Naturalization: First Interview at the Prefecture

Posted by Analyse at 6:51 PM

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Patience is a virtue. If you want to be French, then be patient.

For the record, 14 months had passed between the moment I applied for naturalization and the moment I was interviewed at the Prefecture. I'm not surprised tho. I was told that they're already submerged of 10 months equivalent of files to process when I submitted my documents. Good thing, I wasn't in a hurry.

When I received the appointment at home, I asked my Filipino friends living in France for some typical questions asked during this much-awaited interview. I prefer attacking a battle armed! Each of them of course had their own experiences so here's mine:

I had my appointment at 11am but that didn't mean I was received at exactly that time. There were 2 girls before me so I waited like around 30 long minutes before the interview.

When my turn came, I was asked first for some additional papers:

- Kyla's proof of French nationality
- Louna's proof of scolarity
- my pay slip for the last 3 months
- my pay slip for December 2008
- latest CAF certificate
- tax revenue declaration for 2007 and 2008
- frenchguy's pay slip for the last 3 months

And then the questions. I was practically asked the same questions already asked on the documents I furnished. Like when did I arrive? When did I start working? etc. Other questions were: What language is used at home? Am I part of any association? Do I frequent French communities or rather foreign communities? Why do I want to be French? Why didn't I apply earlier? etc.

The questionning part was rather cool and stress-free. But the announced waiting time wasn't cool at all. Apparently, the police department will do their investigation thing, then after their official report, my file will be forwarded to the Ministère des Affaires Etrangères before the countdown begins. Count 15 months, I was told.



Posted by Analyse at 9:58 PM

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunny at 27°C. That was the weather report last weekend. How would you organize your weekend with that almost-perfect weather? Would you spend the whole day inside the mall? Or stay at home doing nothing? I had another idea in mind.

I've always wanted to bring Louna at the Parc de l'Auxois and I thought last weekend was the perfect occasion. I checked for a camping site around the area and off I pursued to the reservation and all. I then announced to Frenchguy my plan and he enthousiastically agreed to my idea. He started to check the tent (which we bought 3 years ago but never used), duvets, camping gaz, chairs, beers (hehe), etc..

The plan was to mount the tent Friday night (the site was just 40 min away from Dijon) then watch the fireworks display at the nearby village (to celebrate Ascension Day), spend the whole day Saturday at the Parc de l'Auxois, pack the tent up Sunday morning and spend the rest of the day swimming, fishing, etc.

So off we went Friday night. The camping site was up to our expectations - shady, clean and not too big.
*Aperitif with the girls (*In France, the “apéritif” or “apéro” is an informal social ritual. It is quite usual to invite people for before-dinner drinks without actually providing dinner, or to arrange to meet someone in a café “pour l'apéritif” before going out for a meal.)

The first night was great. After the fireworks display and after counting the stars, we read the night-time story using a flashlight inside our tent. Louna then slept with her Papa and Kyla with her Mom (it's still too early to put the girls inside one room, more so inside one room in a tent!)

We spent the whole Saturday at the park. It's a zoo, kiddy pool and illimited rides rolled into one. Louna particularly loved riding a horse (not a poney this time!) and taking care of the baby goat. She even cried when we left the goat to its Mom. I was too close to adopting a baby goat, really.

The day at the park made the two girls tired and exhausted but that didn't stop us from enjoying local gastronomy. As usual, the girls were behaved inside the restaurant.

Sunday started with a short hike around the lake near the camping site. There were a lot of blackberries along the trail which spiced up our little sortie. And since the temperature rocketed to 30°C in the afternoon, the hike ended up with a dip in the water. Even Kyla enjoyed the refreshing break.

We then spent the afternoon fishing. Louna was overwhelmed. It was her first time!

That little weekend getaway was a relaxing treat. It was like we were still on vacation. This experience won't surely be the last one.

Sa uulitin!

Gorges de Verdon

Posted by Analyse at 9:29 PM

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I had been wanting to update this blog since our last leg of adventure but there are other priorities in life that needed to be addressed.. with higher priority! It had been a challenge lately to find equilibrium between work and family - knowing that the balance tended to tilt on the work side and not on the family side. Not a good tendency, really. There were several weeks where I worked like crazy, bringing my laptop to work at home till midnight, during weekends, and even during our vacation. But that crazy period is almost over. I could go back to my normal mode soon.

