When I finally picked up my carte de séjour (residence permit) last Friday, after 4 months of being in France, I was more than delighted. With the little card in my hands, hot n’ fresh, I was finally legal and able to travel! Or so I thought.
Back at the office, I turned to the back of the card, only to discover in horror and utter defeat that my “pays de naissance” (country of birth) was “REPUBLIQUE DEMO DU CONGO”. Thanks mom and dad, I never knew I was born in Africa. Way to tell me 23 years later via such an indirect route.
But seriously, what I thought was a pleasant end of the week turned out to be rather disappointing as I realized that I’d have to go back and get this information corrected (they also didn’t update my address). My guess would be that “REPUBLIQUE DE CHINE” is too close to “REPUBLIQUE DEMO DU CONGO”, hence the silly error. I had a good laugh, but I sighed at the fact that I’d have to make another trip to the prefecture, line up for an hour, and wait for who knows how long for the new corrected card while hoping they don’t make another mistake. This is quite urgent too, because I can’t go to Belgium without the card. All of a sudden, I feel like an identity-less refugee.
There’s one important lesson to be learned here, something that I will be sure to keep in mind in any future bureaucratic endeavour. Basically, never assume that anything will be done correctly the first time around in France. Always double-check, triple-check, quadruple-check, x-ple-check documents so that you won’t have waste time to make extra trips for correction. Being the skeptic that I am, I checked my medical visit receipt after this incident, and as I speculated, they put my country of birth as “Canada”. Not nearly as far-fetched as Congo, but a mistake nevertheless. Why ask for my passport if you’re going to make assumptions?
Lately I’ve been updating on Tuesdays instead of weekends. Somehow Tuesdays are…freer than the rest of the week. Anyhow, on with the pictures.
A few weeks ago I took the train from downtown Bordeaux to Pessac, a trip with a total duration of five minutes. Here is Bordeaux St.Jean station. I’m glad they have those automatic machines for buying tickets. As long as you know which train you want to take, they’re so much more convenient to use, and of course, you avoid the big line-up.
Looking for the platform. Photo was blurry most likely because I was walking as I took it.
At the platform, just before boarding the train. I rather liked the TER. Though not as fast as the TGV, it was still extremely fast while being quiet, comfortable, and stylish. I can’t wait to go to Arcachon by train during the summer!
Arriving at Pessac Centre station, I saw this horse-drawn cart slowly passing by. On a rainy Saturday in a peaceful little suburb, the leisurely mood brought about by this scenary fit in perfectly with the setting.
I love this structure. It reminds me of an old, historic castle, probably the one where Cinderella met the prince. Perhaps Sleeping Beauty was trapped in there as well, or maybe Snow White was born here. It just felt like a setting from a fairytale that somehow teleported through time into the city of Bordeaux. Gorgeous, I must say, especially with the lucent glow at night. I’m pretty sure you can see the Grosse Cloche on the other side, but I will have to double check that one day.
The same night I took the previous photo, I went back to the Grand Théâtre area for a stroll. (Clearly, this was before Christmas.) Here I was looking through an arch at the Grand Théâtre; it was also my first conscious – albeit n00bish – attempt at achieving a natural framing effect.
Gigantic columns supporting the Grand Théâtre.
Looking through the long corridor under the arches. The view was mesmerizing, especially since the night was chilly and the pink tone of the hallway gave off a feeling of radiating heat.
An alleyway sandwiched between typical Bordelais architecture. Clear skies are so awesome. Perfect blackness is a fitting background for the sparkling luminosity of the streets and buildings of Bordeaux.
As today is the first of February, the countdown to Belgium has become easier to keep track of. Also, the Chinese New Year gospel event is happening this Saturday, February 5th at church! A whole month of endless preparation and anticipation, and it is here in four days. If all goes well, pictures for the event will be posted next week. Until then, enjoy the rest of your week and to whom it may concern, happy Chinese New Year!