02 October 2014

Immigration Appointments, Underpants, and Stamps in our Passports

These last nine months have been full of more events, hurdles, impossibilities and accomplishments than I have ever experienced. Taken as a collective, all that we've done to get here seems like a Herculean task ... but I suppose, it really has been just one task as a time.

And today we checked off another huge task from our have-to-do list. Immigration appointments! I have been dreading this. It seemed enough that we had already run the gauntlet of visa applications, as we do have the official seal in our passports. But apparently, the French government wants to have another appointment with any grown-ups once you get here and gift you with another seal for your passport. Naturally, this involves more paperwork and documentation and complicated requests in French that you only think you might understand.

After filing our "we have arrived" paperwork just weeks after we entered the country, we received a packet of confusing letters from OFII telling us of our pre-assigned appointments. So today was the day. Drive up to Caen, appointments, get back before the children let out from school. Bleesh.

First up, a medical check. France seems very concerned about tuberculosis. (Is this still a thing in westernized countries??) After bumbling about in reception for a bit we managed our way down to radiology where we had chest x-rays taken. Turns out we don't have tuberculosis. Hurrah! Next, we went to a waiting room full of nervous foreigners and sweated together in a small stuffy room for an hour.

When Pops and I were finally called back together for the remainder of our exams, we experienced the most bizarre medical appointment ever. Let's just say apparently a French eye-exam consists of spending some time hanging out in your underwear pronouncing letters in French while a kindly older doctor with massive amounts of chest hair sprouting from his white coat points at letters with a stick from across the room. As an added challenge,  you get to multi-task by also casting eye-daggers at Pops because he will be in giggle-fits over the whole thing. There's more to the story but that's all your gonna get unless you have my phone number and I already know some dirt on you.

Nevertheless, apparently France thinks we are healthy enough to continue to live here and we were given our approved paperwork. As we were driving over to our final appointment, we were a bundle of nerves, for we were going to be over an hour late and lunchtime was imminent. We all know that French lunches are serious business and everything shuts down for 2 hours. We made it with minutes to spare and they graciously let us in, cranked us through the final paperwork and put some more fancy stamps in our passports. Hallelujah! One more task accomplished.

If you were praying for us, thank you. We did it, we are done, and we are once again fully clothed. And these are all very good things. Vive la France!

*Do you have any bizarre stories that come to mind? Please do share and make me feel better about myself.


  1. I love it. Now we know there is a reason for underpants!

  2. Hilarious! Glad to hear that you passed the test. About TB - sadly it is a thing again in some places. We were in a not-wealthy part of London a while ago and there were huge public information posters up about it and I had to explain to the kids what it is.

    1. That is so interesting to know. It really is unheard of in the States anymore. Thank you for your insight!

  3. Oh, funny, funny, funny. In England, your doctor does not see you in your underwear--horror of horrors. Your female nurse does the exam and reports to the doctor, whom you see while fully clothed, from the opposite side of a big desk. Such professionalism!

  4. My husband would be laughing as well. I have to admit that I kind of chuckled upon reading it. I'm glad you're legally allowed to be there and to be tuberculosis free!