So, Gorges du Verdon. The Grand Canyon of France. I think I fell in love with the place - by its beauty and the diversity of activities it propose. There are a LOT of activities to do in this place - trekking, canyoning, biking, canöeing and kayaking to name a few. For us, it was simply heaven.

So how does a family of four, with two young girls, could enjoy such adventures?

Well, simple. Frenchguy would bike in the morning with some other bakasyonistas while the girls and I sleep till I-don't-know-what-time. After breakfast, we either play at the playground or swim at the pool. We will then start our family activity in the afternoon, after the nap, when the sun is less dangerous. We once rented a boat, a pedalo, to visit the gorges. We hiked several times - once at 3 hours with a 300m elevation change with Louna as the guide (I was too proud of her!). She walked, picked some flowers and followed the yellow trail without a lot of complaining. One of the hikes led us to a tunnel, 600m long where a flashlight was a must. Louna was afraid at first but enjoyed it nevertheless. Now, she knows what a tunnel is. It's dark inside!

Aside from the different activities to busy our day, appreciating Verdon's beautiful landscape was also part of the voyage. My camera never stopped clicking.

Lavander farm.

A picturesque hotel where we did not stay hehe.

Typical village in Verdon.

Lac de Ste Croix. The turquoise water was too inviting, too bad the temperature was way too low to my tolerance level, lol.

Chateau-Queyras Weekend

Posted by Analyse at 12:23 PM

Sunday, June 07, 2009

It's been almost a month now since we spent this outdoor-y getaway at the south of France - Queyras National Park. This site is one of my most favorite places here in France. Too beautiful, too wild, too much diversity and too much activities to offer. Frenchguy's friend celebrated his birthday there, and as always, we had activities à la carte to indulge to - hike, bike, via ferrata, kayak, raft, canoë... I won't focus on the menu since it's a man's party, we had sausages, barbeques, beers, wines.. and a lot more wine.

We started our adventure with a hike - which the girls adored.

Then I did via ferrata.. Frenchguy did the same with another group (because we need a babysitter while the other one does an activity).

And did rafting .. while the girls and Frenchguy were doing siesta.
Now, I can't wait for the next adventure.. next stop - Gorge du Verdon, still at the south of France.

Labor Day Getaway

Posted by Analyse at 2:21 PM

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The frenchy family was on a 10-day getaway to escape from work pressures and to savour spring at the seaside with Frenchguy's family. It was perfect. We had the beach for us alone and daily temperatures were fluctuating at levels I love: 6°C in the morning to end at 18°C before the sun sets. Not to cold, not too hot, sunny most of the time and daylight till 9:30pm - need I ask for more?

The beach wasn't the one I crave for, of course. No white sands. No coconut trees. Not the tropical temperature. It was more of a fishing haven - rocks covered with algaes, beaches with fishing towers, low tides almost every morning to the delight of villagers and vacationers excited to gather clams, mussels, shrimps or even oysters. There were some mornings when Frenchguy would leave early in the morning to join hoards of fishers, bringing us fresh shrimps. After breakfast, me and the girls would go to the beach to build sand castles while waiting for Frenchguy.

The seaside transformed itself into a real beach in the afternoon where some sunbathers started to show more skin, where kite-surfers glided with ease because there were not much tourists and where families like us whiled away our time appreciating the calmness of the place.

I thought that this vacation would be a lot complicated because of the two girls. But outdoor lovers as we are, we had time playing along the beach while waiting for sunset (Louna became a fan, she was asking to watch it almost all night!), we had time biking (with Kyla on a baby carrier), we had time to get a good tan (even Kyla whom I tried to protect all the time!) and of course, we had a lot of time eating fresh seafoods!

How I wish we could be there more often. But the place is darn too far!

The family is really growing tho. How did I know? The car was packed up to the last mm2 that one could ask where we hid the kids.

Now, we're back to Dijon. Back to normal activities. See you around.

Kidney For Sale

Posted by Analyse at 10:30 PM

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm currently watching evening news and current events start to scare me. It started talking about Continental shutting down production in Clairoix. Then Dexia offering 8M€ bonus to its big boss despite the fact that it was saved from bankruptcy by the government. The heck!

