Thursday, September 16, 2004

5 Days

This morning we went to the prefecture to apply for Amy's carte de sejour. Essentially she has to have a residency permit and a work permit before the university can pay her. Daniel had written her a letter stating that we were living with him and gave us some bills proving he lived where the letter said he did. This was wonderful except that he lives in a suburb of Strasbourg and the Strasbourg people said we had to go to the suburb folks to get the permit. They also added we needed some more paperwork. French life is all about paperwork. One of the documents she needs is a letter from the university inviting her to work. Now she has a contract stating she is working there, but this won't do she needs to be invited to work first. I don't know how the French do anything but fill out paperwork.

This evening one of Daniel and Tammy's friends came by for supper. He was visiting here from Detroit on business. It was an odd setting for Amy and I since we do not know him, yet felt it appropriate to spend the evening with him as well since we are staying here with Daniel and Tammy. So the visit was a little long to me because a lot of it was catching up between the two parties.

My French lessons begin tomorrow. I am a little nervous because I don't believe I will be much of a student anymore. It has been so long since I learned in any normal classroom setting that I don't know how well I will do. One thing I have learned about French culture is they do not admit any weakness or ignorance. I am very self deprecating and I wonder what the instructor will think of me if I continue to put myself down while trying to learn. In this new culture I am very timid about everything not wanting to be out of place or considered rude. Today, though, we spend a lot of time with one of the students here and he did a number of things against French culture. Like he barged into a store and asked for directions, a definite no no in France, especially with poor French language skills. But his attitude was of indifference because he felt it was better to get the directions and be sneered at than wander around for an hour. I think I like that attitude.

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