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. 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!