We’re back for round two. If you are a US citizen living in France, you must first obtain a visa that you then convert to a one-year residency card upon arrival in your new home country. For each of those next several years that you live here, you have to apply for an annual renewal of the card. After five continuous years here you can request a 10-year card or citizenship, neither of which requires you to give up American citizenship, for which, by the way, Uncle Sam would want to collect 2,350 dollars. But that’s years down the road. Today’s news is that this week we picked up our renewed carte de séjour (residence permit) valid for the next 12 months. Read the rest of this entry
When you move to another country where the language is something other than the one you grew up with, communication takes center stage. We’ve lived here for a year and we are far from fluent in French despite continued classes, studying, audio files, reading, and daily contact with everyone who speaks it without effort…that is, everyone except each other. If we lived in a true total immersion situation, by now we’d be fully understanding news reports on the radio, TV sitcoms with all of their slang expressions, films with rapid fire dialog, and those dreaded phone calls from utility companies, delivery services, and even telemarketers. Outside our house we’re in a French world so we do our best with the “language of Moliere” but safely back inside with the front door shut it’s more about Mark Twain, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and David Sedaris (!). Read the rest of this entry
One good thing about living in a time zone that’s 6 hours ahead of the eastern US is that festive events like Christmas and birthdays seem to arrive that much sooner. Our day is well underway while friends back in Atlanta are still soundly sleeping. By the time we’ve had our second cup of coffee, the people we know in California may not have even turned off their lights for the night. Today is the first day of spring and I’m happy to share some photos from our courtyard of the flowers, some of which are just hinting at the colors to come, from the bulbs we picked up on a train trip last September to Amsterdam. April in Paris? Yes, but we’re starting with March in Carcassonne.
In 40+ years of working, I don’t remember ever being told “Take the day off”. Like most people, you fit your vacation days around those of others. Other than when someone calls in sick, there just aren’t any surprises or even the opportunity to simply stop what you’re doing and walk off the job, even for a day. That all changed when we moved to France for a couple of reasons: we’re both retired now and one of the requirements for obtaining a visa to live here was our promise that we wouldn’t work. Sounds like a permanent day off…until you buy a house. Read the rest of this entry
Well, I do, but those details are for a bit later. When we decided to move to Carcassonne about a year and a half ago, we started reading everything we could find about living in the city. There were articles about the cost of living, housing, transportation, shopping, education, entertainment, taxes, history, sports teams, and recreation. As long term users of various types of cardio equipment, one line I read really caught my eye: “Get off of your treadmill and get outside”. The author was suggesting that instead of joining one of the gyms here in the city, you could use the many walking trails that take you along the river, beside the canal, and up through the 12th century fortress and castle above. Read the rest of this entry
One morning last week I happened to look out the kitchen window just as a couple of our neighbors from the end of the street were passing by. They were clearly on the way to the market, rolling cart in tow, but stopped long enough for a quick chat. Francis told me that they were going to buy the ingredients for a choucroute that his wife, Isabelle, always made at this time of year. That word sounded familiar and it only took a minute to pull out an ad that we had saved from our favorite bistrot promoting their 10 euro/dollar plate of the day: Choucroute-charcutière. Read the rest of this entry
Former Carcassonne residents Tracy and Alan, whose “An Italian Point of View” blog we follow (link in the right column), told us that although the streets here might seem deserted if the weather is bad, as soon as the sun comes out, so do the people. That was definitely the case last weekend when the city seemed to come alive after being cooped up for several days running. Read the rest of this entry