Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Just another Kiwi

In the five weeks I've been in the office at work there hasn't been one crack about Kiwis or kiwi jokes. Most French people who discover I'm a NZer are either impressed, surprised or not phased at all. We don't seem to have any 'baggage' as far as they are concerned. In this crazy world that's a plus.

There was a fun surprise in store though. One of the employees had received a toy kiwi as a gift. They dragged it out and took a photo of it and me together for a laugh. The two was funny and the only reminder I've had that I come from New Zealand. I hope my few belongings arrive in about a week to 10 days.

Last night I contacted the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages in Wellington. It appears the NZ Embassy in Paris finds my birth certificate unacceptable. It's the only one I've ever had, it's original and the price of 2 shillings is clearly printed on it. This sort of crap really gets up my nose. I need to have my birth certificate translated into French- don't bother trying to work that one out, apparently dates in one language are not acceptable in another- keeps someone employed I suppose. I need my birth certificate translated so that I can apply for social security. At the moment I have NO protection for anything, sickness, accident, unemployment, whatever, and I still have to pay taxes anyway.

I sent my birth certificate and the inevitable high fee, to the Embassy here because they must do a certified translation for the use of the French Government. No, no I must have a 'long version', as if my mother's maiden name is of any relevance here at all- it's nothing to do with me But...

The time difference means I must ring international from home at night. The problem with my phone needed to be sorted out before I could phone NZ. I seem to have untangled all the programming and strange Portugese message system that the previous tenant had installed so I can call out properly now. Naturally to get a new birth certificate copy AND courier it to France is going to cost me another bundle. Oh the money-go-round, for no real result- I'm here already. My old birth certificate has been perfectly fine up until now- what happened? BTW for a small additional fee you can have your new birth certificate covered in glorious artwork from a choice of designs.

Beware, recently I have discovered that these 'milestone moments' in our lives are not documented as we assume. Were you given a piece of paper to sign at your wedding? Nope, it wasn't a marriage certificate- it was just a notification. You have to know you need to pay money, queue and order the real MacCoy. Otherwise it's not a legal document. Gee, I''ve never had a legal one for more than 35 years. Eriks and I never knew we didn't have a legal document and we still managed to get divorced quite simply. When Stephen and I got divorced we discovered the document we signed at the wedding wasn't a marriage certificate. Better warn the rellies that your death certificate may not mean you are legally dead. Good grief, I thought ignorance was bliss- apparently it's a hassle if you don't know these things. In France a drivers license is not a legal proof of identity.

I'm still waiting to hear from the immigration department of France when I have to have an interview and a medical examination, do 'Becoming French' type courses and have my level of French checked..ho ho there's fodder there methinks.


Monique said...

Apostilled documents I presume, yeah they are a pain. I love reading your blog, I'm always checking for updates, keep it up.

Alison said...

I can relate to all of that. Isn't it so frustrating? I even had to make a 50 euro phone call to my sister in NZ in the middle of the night (for her) to ask her to get me another bunch of certificates - I can't remember what. Possibly my School Cert results and my grandfather's war record. Lol. And in all my 'official' dealings over there I was referred to by my maiden name. Followed in small letters by - The Widow Kroon. Sounds like a pantomime character!!

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