When in Rome…

…do what the Romans do, right? So when the burger joint gives you black latex gloves to wear while you’re eating, I guess you put them on and get to work on your burger.

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The place was busy, the prices reasonable (for Paris). The burger was good, although the bun was a bit dry (my friend said the same about his). And the gloves worked just fine.

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Visa Fun

It’s that time again—time to get a French visa! 

And so last week, I made the trip to San Francisco for my appointment at the French consulate. I needed to turn in all the document for my visa application so I can be in Paris for six months starting at the very end of June.

 

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Saying hello to the sea lions in San Francisco.

 

There’s a consular agency in Seattle, but they don’t issue visas (and if you call them, the recording makes that clear in no uncertain terms). In fact, the consulate in San Francisco serves not only northern California, but nine other states and the Pacific Islands as well. Since I’d spent a year in France from 2015-2016, I knew the drill, but that doesn’t mean the paperwork has gotten any easier.

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“I live in Paris. And I’m miserable.”

First off, this isn’t my story; I’m happy to be here.

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Yes, there have been frustrations and difficulties, days when I wish I was back home, plenty of occasions when I wish the world around me worked in English. Not understanding clerks and waiters and signs and paperwork gets tiring. Unknowingly misunderstanding them is even worse. I miss real Mexican food. Deep dish pizza. Baseball. Mt. Rainier. My cat. And more than any of that—I miss friends and family, people who know more of my story than just what we’ve been able to talk about in the past few months.

But that’s all a caveat to what struck me once again today: some people like me here in Paris are truly, deeply unhappy about it. It doesn’t matter that the Eiffel Tower is right there, you get used to it. Or how beautiful the streets are—you don’t notice the lovely architecture anyway, because, you know, the dog poop minefield. Or how good the baguettes and croissants and pastries and crêpes are, you just want an actual basket of chips and salsa to come with those ten euro tacos. And for some it goes way deeper than any of that–it’s a deep malaise of the soul.

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