Thursday, 15 December 2011

Visas, vocabulary and vexations.

Rob checks out Voh beach on our initial visit - should we live here?

My first post about our impending move to New Caledonia was actually over here, at Miss Floss. So really, my first post is actually my second, but let's not worry about that right now! I have to bring you up to speed about our progress in getting ourselves halfway across the Pacific Ocean before sleep overcomes me.


We went to Sydney a couple of weeks ago for our visa interviews at the French consulate. Given that we don't get to Sydney too often, we decided to extend the stay by a couple of nights to take in some sights. As luck would have it, it rained heavily the entire time and we traded ferry rides for museums and the monorail. Thank goodness Jack loves trains! Chinatown also got a workout, as did the Santa Train at Myer.

We were told by Rob's workplace that we needed to take the kids. Turns out we didn't need to after all - which brings me to...


We were on time for our consulate appointment at 9.40am. Ten minutes early, in fact. Unfortunately we waited at least half an hour, watching French nationals walk in and out from their appointments. We took some interest in listening to an unfortunate Kiwi get grilled about not having his police check done as our kids, being well behaved under the circumstances, grew steadily more restless in their stroller.

Finally, our name was called. Rob went to the 'interrogation' window as I placated the kids with food, drinks and toy cars. I finally had to let Nellie out of the pram to crawl around. That didn't last - she is becoming so quick and pulling herself onto everything. When Jack began to ask "Can we go home now?", progressively becoming louder and whingier, the young man interviewing Rob pointedly asked why we had brought our kids. Then a lady from the reception approached and, again pointedly, asked if I was waiting for anything? There was not much joy to be left as - thank god! - finally Rob was released from his interview and we ran for the lift, glad, for the first time since our stay in Sydney, to get out onto the rainy street.


Just today I have completed level Beginner 2 at Alliance Francaise. It's been a slog but my inner nerd has leapt to the fore. (To be fair, assigning my nerdiness as 'inner' is insincere. My nerdiness is pretty much barely concealed. Just ask my brother. Or husband. Or most people who have met me). So it's with glee that I will be enrolling in Beginner 3 intensive for January. My biggest problem, aside from my high school Italian interjecting whenever I can't come up with the French verb or noun, is finding sitters for the kids.

My husband fares not so well.  His has been a labor of resignation and frustration as he has been learning at his workplace with a very lovely, and let it be said, patient, French tutor. He has avoided practising his French at home. Unfortunately for him, I am now motivated by my progression through level 2 beginners to want to practice, practice, practice!

A tout a l'heure! (with apologies to the French Cultural Office for the absence of accents...)

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