Now…. Where was I….
Oh yes, France had closed for the Christmas holidays, leaving our change of address and all of our documents on some one's desk for eternity.
January comes…. And goes….
I've given everyone ample time to recover from their ski holidays so I start gently inquiring as to the status of our paperwork.
We are now past due on getting the license plates changed on our car, also. They still proudly claim affiliation with the Vendée. So we are perceived as tourists here in the Lot et Garonne; which is only a problem if the Gendarmes decide to check our paperwork.
We drive carefully.
Of course our driving licenses are also incorrect.
We drive very carefully.
I call the secrétaire.
Yes, I made a phone call to a French person (well, Russian person who spoke French).
I left a message. As it turns out she only works Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons in winter.
She called back the next week and said 'they were on the Prefecture's desk and should be signed soon.
This was Feb. 10. Our old ones expired on the 17th, which would make us illegal. I was starting to worry.
We got the new ones on the 17th; all nice and tidy.
They had decided to simply wait and do the annual renewal rather than an address change.
They could have told us.
Armed with our proof of legal residence we made the rounds once again.
Since we had gotten the list of required documents from CPAM (for the medical coverage) in November we thought that would be a snap.
I even remembered the rule to always forget to give them something so they have something to ask for that will be easy (They always ask for something you didn't bring…. Always!)
Apparently she wasn't impressed with my foresight. When I magically produced the first document she asked for, she shuffled the papers awhile, than asked for something totally unexpected.
Back home we go, file in hand.
The driving license and car plates were a first visit, so, naturally, we didn't have the right papers.
We went back the next week bigger files in hand.
Driving license and plates – all in order, here you are, thank you very much, no charge.
CPAM, after carefully scrutinizing every document, and asking for 2 more (that I had tucked away in my folder – HA!) they accepted the file.
This was on March 6th.
Mon mari went in hospital in the 25th…. without his proper papers. The French hate this – but, knowing their own bureaucracy, accept it without question.
At the end of April, still having heard nothing, we went back to CPAM. We met with the nice young lady who called the Powers That Be. Amazingly, someone had just looked at the file that very morning and, determining that it was incomplete, had sent the whole thing back to us. We should have it the next day.
They wanted one more piece of paper.
I copied it and sent it back.
In the meantime, we had gotten the required form from a doctor filled out for both of us as our primary doctor. We sent it in.
They sent it back, saying that we weren't in the system.
Then the file came back, saying that the doctor form was missing.
I sent the file and the doctor form to them… Again.
They sent the doctor form back again, saying that we weren't in the system.
I sent the doctor form back with a copy of the letter asking for it.
Mon mari was in hospital for his surgery and another 3 week stay….
Still without the proper paperwork.
Finally, a week ago we received a letter saying we had been 'accepted' into the medical system of the Lot et Garonne.
Did we change our address?
Or did we re-apply?
Yesterday we got the documents to actually get the little green card…. And the bill for the year.
Apparently, we are no longer indigent.
The hospital will be so pleased.
I was please with this… Yes, I'm still on a barley kick…
Barley with Courgette (Zucchini) and Tomato
2/3 cup (90gr, 10.5oz) 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
1 1/3 cups (320gr, 11oz) chicken stock (or more, depending on type of barley)
1 medium zucchini (courgette) about 8 " (20cm)
1 large tomato
1 medium onion
1/2 green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs fresh basil
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp white Balsamic vinegar
Cook barley in stock until done, stirring occasionally. If all stock is not absorbed, drain.
Slice zucchini in half the long way and then into 1/4" (.6cm) slices. Slice the pepper into strips. Cut the onion in half, then slice. Mince the garlic. Cut the tomato into large chunks.
Heat medium nonstick over medium heat. Add oil, onion, pepper and sauté until starting to get tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and courgette and sauté until courgette starts to get limp, about 5 minutes. Add tomato, basil, cover and cook until tomato gets soft, 4 – 7 minutes longer.
To finish: When barley is done put into a medium bowl. When zucchini is done add to barley and gently stir in vinegar and serve.
With any luck we should have our green Carte Vitale in hand in, oh, another month or two…..