And now, I've just heard that Spaniards start to to put their organs up for sale on the internet to overcome crisis. I've watched almost the same scenario last week, talking about Indian woman putting their womb for rent to couples with reproduction problem.

When I hear the same news coming from India, it's some kind of a déjà vu for me. I know that it could happen in that part of the world. But Spain!

Don't you think that poverty is like a plague? Then "almost" exclusive to Thirld World Countries. Now gaining more territories in Europe and God-knows-where-else.

Culture Unplugged Video

Posted by Analyse at 9:03 AM

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This vid made me teary-eyed. Well, I think I cried. This film moved me. Just watch and see for yourself.

Social Networking - How Does It Affect Your Life?

Posted by Analyse at 10:29 PM

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Friendster? Facebook? Anyone?

I've heard on the news that an applicant was turned down from a job because the interviewer was looking at his Facebook profile during the interview.. which made his eyes wide open in disbelief.

There are two questions floating in my head since I heard the news:

- How far would you go in sharing your private life in a public domain such as a social networking site?

- Is it legal for an employer to check Facebook profiles? In what incident would a picture affect efficiency at work? What happened to freedom of expression? Do employers take into account that there's private life after work?

Ain't this news disturbing? Being fired because you blog about work or you blog at work, ok, I could understand that. But being discriminated because you talk about YOU? Errrr? Kindly explain..


Posted by Analyse at 7:10 PM

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More picture update at Ma Crèche Privée.

Bisita Iglesia

Posted by Analyse at 2:35 PM

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My love for adventure and photography incites me to explore the world around me. What's good about travelling is that you open your eyes to another culture, lifestyle and tradition. I feel more grown up after each travel. I learn something new when I visit another place and Rome wasn't an exception. I learned that by throwing a coin in the Fontana de Trevi, I could guarantee another visit to this lovely place. True enough, last weekend was the 3rd time. And still, I couldn't get enough of what this lively city could offer. One of my favorite activity is to church hop - bisita iglesia. Among the cities I've visited, it's the only place where I saw 3 churches in one piazza. And mind you, even the smallest capella are well decorated and painted - I even saw one painted by Michelangelo himself!

I've posted some church pictures below. If you could name each of them, you'll win a free ticket to Rome (o naniwala ka naman, lol). Bonus: the last picture is the Pieta, the masterpiece of Michelangelo in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.

Valentine Date

Posted by Analyse at 3:34 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I’m not the romantic type. Take it or leave it. So when Frenchguy gave me the reservation card on one of the most reputed restaurant in Dijon, I started complaining... till he said it’s for me and my mom.

Oh (pause). That made me stop complaining… till I realized it’s still Valentine’s Day and it’s still baduy! The complains continued till I finally found a parking space and parked my car - probably a hundred meter from the restaurant! What an idea to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day!

Well, okay. I’ll stop complaining..

The restaurant is set in a lovely décor situated in an old wine cellar at the basement. The ambiance required a certain level of standing, Burgundy snobbism at its best. I told my Mom, Let them do the job. Just go with the flow. An employee took off our coats and accompanied us to our table. She then pulled the chair back to help us sit comfortably. My Mom started to observe the place, overwhelmed by the thickness of walls surrounding us – not even a bomb could destroy them, me thinks.

Dinner was officially announced when the amuse bouche were served. I have this bad habit of counting the hours when I dine in fine restaurants like that (we dined for 3 hours, 6 servings). I also checked the list of wines which almost made me choke. But anyway, I couldn’t take a bottle, I’m driving palusot pa!. Each meal were finely prepared, beautifully decorated and well presented. I told my Mom to just smile and say merci pour each explanation of our meal. She then asked me if we could take a picture. I said yes if she wouldn’t mind being looked at - it’s like announcing that we don’t belong there. It’s not a restaurant where common tourist go only those who want to taste Bourgogne gastronomy at its finest. With that, she suddenly changed her mind.

The conversation was the highlight of the night – it was Valentine-inspired, what else. You wouldn’t believe it but we talked about our ex-es, our crushes, those who courted us, about my Dad and about my Frenchguy. We were like young girls talking about our respective prince charming. My Mom’s 65 year old and so what? Lol.

