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Tuesday, January 24, 2006 

'Zee Franch...

Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite the Francophile. I love most all things French. I love the language, the culture, the country. Almost all of the blogs that I read on a regular basis are those of expats living in France. It's true.

Weird how this happened to a Black girl from Tacoma.

When I was in the fifth and sixth grades, I attended a school where a French teacher came in once (or twice, I don't remember exactly, but "What up!, Madame Long.") a week to teach us kids a few phrases. I took French again when I started high school. In ninth grade, I won a challenge our teacher put forth to be the first person to memorize and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in French. When I was 16, I was in an exchange program in Narbonne (in the southern Languedoc-Roussillon region.) I spent that summer on the shores of the Mediterranean, amazed. Amazed by the history, the beauty, the language, and the people of that country. I was pretty much fluent, even dreaming in French. I took French the first two years of college, but I majored in Theatre, so electives took a backseat after sophomore year, and that was it. Fast forward to now, and I can hardly understand every third word of conversations I hear around me. I hear French a lot because, in accordance with my obsession, my daughter, who is in fifth grade, has attended a French school since kindergarten (there are three French schools in San Francisco, for some reason.) She passed my level of French in about second grade, I think.

I have always wanted to live in France. If only for a year. I could just plop my kid into a neighborhood school (thus saving me over $10K a year.) I could take classes at a university (free) and get back the language I've lost. It's nearly impossible for an American to work in France, though if not working for a firm that has sent you there and is willing to take care of the extensive paperwork for you. Of course, I've considered trying to get one of those elusive jobs, but alas, I have no skills (see Theatre major, above.)

Next best thing? Marry someone French for the papers. I posted this ad on the Craigslist Paris site:

Je cherche un mari français. Je suis américaine, et je
voudrais habiter et travailler en france. Si vous vous
intéressez à vivre aux États-Unis (j'habite à San
Francisco) écrivez-moi s'il vous plaît. Nous pouvons,
peut-être, trouver un accord mutuellement favorable.

It basically says "I'm looking for a French husband. I'm American. If you want to live and work in the US, maybe we can work something out."

I got so many responses, I had to take it down after a couple of hours. I've narrowed it down to a few prospects. And now I'm nervous. One guy lives in Paris, one in Pasadena, but one is right here in the City. Yikes. This could happen. I don't know how I'd handle actually getting what I wanted...

Stay tuned.

Sounds like you've got yourself on a roll.

You know, even with a British passport, I had a hell of a time getting through all the French paperwork when I first arrived. I just ended up here, found a job and it was my job contract that got me my papers. I hated that job too. I worked in a money change shop that ripped off tourists. I quit N. American style (ie, I just called in one day and said I wasn't ever coming back). That sent everyone sputtering. Normally, the rules say that you have to give your employer at least a month notice otherwise they can garner your last paycheck. Crazy.

I imagine that it might be a bit harder for an american to get papers but surely not impossible.

Careful regarding marriages of convenience. On the news here in France, I've seen reports that that there is a cracking down of convenient marriages going on. You might want to look into it further before going too far with a bloke you don't know.

I heartily wish you luck (and love couldn't hurt).

wow. thanks for explaining the whole french obsession thing. i get it now. and whoa on the craig's list thing. you are so brave! i really hope something cool works out for you. maybe one day we'll be meeting up in this crazy place. please keep us posted on the prospects. i suppose pictures would be too much to ask for...:)

I'm as much of an impractical romantic as the next guy; that's a trade hazard of authors. But this sure sounds like volunteering for a bad headache. Possibly more than one.

I can sing a beautiful rendition of 'Lost in France', Bonnie Tyler's first song. Will that do?

Cheers, mon cherie.

Buzzgirl....did you leave the following comment on Eric's Paris Daily Photo blog?

"Fantastic shot Eric, I love it ! Very clever shot indeed, you are a brilliant photographer ! Oh, I love Paris so much ! You see the world through a fantastic lens and makes my life better everyday.

This is just the daily highlight of my miserable existence

God bless you,

And thank you again.
:) "

I think it's a spam with your name on it as I've seen the same wording from other people on other blogs.

Ok, I'm just a little slow. I thought it was some new sophisticated method of using spam and I couldn't see buzzgirl getting abused! ;-)

Wow! Your life is exciting! I'd be too scared to do something like that. Best of luck!

"Bonne chance" as we say in French :) France is indeed strenghtening its nationalization-policy towards marriages between a French and foreign people. I think U have to wait a few years before applying for the French nationality!

Anyway good luck and tell us about your dates :)

You must wait two years and my husband thinks they are extending it to four years. You will need to look into it.

We asked for my French citizenship while living in the States but you must be bi lingual and I am not. It would have been easier because the French Embassy translates everything for free. Now that we live in France I still must be bi lingual but nothing is translated for free...they even want my parents birthcertificates and my divorce degree for my previous marriage (all 10 pages) translated...it will be ohhhh only a couple thousand Euro. No problem. So, maybe in a few more years.

Try to find a man you love and just move to France like me! I have the carte de sejour good for 10 years.

Wow..this is very exciting. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

Keep us posted.

If you don't want to go as far as getting married with a frenchman, you could always get PACS'ed with one instead.....it'd give you the same rights to live and work here, but wouldn't require a divorce in the case where it didn't work out.

Nice! I should had on your add, that any frecnh guy who marry you will get his own green card!!!!!
No kidding! add it!

That is too funny...why don't you just go on a site, a dating site..there are soo many that have foreigners, and find someone, that you will also fall for...its possible...trust me....ummm...what else could you do....ooh read the book c'est la vie...she just up and moved there...i can't remember how though..good luck!

Do *not* marry a French man! They're all crazy, I tell you, crazy!! Ok, not all, but it makes more sense to marry one you actually like, once you get here. Which you can do by coming on a long-term student visa then trying for a job at an international organization, like I did, and they'll get your paperwork for you. I'm sure with your skills you could do it. It might take some time to sort everything out but it's possible :-)

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