The Ellis Page
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology ("MAC")
3. A French Christmas
finally called in October and said, “We
hadn't realized you were going to receive a salary.
You'll have to get a work permit in
Paris. The Univ. of Rouen should help you but you’ll have to start
the next few weeks, the university’s personnel office dropped the ball
again and again. They finally
told us that we needed translations of our marriage license, all four
birth certificates, my regular SMC contract, and the sabbatical agreement
– all done by “approved translators" at a cost of over $900 and
certified by the French Consulate in Seattle!
I decided to do the translations myself with the help of the local
French club but after a week of work, I learned that the office in Seattle
was closing that day for several weeks.
here's the picture. Merry is
driving in a panic. I’m
sitting next to her getting motion sick and gagging on a flashlight held in my
mouth while trying to type the last translation on a laptop.
We arrive in Seattle 15 minutes late because of traffic and
they’re all bent out of shape when I start plugging in computers and
printers to crank out the last document!
Well, the Consulate finally certifies all the translations (without
reading them I might add!) but there’s still one not finished.
So she takes a blank piece of paper and signs the bottom.
“There! Just print the last one onto that,”
spare you the details of how the University of Rouen continued to drag
their feet but, by December 13th, the certifications arrived.
After 100+ long-distance phone calls and faxes to San
Francisco and France — and just three days before we left — we finally
visas! The nightmare was
landed in Paris just before Christmas; the adventures started
immediately. Merry and I got lost in Paris and didn't
arrived at our new apartment in Le Havre for six hours! The doll-size apartment had a sloped floor, which made it feel as if we were
walking downhill, and occasional hollows, where a foot step would suddenly
land an eighth to a quarter of an inch too low.
The hot water heater only held 8 to 10 gallons so we could only
tiny kitchen had two camping-style burners (one didn’t work) and the
smallest fridge we had
Fortunately, a church member later loaned us a stove/oven run
with bottles of butane.
Gasoline for the
small car we bought ran from $5 to $6 a gallon so,
at first, we felt guilty every time we used the car.
We celebrated New Year's Eve at the Lechevallier's. Far from the often drunken celebrations we were used to seeing in the United States, the French tradition
dictated that everyone dress up in Sunday dress and eat a huge meal together. What a very French thing to do! It went on for several hours. Above is a photo of the beautiful table that Dominique Lechevallier set for us all.
But, poor Braden! Only a minute or two before midnight, the family convinced him to try a raw (read that, live) oyster. Half-way down, his face turned gray; it was amazing! While the rest of us were celebrating the new year, he was in the bathroom throwing up! On the left, Braden takes advantage of a sign in a Paris metro stop to demonstrate his opinion of raw oysters....
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