My last day at work was 3 Aug so the very next day, we made a trip down to the French Embassy at Cluny Park Rd with all the necessary documents and papers – namely forms and photocopies of Nil’s passport, contract and so forth. It was then that we found out that 1) we needed a proof of residential address in France (tough considering that we didn’t have a residential address yet and we have no bills, etc with us) and 2) it takes about 10 working days for them to process the papers, which meant that I might not get my visa in time for my flight on 15 Aug night/16 Aug morning.
The trouble with this pre-carte de séjour (resident permit) is that you can only do it OUTSIDE of France and if you try to convert your tourist visa into this long term visa – I read – you may end up going back to where you come from and it most probably will take two months for the authorities to process your application. Eeks! I could have applied earlier but that meant taking a day off work and then extending my last day at work – not a win-win solution for me.
Anyway, we managed to get the papers done up in time – address and all – and they received our application officially on 4 Aug. The wait started – I’d check this site that they have to see if there were any new updates and no, they do not entertain queries via the phone (if you were thinking of doing just that) and neither do they entertain personal visits (camping outside the Embassy will get you nowhere). On Thursday the following week, on a hunch (actually more like a dream the night before), I got Nil to double check the website and discovered that they had finally come back with an answer on my application. So I hurried out, jumped into a cab and dropped off my passport. It was definitely good news then when they told me that I would be able to get my passport back with the visa and all on Monday…and in time for my flight. WHOOPPEEEEE!!!!
Once in France, I am to drop off a form and photocopies of my passport, the stamp dating my entry into France and other necessaries at the préfecture in the town/village/area where I’ll be staying and I have two months to do just that. Once they process my application, I’ll be informed of when to complete my medical check-up, as well as when to meet up with the officers, etc. Total time for me to get my carte de séjour? Three months if all goes well.
Our Singapore apartment and our day out
Initially I thought our handover was nearer to the evening which meant that we could relax and only spend a few hours at the airport. Sad to say, that was not the case. The tenants were told that the handover was at noon – standard, according to our agent (hm) – and as such, we had to move our baggage and clean up the place, etc by 1130am. One thing that peeved me to the maximum was how our agent kept hinting that the place should be cleaner, etc. Come on, the floors have been swept and mopped, all surfaces cleaned, the bathrooms are sparkling, the rubbish taken out, and so forth. It was definitely in better condition by a mile compared to when I first got my place from the previous owner – something which still irks me till today as the previous owner’s tenant had the cheek to tell me that the condition is WYSIWYG. I told Nil that if this time I don’t get the apartment in the same condition as when I left it, we are definitely pulling it out from the deposit.
Anyway, so we were out of the place by 1130am and off to the French embassy to collect my passport. The rain didn’t help at all but we had heaps of time to spare plus a couple of errands to run – this included the bank, the service providers (mobile, cable, Internet), etc. I also got to meet up with an old friend from my secondary/high school days who came along with her little one. The meet-up took up about at least one to two hours and we were back at our apartment by 5pm plus. After a quick shower for Eva and myself, some time to relax – pity my WiFi box was packed up otherwise I could have done a few assignments on iphone 3g cases but never mind. I was pretty beat out actually by then and dying for a good rest, mainly because of my carrot-up-the-bum situation but we still had a while to go.
After meeting up with Nil’s rugby mates who were kind enough to see us off at the airport AND have dinner with us prior to the send-off, we headed off to a quiet spot in Changi Airport in attempts to get some rest. It was perhaps about 10pm plus and really awfully late for Eva. She managed to fall asleep in her stroller while we ourselves tried to nap but to no avail – no thanks to annoying kids nearby (and the rest area was just a few feet away too – how inconsiderate!!!!). By midnight plus, we boarded the plane – didn’t even have to wait in the boarding area and we got to beat the queue thanks to Bubs No 2 (pregnant women and people with kids have priority – YAY!).
To be continued