Bientôt Française…?

As wife to a Frenchman, mother to Franco-American children, the idea of becoming a bi-nationaux is something I’ve been considering for quite some time. As the world we live in sometimes feels stranger and stranger, filled with less certainty, an more confusion, I decided it was a step I was ready to take.  I have been in France for many years, soon enough, I’ll have lived in France longer then I lived in the US, so I really do consider myself half French, half American.  Or, maybe I should say 100% French and 100% American?  Whatever the percentages, my identity is split between the two now, and carrying both nationalities satisfies parts of my identity, being and soul.  I carry both in my heart, one is my roots, the other are my branches.

Once I had decided to move forward, I wrote to my préfecture to inquire about the exact requirements.  I knew I had the basic requirements to apply as the spouse of a French person, but each préfecture has a slightly different process, or requirements, and they all function a bit differently.  (Mine requires files to be sent in via AR with a chronopost envelope in case they must return your file to you, others prefer a rendez-vous to drop off your file in person, so if you are interested in requesting nationality, I recommend checking with your own, local, préfecture before starting anything).

They got back to me rather fast, and with the list of paperwork required in hand, I got to work locating everything.  Luckily, it was the start of the school year, when I finally found myself with free mornings!  I started compiling my dossier, which I finally completed end of October and send off to the préfecture early November.  In total it took about 2 months to get it together, with some help from my parents as I needed copies of their birth certificates, along with the “usual suspects” when dealing with French Administration- recent bills, impôts, acte de naissance, copies of IDs, self addressed pre-stamped envelopes…  But nothing all that daunting, in fact, I think the list is quite similar for a ten year carte de séjour.

A few months of running down to the mailbox as soon as the postman had come by, I was almost suprised one day to find an envelope in my mailbox written to me, in my own handwriting!  The préfecture wrote to let me know that my file is complét (whew!!) and next I’ll be called in for an entretien d’assimilation.

So, while not a fast process, it is one that is moving forward.  I’m busy now reviewing my knowledge of French history, but I’m not concerned.  I’ll update as the process evolves, watch this space!

Affaire à suivre…

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Les vacances d’hiver

Ahhh, les vacances d’hiver.  Pure bliss.  6 weeks after Christmas/New Years break the French schools have a 2 week break.  A friend in the US with some French family roots that still run deep calls this “national ski week”, which is actually fairly apt and concise of an explanation.  A lot of families head over to les alps or the Pyrénées for a week of skiing during this winter break.  It is a lot of fun, but it can be pricey when you are a famille nombreuse!  We do like to go, and try to go now and then, but not this year for us!  Maybe next year?  Instead, we’ve spent the first week working on paperwork, making glorious messes, some local tourism, I’m hopeful that we will maybe get some lights hung and a few other odd jobs this weekend, Mama likes to dream!…

We took our three valentines out to lunch on Valentine’s day.  Inadvertently we ended up at a crêpe place that seemed to be hosting a valentines lunch for a 70+ year old crowd.  We were the youngest ones there by several decades, including the patrons, the chef and even the serveur.  After, we took the girls out to the Pointe du Raz.  The “end of the Earth” as they say here.  It was a beautiful, sunny, day, though a bit windy.  (I wish I could share some pictures but I’m struggling to get them to load- I’ll keep trying so check back!)

And, as quickly as it started our week as a group of 5 ended and Papa headed back to work.  Our week of just girls was a bit less productive, but we rested, snuggled, got some paperwork sorted (new passports, galore!) and all that that entails.

Monday is back to school for the girls, and time for me to clean the house, top to bottom, and work on some of my other obligations!  My parents are coming for a visit at the end of April so I have to get the house together!  This involves hopefully hanging what little art we have on the walls, putting in light fixtures in, well, pretty much every room in the house (still!), and mopping floors, clearing dust from corners and all the exciting chores that never seem to make it to the top of the list among all the regular chores!

Spring is in the air…

February 10th and despite a cold morning, with actual frost on the windshield (a fairly rare occurance in my corner of Brittany), I can feel spring in the air.  It is still a bit cold, but the sun is bright, the skies are blue, and I feel like I am behind in my gardening.  All sure signs in my book.  So many questions, things to decide.

Get a slide, or a roulotte for the kids?  My heart leans heavily towards roulotte!

What to plant?  Where?

Buy a tunnel?  Oui!  Where to put it?

What to do this summer?  Spain?  Staycation?  Road trip?

It feels like endless options at the start of spring!

I alwas seem to get antsy in Spring.  Since we moved fairly often in the past 6 years or so, I feel as if we should be gearing up to move again, even though nothing is on the horizon.  As much as I wanted to put down roots, I feel a bit wanderlust…  I find myself persuing for sale ads.  Not just any for sale ads, though.  Chateaux, manoirs, exceptional properties.  None of which are anything we could afford, but to dream a bit…