Fluctuat nec mergitur

I’m not dead, I swear. I don’t pass through doors and my waistline is demonstrably solid. I have however dropped off the face of the internet, and for good reason. Moving house is bad enough; moving continents and cultures is an existential nightmare.

One does not simply walk into France.Β One has to prove one’s legitimacy, one’s right to exist, over and over again. There is paperwork to do. And more paperwork. You want to open a bank account? Sign up for social security? Buy a packet of chewing gum? You’ll need to fill in the relevant forms. You’ll have to face down the petty bureaucrats who look at you askance because you lived in another country. (Why would anyone live outside France?) You’ll have to explain. You are bilingual. You are multicultural. You are all things mished and mashed and dangerously adulterated.

Then, there’s localisation. One does not simply rent a flat in Paris. One provides proof of a royal bloodline to the landlord: one gives up one’s firstborn child. Parisian landlords don’t want your money. They want proof that you are *the right sort of person*. And I am not. I am most definitely not!

I am the wrong, wrong, wrong sort of person. I live in other countries. I don’t have years of French salary to prove my worth. I go away from places and come back. I speak two languages and carry two passports in which are three residence permits. Half my family members have suspiciously Middle Eastern names. The other half are perfidious Brits. I take milk in my coffee and occasionally dunk the croissant.

Do I sound like I’m complaining? I’m not. The Adventures of Mary the Wrong Sort of Person looks to be a summer blockbuster. Stay tuned for more in this exciting saga… Papers! Paychecks! Pandemonium!

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8 Responses to Fluctuat nec mergitur

  1. Gillian says:

    France is consistent in this need for pedigrees and proof, which doesn’t help. I hope it helps that I’m thinking of you!

    Keep us informed of your adventures please. I shall keep thinking love and support in your direction.

    • MaryV says:

      I think I ought to be able to go into any rental agency and say “I know Gillian” and they should fall over themselves in the desire to give me free, swanky apartments. πŸ™‚

  2. Mercia Schorn says:

    Sounds like France needs you more than they know!

  3. Bradley says:

    This all proves you are Exactly the Right Sort of Person, Mary πŸ™‚

  4. Helen Lowe says:

    Glad you’ve resurfaced, Mary and good to know that things are happening if not necessarily ‘bureaucracy-free.” πŸ™‚

    • MaryV says:

      They are happening… except that it’s all on hiatus over the summer holidays. No one does anything in Paris for the first 2 weeks in August… so some more patience is required! πŸ˜‰

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