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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Poor Little Old Lady..

I remember in the states, specifically in Oregon, any time a little old lady passed, there would be an inkling to help.  Cross the street.  Get than can off of the top shelf.  Move off the seat of the bus so she doesn't go flying around.

France is a bit of a different world.  We already know that the driver's are insane and you can barely step off of a street corner without fear of being craser but worse is the behavior towards the elderly.

My story starts in a grocery store.  I was at the caisse popping my things onto the belt to get scanned, preparing my bags to pop the groceries in, because the dude moves so fast I never have enough time to shove it all away until he cries, the price.

The little old lady in front of me was trying desperately to keep up with the cashier, but was failing miserably.  For each item she was able to shakily put away, the cashier would shove over another four.  I finally realized that no one would help her, not even the cashier.  I wandered over, "Voudriez-vous d'aide madame?" I smiled.  The PLOL (poor little old lady) smiled a missing tooth smile and proclamed, "c'est TROP gentille madamoiselle", so off I went getting it all bagged and evenly weighed out.  At the end of paying she looked over at me and said, "Il n'y a beaucoup des gens comme vous, madamoiselle." (There aren't a lot of people like you) I nodded and responded, "Je ne suis pas Française, je suis américaine." (I'm not French, I'm American).  She smiled at me, and shuffled away.

The second story is on the bus.  I got onto the bus one day and it started to move, I noticed a little old lady coming on that could barely walk and had an oxygen machine.  As she shuffled down the aisles she was obviously having a difficult time not falling on her head, so I moved from my spot and held her still until she got into her seat.  Everyone just sat and looked away, as if she didn't exist!!!

So I was confused.  I finally asked around to friends what the deal WAS.  They explained to me that in general, if an elderly person cannot care for them selves, it's a dog eat dog world.  They need to learn how to survive in the world, because the helping hand is not always there.  Plus they respect the elderly as they don't want to make them feel frail or unable.

I still will always give my seat up, and help the old lady get the can.  I can adapt to cultures, but for this I will keep my personality.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Little Lyon

Ah the joy it was when I came across the application for my iPhone My Little Lyon.  Simple interface, cute images, the goal?  Describes things to do around Lyon during these quiet summer months.  It seems like there is little to do, especially when you want to watch your money- but the app has actually lead me into some interesting ideas.

Even better?  The application is also a website available online for non iPhone users: http://www.mylittle.fr/mylittlelyon/

Every day there is a nouveau idée of what to do around the city.  An example?  Picnic from a specialty epicerie who makes a menu of entrée/plat/dessert for the low sum of 9€.

Check out the site to see even more, the best deal that I found on there yet is the free tour of la croix russe told by two actors/comediens.

Called, les visites d'idées, the two gents tell a 'veritable subjective truth' of the Croix Russe.  The best part?  It's absolutely free.  Here is their site: http://www.visitesdidees.blogspot.com/

Bri and I plan to go on the 8th of July, it's going to be great for a Friday night... and because they do it for free it will be absolutely fabulous for our pockets.

My Little Lyon is a fabulous tool for those who live in Lyon and claim, there's nothing to do! Sometimes it just takes a bit of hunting and searching.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jean Pierre: Runner of the Rhône

If you are a resident of Lyon, you've seen him... for me it was a warm summer evening in 2010, and we were sipping on chilled rosé and eating charcuterie atop baguettes smothered in butter.  It was starting to turn dark over the horizon, the mouches were zipping around and our conversation had hit a silent lull.  From the distance, I could hear a rampage of cheering and clapping.  We lazily turned our heads towards the noise and saw it... fast as a flash the Old Man Runner.  Probably in his late 50's, maybe even his early 60's... he was running in bright orange shorts and a tight white tanktop.

He clearly showed defined runner's muscles.  As he ran by our picnic spot, the crowds went wild.. they cheered, shouted, one ado even jumped up, inspired, running beside him and trying to have a conversation.  Failed.  He slows down, unable to keep pace and cheers back to his friends, divulging the story.

I didn't understand what it was.. and I didn't until another year later.  It was May, last month, we decided to profit in the hot weather and have another picnic amongst friends.  Sure enough, the shouting started again.  I turned around, and spotted him once again... same jogging shorts, same tank top.  I smiled, because I finally knew I had reached the point Lyon was my second home.  This time I cheered, I whistled, I shouted my joy... and off he dashed.

Jean-Pierre the Runner of the Rhône, papy joggeur.  If you ever go to Lyon... go to les berges take in the sight and wave to Jean-Pierre...


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Advice: Renewing the Student Visa

I had to renew my student visa yesterday morning and WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!  I expected certain things and was surprised at others.  I also noticed there was barely any other people that wrote about this experience so I decided to give some information on the process.

First off:

There are two ways to renew your student visa:
  1. Through the préfecture.
  2. Through the University.
The University means less wait time- but the préfecture guarantees the timing on dropping off the paper work.

If your visa is going to expire before the results of acceptance into University- the Préfecture understands and will simply take the information you have.  When you come back to pick up the long stay visa, then you will bring in proof of schooling.

For either situation you will need the following documents:

  • Your passeport.
  • Copies of the following pages in your passport:
    • Identification page (the 'passport' page)
    • The original visa
    • Stamp of entry into France the year previous
    • Vignette d'OFII (the medical paper they gave you after your OFII appointment)
  • Original Birth Certificate, dated less than 3 months from date of renewal.
  • Copy of Original Birth Certificate
  • Translation of Birth Certificate (done by a certified translator, I used a woman named Karen King in Northern France; scanned it, sent it, she translated it and then mailed it back for only 32 euros).
  • Copy of Translation
  • Proof of Housing:  The rent bill dated at least 3 months from the date of renewal.
  • Copy of Proof of Housing
  • Certificate de Scolarité from the previous year's study- this comes from when you sign up at University, they give you this paper that on the back reads:  Certificate de Scolarité.  Get one for each semester.
  • Copies of the certificat de scolarité
  • Grades from the previous semester (if grades are not released yet, use the FIRST semester)
  • Copies of Grades from previous semester
  • Proof of Ability to Take Care of Yourself; basically a Bank RIB copy (in France), Contrat de Travail (if you work), proof of WORK payments, or an attestation written by your parents stating they will pay for your studies- as well as their most recent bank statement.
  • COPY of all the above.
  • 3 Photos, taken from a photo shop (I used: Arsilver Photo. 5 r Barre 69002) ensure the background is off white, light gray- NOT WHITE- they will not accept WHITE.
Those are all the documents she ended up taking from me, even though I brought a whole bunch more. The list of needed documents are also available through the préfecture website:


Furthermore, you will need to go to the préfecture in the 3ème, next door to the Commercial Center Part-Dieu: 12 rue des Cuirassiers.  NOTE:  GET IN LINE EARLY.  GET THERE AT 8:30am IF YOU WANT TO GET SERVED ON TIME.  I had to wait 3 HOURS.

You pass through the 'accueil' and take a ticket.  Tell them you are there for a "renouvellement de visa étudiant".  They will hand you a ticket, go up stairs, wait in the THIRD HALL.

After the woman calls you up, simply show her your visa, state you are renewing your visa and begin to give the documents as she asks for them.  After this, she will take your photo, attach it to a paper... which will extend your visit for another 3 months...

Your new visa will arrive in 6-8 weeks, there is no reference or notification... so you have to simply wait for 8 weeks and come by the same place to see if it has arrived.


It's a lot simpler than in the states...
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