Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Red Tape of Love and Marriage

Getting married in France is, well, fricken' complicated. My birth certificate arrived from the land of aloha-style, (aka three weeks late in all directions,) and A and I faced the challenge of getting it translated IMMEDIATELY so that we could dash in the city hall and reserve a date. (Everything is happening in high speed, I remind you, so that we can submit his green card application ASAP.) The only official translator we could find in Dijon was expensive, old, unfriendly, and clearly insane. 

On the day it was supposed to be ready for pickup, I rented a street bike and ventured far and away in the freezing rain to find her hermit-like dwelling. When I buzzed, her wrinkled face appeared peering around a lace white curtain in a window above me. She had tapped on the glass to get my attention. She looked suspicious, so I waved. She disappeared for a moment, then opened the door to demand what I wanted. I said I was there for the birth certificate. She responded with a blank expression. "..The translation? For the birth certificate from Hawaii?" I added meekly.

Finally, signs of recognition. "-I told you after 10am!" 

"...It's 11..?" I offered delicately. She sized me up a few more moments before allowing me in to sit beside a giant, stuffed elephant to wait for my documents.

Couldn't dash away from there fast enough. Then, meeting A at the city hall with our hundred-page dossier, we are told that our attestations of residence, a bank statement for me and an insurance statement from A, were no good. Too old and they don't accept bank statements. We run home and scrounge up a phone bill for me and and a newer insurance statement for A. Then back to the city hall, where we hold hands in the seats across the desk from the mairie, panting. -She tells us they don't take phone bills either and points out that there were two addreses on A's insurance - one ours and one his parents - (which was "confusing,") so no good. We're told to go the office of electricity in town and get one there with both our names. We gather up our dossier once again and run across town to find that the office is closed uniquely that day for re-decorating. Awesome!

At that point we were out of ideas and returned to the city hall defeated. We ended having to photocopy every piece of identify in existence for A so that I could return the next day without him after going back to the electricity office and getting an appropriate attestation. Far from a walk in the park, this business! Luckily, I got it done this morning and we now have an official date: the 25th of May. (-Three weeks after the date we wanted, but beggars can't be choosers.) 

The one enjoyable part of the whole effort was putting a heart on the calendar.  That part felt good. 

(Dijon's city hall) 

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'd love to know the Dijon translator's contact info and price...I was thinking of just sending my birth certificate to Paris...there are a lot of official translators there.At any rate, I better get on that before June!


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