So, although making Madelines and listening to Carla Bruni play a large role in “becoming French,” these all-important activities pale when compared to the real task I had to accomplish in order to become French: getting my visa.
At first this task seemed quite simple. My two friends going abroad simply mailed papers in at the beginning of the summer and got theirs back (a few months) later. Mais non! For France, I had to fill out some rather confusing online information, then schedule an appointment. The only problem: the only available date for the next several months was a mere week and a half before my flight left. With the approximate wait time for a vise 21 days, I figured I might barely scrape through.
Enter the French consulate (in Atlanta, three house plus one hour time difference=I was forced to wake up at an unhuman wee hour of the morning). After arriving, I wait four hours with my many, many papers. After some time the rather down-to-business official told me, “You are very late. I hope you get this in time.” Well me too, naturally. When asked the probability of my getting said visa on time he replied, in a very French manner with the unknowable “Everything in life is a probability.” So probably like, “I probably could win the lottery?” “I probably could date Hugh Jackman?” “I probably could control the weather?” Or, “I probably could hurl a rotten tomatoe at you right now?”
Long story short(ish), I didn’t get it. Four days left: no visa. Three days left: no visa. Two days left: I decided to go to the consulate, with the full expectation of being shot down (“Mon Dieu, elle est une annoying Americanne), but the wonderful, wonderful French officials had mercy on me (I don’t think being constantly on the edge of blubbering tears hurt either), and made my visa THAT DAY while I traipsed around Atlanta, blithely unaware of any bad in the world.
They handed me my visa, and I then refused to take it out of my hands for the next 48 hours. Attendees of my early 21st birthday dinner? Mom, Dad, Me, and The Visa.
An extremely important part of this story lies in the prayers of almost everyone I saw between two weeks ago and today. It was pretty much the only subject I was capable of conversing on these past weeks (“think this skirt is cute?” “yeah, the blue looks like the blue on my passport WHICH IS AT THE FRENCH CONSULATE”). Seriously, without God none of this would have worked out. I mean, the French were unbelievably nice to me. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.
And so ends the epic tale of How I Got My Visa And Must Now Donate My Firstborn Child to the French Consulate.