What about you? Anything special on Valentine’s Day?


Posted by Analyse at 11:01 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When Louna’s former nanny announced that she’s pregnant, we felt real happiness for her for around a second. The seconds which followed were realizations of a long process of nanny hiring à la française.

A lot of questions were asked on what solution we would take? Will we hire an assistante maternelle (a chid-care provider who could guard 3 kids in her place) like what we did for Louna? That would mean that Louna should eat at the canteen everyday and stay at the nursery after school because that nanny would only take care of Kyla and not Louna. What if we’re both on travel and couldn’t fetch her from school before 6pm (nursery closes at 6pm)? Will we hire another person, a périscolaire to fetch her from school? Another concern is that Louna should stay from 8:30am to 5:30-6pm everyday at school. That’s pretty much for a 3 year old!

Though that solution is financially more interesting, the time constraints and the lack of flexibility are frightening us. We progressively looked at another option.

Garde d’enfants à domicile. Yaya almost-pinoy-style (not the stay-in type). Somebody who would take care of the kids in our place. In addition to being a nanny, she would take care of the different household chores like cleaning, ironing and even cooking. Another advantage is that, she could fetch Louna from school at noon and have her lunch at home. Kyla could stay in bed and won’t wake up early in the morning to go to her nanny’s place. We won’t need to hire a cleaning lady.

We long hesitated to succumb in this solution because of the economic aspect but after an analysis, the little amount of euro we would add for this option would mean comfort for the whole family.

We had been actively pursuing this solution since two weeks now. We posted an announcement at the ANPE (employment agency) which transmitted a good number of CVs and letters of motivation to us. Frenchguy and I started to study the CVs and eliminated those which didn’t reply to our criteria. With that, we were able to cut down the number of candidates to 8. A series of phone interviews followed and 4 of the candidates caught our interest. We will meet them this Thursday and Friday for a face-to-face interview (yes, we will even take a leave for that! – but hey, one of these person would probably take care of my kids.)

While studying the CVs, I had this uncomfortable feeling of responsibility knowing that the future of those candidates depended on my decision – especially in this hard moment of economic chaos. There was this African applicant who seemed to be motivated and hardworking but lacked a driver’s license. There was this woman, a former office secretary. She’s almost perfect but I don’t need a secretary! There were women who live far from Dijon but were willing to drive more than 30km to bag the job. There were those young ladies, too young to have job experiences and old enough to have kids of their own.

In this selection process, I probably practiced racism and discrimination in one sole objective – that is, to find the best nanny who would take good care of my girls. And that’s one tough job!

My Mom is quite overwhelmed of this whole process. Overwhelmed by the fact that we will pay social charges for the nanny, that the candidates are mostly diploma holders specialized in child care, that interviews are even fixed, that even a retired teacher and a secretary applied for the job.

Aba e, sa probinsya namin, wala daw lahat nyan no.

Almost Widow

Posted by Analyse at 4:49 PM

Friday, February 06, 2009

Frenchguy almost fainted last week while playing squash. His left arm felt numb, he had difficulty aiming the ball, he lost equilibrium then thought his toungue was bloated (he had difficulty talking). Somebody applied first aid on him and when he thought he was okay, he then threw up everything he had for lunch.

He had doppler examination the next day which showed that his left vertebral vein was clogged. He had anti-coagulants from then on. His head was scanned two days ago which showed that everything was normal. Everybody's relieved with the results, and him, he's again thinking of pursuing sports.

Everybody at work knew about the news. No wonder, he played with a colleague. Here's some sympathizing conversations with them:

Colleague 1: So, the poison's starting to take effect?

Colleague 2: I heard that you're almost a widow. Too sad. Try again next time.

Colleague 3: Did he already sign the heritage certificate?

Colleague 4: Whoa! You'll be single again!

After the brain scan:

Colleague 5: At least now, he has an evidence that he's got a brain.

That's French humour! I reply them with the same humour, of course, and now they describe me as a young happy widow.

