Afterword

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Just before the end of last year, I wrote what was supposed to be “the last chapter” of je parle américain as you know it, because I planned to transform the blog into something entirely new. As it turns out, I haven’t made any progress with that, so je parle américain has been quiet of late, just “sitting on the shelf” collecting dust — to stay with the literary theme. Sometimes, though, events transpire that simply demand you pick up the pen again — or return to the keyboard as the case may be — and actually finish the story …

Afterword Continue reading Afterword

Fourth Fourth

Captain America © 2011 Samuel Michael Bell

Today is my fourth Fourth of July in France. For my first Fourth, I got on a soapbox. For my second Fourth, I waxed sentimental about who was eating my apple pie. For my third Fourth, I tried to make you laugh. So … what’s on the agenda for my fourth Fourth?

Continue reading Fourth Fourth

Closing the Loop

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I did it again. I let weeks and weeks go by without writing anything for the blog. I’m sorry about that. I’ve had some news to share with you, but I’ve been (1) busy with the new job, (2) chronically sick with a tenacious springtime head cold and, most recently, and (3) on vacation in the States. Since today marks the one-month anniversary of my last visit to the prefecture, though, I made some time today to share that story with you before it becomes really old news.

Now, if you haven’t read about my visit to the prefecture back in February, you should read it here. It’s too unbelievably good to skip. Go ahead; I’ll wait … Continue reading Closing the Loop

If you can’t say anything nice …

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Hey everybody! Guess what? I have my new family visa residency permit! I picked it up this morning at the sub-prefecture in Saint-Denis — the little satellite office of the main prefecture in Bobigny. You’re surely thinking that I must be on cloud nine, right?

Well, read on … Continue reading If you can’t say anything nice …

Cream soda, anyone?

The root beer one is on the far right.

Saturday evening, we went to a little Christmas party with friends, which featured a “White Elephant” gift exchange. Just like last year, we each had to bring a gift that cost less than 5€. Michel and I ended up with a set of six “tapas glasses” — which we’re going to use as lowball glasses — and a box of …

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Bottle Caps

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Continue reading Cream soda, anyone?

Back in the Kitchen

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In my last post, I mentioned that I’ve now spent four Thanksgivings in France. I think it’s probably the time of year when I feel most like an American expatriate. What I mean by that is that it’s the day when I feel the pangs of homesickness most acutely. Thanksgiving’s not a holiday here, of course, so I get pretty nostalgic watching my Facebook newsfeed fill up with status updates from back home about thankfulness, good food with family and friends, and even travel headaches. Looking back across the Atlantic at what you’re missing can easily give you the blues … which is why expats just have to make Thanksgiving right where they are! To be frank, I haven’t always succeeded on that score. Out of the first three Thanksgivings I spent on French soil, only the first featured a traditional American feast, so it really was high time for me to get back in the kitchen … Continue reading Back in the Kitchen

Even Americans Want a Taste

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For better or for worse, there’s no denying that American fast food has become arguably as popular in France as it is back home. If you live in a city, there’s always a KFC, a Pizza Hut, or a McDonald’s in the neighborhood. What’s interesting from an American perspective is how these places can feel simultaneously so familiar and so foreign. The idea, of course, is to take an American brand and make it appeal to a French consumer, so sometimes you end up with some interesting cross-cultural creations. Some are very clear efforts to transform traditional favorites. Take, for example, the one that even made the news back in the States: Continue reading Even Americans Want a Taste

Dénouement

pounds and pounds of paper

You’ve probably seen yesterday’s post about my fifteenth visit to the prefecture. It was one of my most widely read posts in a while. If you’re not friends with me on Facebook, though, you’re probably wondering how it all went and whether you can uncross your fingers now. Well, without further ado, here’s the dénouement you’ve been waiting for … Continue reading Dénouement

Fifteenth time’s the charm!

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Tomorrow, I’m heading back to the Prefecture. I’ll be submitting an application to renew my residency permit — this time with a change in status from “student” to “private and family life.” Thanks to the Taubira Law that gave us marriage equality in France and the paper-pushing magic of the French embassy in Washington, Michel and I were officially recognized as a family on September 17. We got our family register and a French transcription of our 2010 marriage certificate a few weeks later. Should be pretty simple, then, to get that family visa. Right? We should just have to show them the family register. Right? You know — the document from the French government that PROVES we’re married to each other? Well, if you think that, then you’ve obviously never dealt with the bureaucracy here … Continue reading Fifteenth time’s the charm!