Bank account. Victory was so exciting, i knew the next move. Seek rejection. The other shoe must drop, correct? I delivered the envelope to the post office today for Security Social.

Gloria took me to the office many months ago and explained that I was the wife of her son.The provided us with a huge list of documents needed in order to submit and application. I was dedicated and went to kinkos to make the copies of all the papers require that I currently had possession of. Then I waited, and waited, and waited for the one’s I didn’t.

The last piece of this puzzle was the bank account. With the papers submitted, I now wait for them to send them all back telling me what is wrong. Bad attitude you may think? But I like to think of it as practical. Better to be prepared for the worst then be disappointed. Either way, I am the proud own of a bank account witch allows me to register on line for a company that employees people for event.

Parisians return to work next week. Tan and happy and hopefully prepared to be generous with a poor American that has had a rough time. Children return to school and my language exchange partners are back and focused on their goals and mine. The rain is retuning. Indian summer is promised, although blue sky days are numbered.

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Although Tyler leaves and my Disneyland passport expires soon, there is always a silver lining. I can read the billboards in he metro and know what special events are coming to Paris and found I can stand outside a venue and till hear the music fine. Like a child Ill see a marionnettes show in the Luxembourg gardens since the dialogue is about my level. I felt truly triumphant when I left the theater last week  having understood most of the dialogue. Who knew Cars could be so gripping.

One of the best things that came with summer was my return to running. Happily old injuries are finally healed and my path along the river has increased in miles in hopes that i can run an all women event along the Seine in a little over a week.


Claude’s birthday was celebrated as he wanted, and we biked 75 kilometers(about 45 miles) to Coulommier and sent the night to return the next day on a different route that was 10 kilometers further. He was happy, I was injured and we search for a new saddle to put us in training for a race in 2 months.

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It was nice to get out of the city and see the cheese country. Of course i had visions of stands like in California. wood signs teasing you to stop for fresh local produce just picked. I though, maybe there will be cheese stands and plenty of cows. Not so much. The countryside was beautiful and filled with all types of animals and plants. The forests were cool and as green as an Oregon road. But I saw more water towers than proof of cheese.

The new year approaches and I have clear cut goals despite one less day because it was a leap year. Eventually all will be well. C’est le vie, oui? In the mean time, Ill be at the library or at least a cafe.








7 thoughts on “Vingt Neuf jours en février pour une année bissextile

  1. Allison, it’s Charley from Montage. I read these! Miss you much, and in spite of all the challenges, it all still sounds like a good dream to me. Love you love you, thanks for sharing and sticking out your journey. ❤


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