I look French? I am French! (so I would say if I were French)

Who has to know I am Canadian?

I have been Frenching up my style lately, not that I actually know what French style is. I guess I won’t get the clear picture until I’m there. I am Frenching it up in my perceived vision of what that means. You know, very, feminine, modest, unique clothing pieces, a great item of jewelry to put the outfit together, high heels and a sprits of the amazing French perfume my BF’s mom brought me from France. A neat, rather than frizzy hairstyle, and a touch of light make-up. This really differs from my usual, quite casual style consisting of a pair of jeans and a top, a cute pair of flats, frizzy hair, and no make-up. I like to consider myself a naturalist in beauty which to me seems tres Canadian, but as I moving to France, why not go all out?

And when they ask me if I am French I develop a slight smirk on my face. I am way to honest to say I’m French. My usual response is, “No, I’m a full blown Canadian, but I am moving there shortly.” One day (hopefully) my answer will be “mais oui!”

Do I dislike being Canadian? Absolutely not. Nor does it mean anything to me to pretend to want to be French. I have absolutely no attachment to nationality whatsoever. I consider myself a global citizen and I like to try on the flavours of other cultures.

The benefit of trying on this French flavour is getting very excited for what France will actually present to me and I feel so confident and womanly in this new look! What is there not to love about it!

And note, the picture above is not me but an actual anonymous French girl I found on the world wide web.

Au Revoir Stuff!

Happy Canada Day! Today I have a much-needed break from work so I decided to clean my apartment. The cleaning began with my room and then I realized the overwhelming task ahead of me and the cleaning ended with my room.

When I was cleaning my bedroom I decided to go through my stuff and pick out the things that I definitely want to get rid of before I go. I am sure I will have to do this a few times throughout the next couple of months. Everything that I will end up keeping will go into my parent’s basement until my return, or until forever. I did not pick out everything, just a few key things that I am sure I no longer want in my life. These things include old cameras (3) a huge stack of books that no longer interest me, some cheap jewelery that I could give to others, un-opened bottles of bath and beauty product, DVDs, and CDs.

Now that I have pulled out what I don’t, there is a new unwanted heap on my bedroom floor, exposed. After I completed the task, I look at the pile of unwanteds and thought “Shoot, now it is in the middle of my floor being unwanted rather than tucked away in some cosy space.” Oh well! I decided not to put it back in a closet or hidden space as that may cause me to never, ever get rid of the stuff. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.

Unless I have a super, itsy-bitsy yard sale (consisting of one table or so?) I won’t make any money off of this stuff so I am hoping that people (family and friends) will take what I do not want. The rest will have to go to charity.

With that said, there are definitely a few pieces in my unwanted heap (not physically in the heap but in the heap in my mind) that I can make money from. These include a perfectly good, working colour printer, an Toshiba LCD TV (DVDs included), an awesome, perfect condition acoustic guitar and a drum set. I have a few plans in mind for them. Kijiji and craigslist have been tried and tried again but I never have any takers. But I will try again, along with checking out how ebay works. My only wish is to sell these things to people who will really appreciate them. I have not yet told you the story about my new camera and how I ended up getting the best one possible for almost no money! (Tomorrow’s post, I promise). The man who sold me the camera only wanted to give it to someone who was so appreciative of it and I ended up buying it, as grateful as a person could possibly be! I do believe I have strong attachment to the guitar (16th birthday present) and the drumset (my first “big” purchase that I saved up for two years to buy off of babysitting money). But if I sell these items to someone who really will benefit, than their will be no attachment attached.

My goal for all this stuff: Gone by July 31st, and make money on the drums, guitar, TV and printer.

I am moving to France: The reality is setting in.

When I was in “obtaining visa” mode obtaining the visa is all I though about. I needed to obtain the visa, so as a result my thoughts were not as much on moving to France but on  collecting documents, saving money and learning French. Although I am still focusing on saving money and especially learning French, now that I have this work visa my thoughts have been changing.

