Pages

17 May 2014

To Go and Return Again


After a whirlwind tour of San Francisco, we are back and done with the visa paperwork portion of our adventure. Phew! After leaving the girls at home with my mother, (thanks, mama!!) we flew in Wednesday evening and took the BART to downtown. Dropped our bags at a little "French" hotel. (Didn't really plan the Frenchy-ness of this, it just worked out ... room for three and a breakfast!)

Once we dropped off our bags we walked down the street for dinner and ended up at Café de la Presse (I swear, it wasn't planned.) and while we were waiting for our meal alfresco, I wandered down the street a bit and managed to be mistaken for a nervous-looking man's blind date, Noelle. Nope. Not Noelle. But thank you so very much for considering me a candidate.


In the morning we had our breakfast and gussied up so we could convince the French we weren't too dumpy to come and live in their country for a bit. We set off on foot to the consulate, me clutching the massive, neurotically organized accordion file of paperwork that became known as my fourth child, and mentally preparing for stern, ruthless French bureaucrats to cause weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Once there, we were met by a very friendly security guard who checked off our names with a smile and ushered us in to the inner sanctum of ... peace and tranquility. Clean, tidy, bright, organized. And behind the glass, smiling consulate attendants. They were ready for us ahead of schedule and took us through the process with great patience. At one point, I noticed thank you cards taped up behind the desk from other astonished and appreciative visitors like myself. (I have never once seen a thank you card at the DMV. Just sayin'.)

Once done, signed, fingerprinted, photographed (you may smile, but no teeth), and fees paid, we were told we should know if we are approved by mail within the next 10-15 days. So now we wait ... but I feel hopeful! Either way, we've done our part and it's out of our hands.


 After our triumphant exit we headed back to the hotel, changed clothes, organized a new flight (as our return trip was cancelled ... argh!), and did a world's fastest sweep of San Francisco. Cable cars, lunch, union square and breezy fisherman's wharf where we could technically see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. All in about 3 hours before our taxi cab driver, David, took us to the airport for our flight home. (David, incidently, is an immigrant from the African country Eritrea who had spent time in a Costa Rican prison because they caught him in a boat listlessly and illegally floating off their shores. He was happy to do his prison sentence just to escape his own government, then worked his way up through Central America, Mexico, got a green card for the US, and is becoming a US citizen next year because he now calls this country home. Fascinating.)

As a final thought to this excursion, there were several times when I found myself wondering if my Grandmother, a San Francisco native, wandered where I was wandering. How interesting that her gift was the catalyst for our European calling, the remainder of those funds are just enough to cover our return tickets, and our final piece of the visa approval puzzle completes where she was born.

6 comments:

  1. How long will you be living in France?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our visa, if it comes through, will be good for a year with the potential to renew. So ... at least one year!

      Delete
  2. loved reading this post and seeing the photos!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anna!!! I am just catching up on your blog and your VERY exciting adventure! I am thrilled for you guys, and hope you don't mind me living vicariously through you!!! Living abroad for a time was one of our dreams that we had to let go when we became a family of 8!! REALLY want to see you before you go and hear all about it :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Bonnie, you are on a grand and truly holy adventure of your own. I think of you often! Are you anxious for summer with your brood? I am imagining lots of sprinklers, water guns and popsicles over at your house! (ps- would love a catch up with you!)

      Delete