But kidding aside, that incident made me realize all the more that I'm a foreigner in this country. I don't even know my rights in full detail. And how would I proceed if something bad happens? Will I stay in the same house? How will I take care of the garden? I don't even know how to start the lawn mower! How will I do with the kids without any family around? What if I need to travel because of work? And would I be able to keep my job inspite of the economic crisis? What if? Will I stay in France?

Nah! Too much questions unanswered. I told Frenchguy that he's still not allowed to go but should sign the heritage blahblahs, lol.

PS: Frenchguy's doing great and says HI.

Visa Extension No More

Posted by Analyse at 9:53 PM

Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm quite disappointed today. We had been checking our calendar this week and I felt a bit sad knowing that March 15 is nearing. That's my Mom's departure date. Sad because we really hadn't visited that much because of the cold weather, Kyla's age, and moi busy at work. All I could offer her was a freezing day at Paris Disneyland a day after her arrival here, a weekend at Bourg St Maurice next week the mountains. no, she won't ski, don't worry, a weekend in Rome end of February and a busy daily schedule with the two girls.

With my boss' question whether I could go to the Philippines in the coming weeks just for a week and I could say NO because of my family situation. he told me he would understand, I thought I'd take a chance and ask for a visa extension for my Mom. It would be more comfortable if my Mom's here while I'm on travel, considering Kyla's age. I asked Frenchguy to go the Prefecture because I know they'll be more honest with a French citizen to see any possibility but the answer was negative. The only possible reason for a visa extension is if my Mom's seriously sick. Ayoko nga!

Anybody here in France who had the same experience recently? So the news is true? It's really that strict here now? How is it in your country?

Kiddo Update

Posted by Analyse at 10:26 AM

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Busy. That's the adjective that best describes me at the moment. Having two kids and a job is no joke. That means bathing and feeding two kids after work. In short, take everything about motherhood multiplied by two. The answer is exponentially overwhelming.

But I cannot charge my absence in the blogging world all in motherhood, there's also the fact that I love chatting with my Mom. She starts to repeat stories though, not enough chismis for a 3-month stay. I think she needs to go back home to gather more chismis to tell me, lol.

Job contributes to that adjective too. But I cannot complain. It's somewhat rewarding. Remember about my award? Well, I already received it and contrary to what I thought, I didn't tremble when I delivered my speech. But I jokingly told my boss that I will work less efficiently this year because I hate high heels and speeches. He laughed and congratulated me, told me that my speech was great and that's just a start of a more fruitful career. Frenchguy see more € signs now, lol.

But do you know what's more rewarding than certificates decorating my office? See what the girls could do at their crèche privée. I'm a proud Maman.

First Day at Work

Posted by Analyse at 9:49 AM

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Yes. I'm again on work mode. Since Monday. And already busy.

I spent almost my whole day in our conference room on my first day. 9:30am to 1:30pm talking about strategies on how to decrease production cost. 2:30pm to 5:00pm talking about a new project I'll be working on. My wonderful bosses filled up time slots in my outlook calendar even before I arrived. The big boss was even reminding me that he needed to talk to me on another subject but that could still wait till next week. What a day! I missed the traditionnal morning and afternoon café where almost everybody gather in a small room sipping their hot coffee or tea talking about all kinds of nonsense except work.

The next day, Tuesday, my supposed-to-be meeting at 10:00am was luckily cancelled and moved to Thursday. I had time deleting and reading unimportant messages. Important messages were kept aside thinking I'll have time today at home to read some messages (I won't work every Wednesdays to take care of my kids). But nah, I have too much stuffs to do at home too. It's now 4:00pm here and I haven't opened my work laptop yet. I'll try later when the kids are in bed (they're now taking a nap), I need to prepare my meeting tomorrow.

Going back on my first day, it's funny how my colleagues greeted me. After the usual beso beso followed by classic new year greetings like bonne année, bonne santé and meilleur voeux, almost all of them striked a quick glance on my tummy and said nothing. Mga usi, lol.

PS: Picture on the left is the only picture of me last Christmas. I'm always behind the cam. Don't be fooled tho. Remember a lot of years ago when Baguio was hit by an earthquake? Where roads and buildings were heavily cracked and damaged? Let's say it was intensity 7.6 on the Richter scale. My abdomen looks like it was hit by an intensity 8. Heavily cracked and damaged.