Sunday, January 18, 2009

French Integration Day

Well, the week ended not so badly after all. I (of course) made a few mistakes, but nothing life threatening. Maybe job threatening, but not life threatening.

After thinking more and more about the conversation with my Small School supervisor I ended up sending her an email. I let her know that since the end of our semester is in two weeks I really thought it might be better for the students to get their new professor at the start of the semester as opposed to half way through it. Changing teachers half way through in such an unorganized place leads to incredible difficulties with grading. I didn't say this but it's true. There are no standards as to what a 10 is or what a 15 is. (All grading in France is done on a 1-20 scale.) All I know is that "no one gets an 18, 19 or 20." So why have them? Why set grades that are not attainable? This drives me friggin nuts. But enough...bottom line is that I asked to be let go early from my contract and we are meeting Tuesday to talk about it.

One a good note, I went to my Big School Thursday to check in and they found my key under the desk. Yeah! I looked all over that classroom but apparently I missed it. Whew. Too bad I alerted my boss about the whole situation. If I would have kept my mouth shut no one else would have known other than the receptionist, the technician who found it, and me. Grrrr...Drat my need to communicate!

On Friday Cyr went with me to my day of French Integration. This whole process started last July 16th when Cyr and I went to the Marie. Only 6 months to get my card. we were running a little late (how very French of me) but we got there before anything started. The day was scheduled from 9-5 (break into song! what a way to make a livin', barely get-ting by...) which seemed pretty long to me. Apparently it seemed long to the instructor too. Here is how the day went:

9:05 - Instructor enters but does not say hello. He untangles wires from projector and laptop to plug in.
9:15ish - All wires in, role is taken. He asks us all to say our names and what country we are from. I'm the only American and the only one who needed a translator.
9:25ish - He begins a presentation about the history of France, it's symbols and government. It was actually kind of interesting.
10am - Let's take a 30 minutes for a break. My thoughts "let's not and get out early." Ah! Here is my fatal flaw of liking to end things has followed me here I see and has reared it's ugly head.
10:45 - Class resumes, more history. I had no idea Clovis was the first King of France in 481 AD. Damn...this country is old.
12:00 - We break for lunch. He gives us 1 hour and 50 minutes. Again...could we just take an hour and get our early? It's Friday man! Already I have counted almost an hour and a half we could lop off this day. They brought lunch in but Cyr and I decided that with almost two hours it might be nice to get outside.
2:10 - Class starts up again, he tells us we get out at 4:00. It's actually all the interesting stuff now though. We talk about where we can work and all that jazz. Here is what I learned about the Titre de Sejour:
  • Turns out I can only work in France, I thought I could work in the Schengen Countries, but nope, just France. Well's going to be hard to find an English speaking job in France other than English teacher.
  • It's only good for a year from the date of first application, which means mine expires November 11, 2009.
  • You must renew your TDS 3 months prior to it's expiration. So basically you are doing something every 3 months almost because of all the receipts and crap.
  • I can renew my 1 year TDS 3 times, then after the third time I can request a 10 year TDS.
  • If I want to have French citizenship we need to live in France for 4 consecutive years, then apply and it takes 18 months to process. So that would total 5 and a half years in France total consecutively to be a French citizen. We won't live here that long because of the business Cyr is in, but our instructor said that "everything has an exception" That sounds very similar to "everything is negotiable." Hmmm...ok. But the laws change all the time and by the time we get back they will be different.
  • France allows duel, tripple even quadruple citizenship.
  • Our kids will be French no matter where they are born (an American too of course).
3:00 - Take a break, he fills out paperwork and starts up again about 3:30.
4:00 - He let's us go right on time!

And there you go. Now I have a shiny new Titre de Sejour and am integrated! Now we will probably move in 3 have to laugh really.


Rochelle said...

I just had a bad realisation that I probably aren't allowed to work in Luxembourg. ~hits head on brick wall in despair~.

Andromeda said...

@Rochelle, it never hurts to ask, it might just be a matter of getting a work permit from Lux or something (though I haven't really looked into it yet). I met an American guy who's been working there for 15 years so it must be possible somehow!

@Susan, I hate the grading here, you have to justify giving someone a 16, they're like, no one could possibly be that good, they must have cheated!

Ksam said...

Ha, they say it takes 18 months to process citizenship applications, but what they don't tell you is that they can hold it at the préfecture for up to a year before processing!

I think you can apply for French citizenship while in the US though - and I've heard the process is a lot easier and more efficient (imagine that).

Jennie said...

Yeah, it would be nice to be able to work in the EU or Schengen space, but you have to be an actual citizen to do that. I wish I could work in Switzerland. A ton of people here in Annecy commute to Geneva for work, and make like 3000 euros a month at the same types of jobs that exist in France. It's just that they get paid in Swiss francs, which still has a good exchange rate with the euro.

Agreed on the grading system. I absolutely hate it. Makes no sense and is completely unfair to the students!!

Also agreed on less break time, and leaving earlier. It drives me crazy that my university closes down between 12 and 1:30 so I have to waste all that time waiting to teach one more class at 1:30 before I can go home.

Glad you're integrated in France now. :) It must feel nice even if you are leaving soonish.

Susan in Lille said...

Rochelle - I know...I was thinking Belgium because it's so close, but they said no...of course you could have a company sponsor you but I don't know how much work that is.

Andromeda - I am so frustrated with the grading...I don't get it. I thought goal should be attainable?

Ksam - I believe that about the prefecture. This guy said you HAD to live here and it had to be consecutive, but he also said the thing about "exceptions" so you could be right.

Jennie - Thanks for the comment. It does feel good actually. I think the time home will be good for me. Maybe when I come back I will be better with the language. I will for sure know better what to expect from the culture...

Ksam said...

lol, it's france, remember? the country where everybody thinks they're right, even if they have no clue what they're talking about??

i looked it up on line to check, and even if you live in the US, you can get citizenship after four years of marriage. if i remember right, i've met a couple of people here who became french before they'd even lived in france.

some of the exceptions that reduce the time limit include having a french masters (you can apply after 2 years), being in the french foreign legion, having a child with the right to french citizenship, or doing something really fabulous that contributes to france (discovering something, a work of art, etc).

Susan in Lille said...

Ksam - you are so right about your comment. Everyone is right here! But everyone has something different to say when it comes to immigration, even the people that work in the government. So irritating. Thanks for the info!

Shakesrear said...

I've never heard of the French Integration day. Was I supposed to have had one of those? It took all day? I'm really confused.

Susan in Lille said...

Hi there Shakesrear! They may actually call it something else, but it was a day that was scheduled to learn about France and help us "integrate". Are you getting your CDS or something else? It might just be a CDS thing. Feel free to post your email address if you would like to chat back and forth about it. Don't stress out too much, there are lots of people out here who can help you work through it!

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