Slowly, very slowly actually, the reality is setting in. The initial excitement came when I made the decision, but back then it was still a dream. Now it is not a dream and it is the reality and I am feeling a more dulled version of that excitement. Holy Moly! I really want to go do not get me wrong, it is just that sometimes I am a nervous freakazoid and the reality of the fear that I need to overcome in the next few months is what is causing that dulling effect.

These fears include:

  • The fear of flying
  • The fear of not having enough money
  • The fear of failing while I am there
  • The fear of not being accepted

Basically, when I review this list, these are basic fears a lot of human beings have to deal with.

What makes this situation a little perverse is that I am excited at the same time. And not just excited to go to France, but excited to overcome these fears before I go! I am excited because I am afraid. If you ever watch “How I Met Your Mother” you will know that the infamous character Barney likes to use the phrase “Challenge Accepted!” whenever someone makes a mere mention of a possibly impossible feat. When I look at that list above, I take on that same attitude: Challenge Accepted!

The only action plan so far is to chant and to avoid or brush off any comments suggesting I will fail, or any TV shoes (les emissions) that deal with crashing airplanes (When discover channel’s “Mayday” is on sometimes it seduces me in, but I will stay strong).

I am moving to France! Exciting!!!

I Got The Visa!!!!

I am following that title with, OF COURSE I DID!

Yes I had my doubts. Due to a many number of reasons I believed I would receive my visa on the same day as my appointment with the consulate in Toronto, which was Wednesday by the way. In my personal situation, this did not happen.

I arrived 10 minutes early as requested by the email sent out after I had booked the appointment on-line, confirming the appointment. I had to bring that piece of paper with me to show the security guard at the door. When I entered, I realized I was the only person there, along with the one consulate staff behind a counter (with a glass screen between us). I guess it makes sense to up the security at a consulate office.

Anyway, I didn’t wait a second, I was told just to go straight up to the counter. This was to be my appointment. Not in some big office sitting in front of a desk, as I had imagined, but in a much more procedural manner as if I was buying my ticket at the GO station.

She quickly scanned through the file folder with eons of documents and information within it, after I slipped it in a drawer that send it over to her side of the glass. This woman was nice. She was very, very professional but nice. I couldn’t get a smile out of her but that was ok because I myself was extremely nervous and the smiling wasn’t happening on my end too much either.

She looked at all the documentation then asked me, “When are you planning this trip for?” The tone she used sounded like something was wrong. Oh no! Did I do something wrong? Yes, I did! I had planned the trip to be two weeks shy of a year (50 weeks) instead of the whole 52 weeks or 365 days (side note that for some reason the insurance told me that a year had 366 days, maybe a leap year coming up?) What? I had not realized that I had to make the trip for exactly one year. She asked me if I wanted to change this and request the visa for the full year. Of course I said yes. She than took my picture, my fingerprints, and sent me home with a piece of paper. This paper told me to change the travel health insurance and the OHIP coverage. I did these two things the same day. It was so convenient that I was able to email these documents to them the same night. The paper also said it would take 10 days to process the visa and find out whether or not I was approved.

If there was anything I wanted, it was to obtain this visa before my boyfriend went back to Europe (he arrived there today) but I kept my hopes up anyway and new that waiting ten days was a treat compared to how long he was left waiting for his work permit that never ended up coming.

The next day they told me to come pick up my passport (which I left with them) or send someone else to pick it up with a letter of authorization from moi. I sent my boyfriend with $20 for transportation because I was working.

In the morning the consulate called to remind me to pick up the passport. I thanked the lady two or three times and as my usual enthusiastic self, I told her I would send someone.My boyfriend left to go to the consulate in the morning and later in the afternoon my boyfriend arrived at my work and said to me, -I have three good news for you. One is that I saved you money by walking instead of taking the subway, the second is that I have your passport, and the third is that I have your visa!

