There’s some confusion as to whether or not expats can overstay their visas. After weeks of research, I still don’t know that actual answer (do the politicians even know?). One thing is certain: without a visa, US citoyens can stay in France (and in the Schengen Zone) up to 90 days within a 180 day period. The catch: US citoyens must have their passeport stamped at the start of the 90 days. Récemment, I visited the préfecture to beg for an extension on my visa. I decided not to take any chances with the 90/180 day business since I’m pregnant and I need to be in France once I hit 7.5 months (can’t fly after that). As I anxiously approached the counter, I thought my task was impossible. Mon chéri began by politely explaining that I’d like to extend my visa. After that, all hell went loose. That is, for the next 5 minutes or so, I babbled and babbled and babbled about why the nice lady at the counter should give me an extension. She tried to shut me up at one point (and Martin tried, too) but I kept going (I was nervous…). Eventually, she got a few words in: “it’s ok; relax.” To my surprise, she was willing to work with me when I mentioned the anticipated job contract, so, adding pregnancy and PACS, the French version of a civil union, were just bonuses. It’s possible that she found me amusing. Now, I laugh about the encounter. At least I can say that my first encounter at the préfecture was a pleasant one. I have forms to fill out and documents to conjure up before I can return the forms, but all-in-all my case is NOT hopeless! Yay!
A few days ago, I received a letter in my inbox regarding my application to renew TAPIF. It wasn’t exactly news that I wanted to hear, but what can one expect when every assistant d’anglais who wants to do the program a second year in a row fills out the same form? There’s nothing on the form to set us apart from one another, nothing to show our accomplishments and diplomas. So, how does the CIEP choose? I’ll be the first to tell you that “knowing people” has very little to do with it as the directeurs of my schools put in a good word for me. Also, submitting your application several weeks before the deadline makes no difference, either, though, it’s better to submit early than after the deadline. Perhaps, I wouldn’t feel as disheartened if my conseilleur pédagogique hadn’t made it sound like I was sure to be immediately accepted. Rule of thumb: never trust someone who’s retiring at the end of the year. At least I haven’t been completely let down: I’ve been placed on a waiting list. I suppose this news means that I should use my degree for something better than 12 working hours a week. But, as I reflect on what I should do after Pitchoune is born, I’m left feeling torn. I enjoyed the steady paycheck that came with teaching (and I enjoy teaching) during the school day; however, it might be more practical if I teach a few after school programs. In this case, we would always have a secured ‘baby-sitter’ for Pitchoune and it would enable me to have a longer adjustment period if I don’t start working until La Toussaint (Fall break). After all, a newborn is quite an adjustment. Due to this fact, I’m not looking into full time work until the baby turns 1; however, I’m keeping my options open. In any case, I have a lot to consider as I send out my CV to formulate a Plan C. Any ideas/advice are welcome! So, while the job issue is up in the air for the moment, my rights to stay in France are much more secured. At least least there’s something positive to look forward to. ♦