Finally. The letter from the village school arrived stating that they will accept and welcome second daughter Bo. It is the letter, the final document, required by the French consular office for the visa. How wonderful, after weeks
of waiting through the holidays, to breathe a sigh of relief and joy now that our paperwork is complete.
It is a curiously strange process, not unlike other countries, where the application for temporary residency requires mountains of
documentation to prove that one will not slip off radar and become, illegally and unfortunately, a recipient of state health and welfare. People like us who seek cultural and language immersion resign ourselves to the process which is largely design
for others who pursue better, safer quality of life beyond their borders.
It may vary by country of origin but US citizens seeking to spend 6 or more months require proof of income or wealth, housing in the citizen country and host country
as well as birth certificates, marriage certificates, letters from the host schools indicating acceptance of children, letters from applicant stating purpose of stay and intent not to seek employment, insurance coverage (not just travel) for host
country, among others. It really appears more daunting than applying for a bank loan in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis.
One schedules an appointment via the website for a meeting at the consular office. One presents
the documentation and is photographed and fingerprinted. While waiting, someone reviews the document package and, if unlucky, is given an additional list of required documentations that has to be faxed if a visa is to be provided. When one tries
to do so over the holidays, the complexity increases. But that is the nature of the game; one hurdle after another that allows the applicant to demonstrate purposeful intent, perseverance, and the power of prayer.
So the question
arises, why go through it? To quote Dr. Seuss (Oh. The Places You’ll Go):
“Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.”