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.