Monday, November 27, 2006

French Passport

Bonjour everyone!

I went to the consulate last week. I thought it would be a huge red tape nightmare. Fifteen minutes later the nice lady said to me, "Your passport should arrive in three to four weeks."

She also gave me a picture I.D. which says on the back, "The holder of this card is under French authorities protection." Not sure what that really means. I was reminded to vote in next year's election. I did read in Vogue (American) about one of the candidates who is running. I have to do more research on her.

I was shocked things went so smoothly. The consulate told me it was because my parents already did all the paperwork. Had they not registered our births with the New York Embassy, applied for the "Livret de Famille" (the family book), it would have been very difficult for me to obtain my French citizenship. I would have to track down and fill out a ton of paperwork (mine and my parents) and be interviewed. I had the stamped copy of my French birth certificate therefore I didn't have to prove anything.

I do prefer the French (and correct) pronunciation of my name. Growing up I did not like having a name from the 50s. The only other Arlenes I heard of as a child were, Arlene Francis and 40 something Jewish women from Syosset or Great Neck, Long Island. I was supposed to be named Jacqueline but my mom changed her mind. She didn't like the name Jackie and eveyone was naming their daughters after Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. I guess Jackie was the Britney of the mid to late 60s. I understand, but why not Stacey, Melissa or something? Plus my middle name is Antoinette. Hello, did she not have her head sliced off? I know some of these really old school name are coming back, Grace, Hazel, Ella, but I don't expect to see Arlene on those lists anytime soon.

I have no idea why my parents dropped the accent. It's on all my French documents. It's funny all my Italian friends and teachers pronouce it the French way as well. It's too late now. People will think I'm weird if I insist they start calling me Arlène (Arlen or as the Italian say, Arrrlen) instead of Arlene (Arlean). I do have one or two friends who call me Arlen but more as a joke.

Anyway, I am very excited about getting my EU citizenship. If I had savings and way to make a living, I would be on the next flight to Rome. In the meantime I am looking foward to next year. I will finish my novel and work wise we have a few interesting projects coming out. Hopefully I will get a little raise. Having paid off all debt this year, I cannot wait to live below my means for a change.

I know I said only a couple days ago I would stay in this dumpy ass apartment and deal with my insane landlord for a while since my rent is stablished. That might be unhealthy. I spend 48 weeks a year here, I should have home, not just a place I sleep. I think 2007 will be my last year here. I do want to save money but I can't be sad every time I walk into my apartment.


Kali said...

Congratulations!! How very exciting! Now you just need a job in Rome and you'll be on your way!

I never knew the French pronunciation of Arlene; I grew up with a girl named Arlene, but she too was "Arlean".

About your apartment: Part of me thinks you should stay so you can sock away some extra money, but another part of me thinks you should have a warm, comfortable home that you look forward to going to at the end of the day. Yet another part of me says, "It doesn't matter - you are now an EU citizen!"

Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Woo-hoooo!! You are one step closer, and one step further away from making/having excuses :) I am excited for you! Congrats.

Anonymous said...

Great news. When you are ready, Rome is here waiting for you!

And, don't let the "I need a job first" thing become a mantra. In my experience you are actually better off just coming over with some money saved up and looking once you get here. It can be hard, if not impossible, to get hired for a job here if you aren't already living here. Lots of employers get nervous about hiring someone who is still overseas, thinking they aren't accustomed to the lifestyle and might head back to the US at the first sign of trouble. Plus, housing here is very tough, so it's a hurdle you'll want to tackle even before a job, probably. Worst case scenario, you teach English for a while. But maybe you have some contacts I don't know about, so... in any case, good luck!!

Speaking of jobs, you know about Wanted in Rome, right? Got all my jobs through their classifieds.

Tracie B. said...

if you get sad just pull out that passport! lucky, lucky, lucky you :) congratulations on never having to be a clandestina like one of blog friends.

Janet said...

That's great news! Another year here and I'll be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain -- THEN another two and I can apply for British citizenship. I think being a "dual" will be terrific.



moscerina said...

congratulations!! i agree with shelley that you don't need the job first before you come to rome, but it definitely helps to start networking...
what do you want to do in rome anyways?

Paula said...

Yay! Okay, that's it, I'm now calling you by the French pronunciation. A girl should have what she wants!:-) Being under France's protection means, among other things, that if you commit a crime here in the U.S. and then flee to France, they won't extradite you. So if you ever get the urge to, say, kill da landlord, you know where to go (just kidding). All I can say about being miserable in your home is that I lived in a place where I was unhappy for at least a year longer than I should have (also to save money), but it's true you get what you pay for. Once I moved, I was able to focus on my writing and my life in a way I hadn't been able to in my cheaper, more miserable digs. And those closest to me say they've seen a complete shift in me since I moved. Sometimes the external details really do matter, even when money is an issue. Good luck making the decision that's right for you.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

thanks everyone. I keep taking the I.D. card and looking at it. hehe. I'm such a geek.