Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

BEING LEGAL
===========
Susie and I now officially have a Carte de Sejour.  Its a visa that allows us to hang out in France for an extended period (until December currently, but easily extendable) and travel in and out whenever we please.  It doesnt let us work for a French company.  To do that, we have to reapply either with the Ministry of Labour, the Police or the Consulate in Washington in person, depending on whom you listen to.  My vote is with the police; the guys with the guns get things done, in my experience.  Or at least, if they say yes, whos going to argue?  The whole process was a like an immersive game of 3-card Monty.  Every time we thought we had the right card, it turned out to be just another step in the chain.  First we paid some money to the embassy in L.A., who interviewed us, OKed us, and gave us a very impressive full page hologram thingy in the passport that said “3 month visa, one entry.”  Which is exactly what you can get by just getting on a plane and coming to Paris.  So, we were a little confused.  But they said that this was actually the first part of the Visa, un huh, yeah right.  So we got to Paris, and signed up at the prefecture de police, and they gave us an official temporary visa stamp and an official appointment for several months later, almost after the time that the original visa would expire.  When we asked about that, they said, dont worry, you dont need that as long as youre in the process.  Great.  At the official appointment, conveniently placed between Christmas and New Years so we couldnt go away on vacation, we had to present all the original paperwork all over again.  OK, right-o.  We also had to pay some more money, twice, I dont know why, and for all that effort, our reward was another full-page ad for French efficiency and importance added to our passport.  This one was much uglier, and I could have done a good facsimile in Photoshop.  Then, we asked, is that it?  And they said, no, you need to have a medical exam….

THE MEDICAL EXAM
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So here weve been in the country for 2.5 months, sneezing and coughing all over everyone in the metro, attending classes with other potentially French people, touching books in bookstores, using public gyms and pools, and now they want to check if were ill?  And they already required that we show proof that were totally covered by health insurance so they dont have to spend the gobs of tax money they collect from us at every turn.  But we went, and the exam was rather amusing.  We got a chest X-ray, which we got to keep.  Should I post it on the Web? Vote now!  We also got tested on an eye chart, which said I could basically see the wall.  We got to pee into a cup.  And I had my blood pressure checked.  After all that, an official French doctor talked to us.  Mine said to me, on the basis of the urine test I guess, that I need to drink more, especially in the winter.  To which I started to reply “No problem.  I had a whole bottle of wine last night!”  He meant, apparently, that I should drink more _fluids_, not alcohol.  Go figure.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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