I was really expecting to have to wait ten days so when he told me this my heart almost stopped I was so excited! I proceeded to jump and yell all over the place. And now, I officially have my visa. And I got it before my awesome FBF went home! (I miss him)

So after this situation the most important thing I would like to bring up, stress and reiterate is that it is one person choosing whether or not your visa is approved or not. It is also your choice as to how you behave with that one person. Even when I went for the first time, and didn`t get a smile out of the lady and was told news that I didn`t want to hear, I was still friendly, polite and professional. I continued with that attitude on the phone and by email and by the end of it all I could hear the woman`s smile on our last phone call and now I will be going to live and work in France!

Short break to re-group, but I’m back!

I took a short break from blogging but now I am back to purge my thoughts and ideas once again.

Everything has been moving very quickly lately and I am learning to adapt to this new pace. I realize that as I get closer, certain, important tasks will become more urgent (e.g. selling some some of my things before I go, becoming fluent in the French language, organizing trip stuff…). My sister’s bridal shower is coming up shortly which will be hosted by moi and that has me a little tangles in the mind as well. My only strategy is to do one thing at a time and hopefully I will finish all the necessary to-dos.

To do:

-Bridal Shower: Write out final food list and grocery list, delegate food list, make an “advice book” for guests to fill out, put together a PP presentation. The dress has been purchased and the invitations all sent so I’m practically ready for it… right?

-Learning French: Watch French television (thank-you Canadian TV!), continue reading (I have been completely slacking), correct my writing assignment, test my vocab, fill out my verb book

-2E Visa: Get my pictures re-taken because I need three and I only purchased 2, finish obtaining the funds (includes selling drums, guitar and TV), buy my insurance

Now that I have written all these tasks out, they seem a lot more manageable for some reason!

Oh yeah! And one more big task: FILE MY FREAKING TAXES!!!!!

Until next time…

 

 

Faith, Fears, Frustration, Funds, Family, France

Faith: Have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith!

Fears: I really need to start facing these. Is the airplane going to crash? Um, probably not. Is it possible that things will not go as planned when I arrive in France? Very possible! I guess I just need to accept these truths and let the fear go.

Frustration: 2 words: Learning French!

Funds: Dear the bank of the universe, please send me all necessary funds asap so I can stop worrying about them. P.s. please send me some extra funds for 2-3 pretty summer dresses. Thanks. I love you! Laura

Family: I finally told my mom I am leaving and she seemed pretty pumped about it! Yay!

France: I CAN’T WAIT!

 

Oh, that language of love…

Today I was able to get one more document completed and ready for the obtainment of this visa. My cover letter to the consul general is done!

Every time I read French, have a lesson, or simply listen to French music, I try to pick up something new and remember what I have learned. Writing this cover letter was a nice little assignment for me and I learned a lot about the language. And even though I am learning a lot, I am still terrified that I’ll never speak this language! The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know and that learning French is not as simple as translating word for word. French writing has a style, as does English writing. Although I would love to directly translate, “I would like to obtain a 2e Visa to France and I would appreciate being considered as an eligible candidate”, and sentence like this can be directly translated while making sense, it just won’t be very French. We anglophones have developed expressions and etiquette in our language over a many number of years and so have the French, and that makes these languages very different from one another. I am not saying that my learning a ton of vocabulary plus different ways to structure sentences and many different verb tenses is all for waste, because they do say that you cannot build a house from the top floor down but you must always start with the foundation. So I am currently pouring the cement into a gigantic French language vortex I have dug, and starting to understand this language of love more and more. I can see that what I am learning now (these awesome building blocks!) will enable me to hear people out and speak in sentences that others will definitely understand (although they may not be correct), so I can at least communicate with my future neighbours. I can also see that the real learning, the really juicy, building the home part of  learning this language, will only happen while I am in France, learning the French style and being immersed in it everyday.

Am I scared? Maybe a little. At this same time, this is kind of a fun challenge and even writing about this has me excited for the moment I step off the plane and realize that its all sink or swim…