I've had a little, niggling worry at the back of my mind for the last several months.
When we left the Vendée, we made certain that we knew how to change our address for all the proper French governmental agencies.
Most of it could be be done online, but some, like our Carte de Sejour, needed to be done in person with the proper authorities in the new Département.
We got our file together: passport-size photos, copies of passports, Carte de Sejour, electric bills, contract for the house, birth certificates, marriage license, the dogs' passports, bank statements and the all important RIB – authorization for whoever to take money out our bank account. There might have been a few more papers….
I'm sure there were more papers….
We started making the rounds.
Now, remember, this is to change our address. We already live in France, pay French taxes, and are on the French medical insurance system. All we did was move.
We went to the local Mairie for the Carte de Sejour. We were given the list of documents we would need by the secrétaire (who happens to be Russian). The list was longer than when we applied for permission to live here.
Next we went to CPAM, the agency that handles the medical insurance. We were given the list of documents we would need, again, longer than the first time, and told not to come back until we had our new Carte de Sejour, from the correct Département, in hand.
This was in early November.
All we wanted to do was change our address.
About a week later we received a letter from CPAM of the Vendée canceling our medical insurance.
At least, that's what I thought it said.
I called a friend and official translator in the Vendée and read it to him.
He called The Powers That Be.
The next day he called back and explained that we had, indeed, been canceled….
But only from the contributory plan.
We'd been transferred to the free plan (for indigents, I guess).
It seems that, with the euro/dollar exchange rate becoming less favorable to the dollar, our income had fallen below the poverty level in France and we were no longer required to contribute the 150 some euros per year for our health coverage.
Worrier that I am, I hoped this wouldn't effect getting our Carte Vitale (the little green card that does everything for medical care) from the Lot et Garonne.
Yes, I know, we were just trying to change our address….
But, it felt like we were starting the whole 'getting permission to live in France' bit all over again.
This was all supposed to take a month.
Five weeks later, mid-December I went to see the secrétaire. Perfect timing, as at were…. They needed more documents.
I gathered the documents and took them to her the next day…. that she worked, which happened to be the following Monday.
I knew that we wouldn't see any activity for at least another month. No work is done in the 3 weeks or so surrounding the Christmas holidays.
It's like dropping your paperwork into a black hole…. It gets sucked in and disappears.
Fortunately, I had a good teacher when we moved here and I make a copy of every copy of absolutely everything I give to them.
Sanity savor, bien sur!
In the meantime, this is when mon mari got the infection in his toe that started our recent odyssey.
Every time he took out his trusty little green card, whether at the clinic or at the pharmacy, it was examined, and he was told that 'he must apply for the proper card from the Lot et Garonne'.
Yeah, we know…. But we can't apply for the proper card because we still haven't gotten the address changed on our residence card because the entire bureaucracy is off skiing in the Alps until February for the Christmas hols.
And I'm still remembering that cancellation letter I got in November….
To be continued……
Have get to this gorgeous recipe – perfect for a 4th of July picnic this weekend….
Savory Beef Kebabs
These are best if prepared earlier in the day and allowed to soak up the flavors – plus it makes dinner a breeze! By doing the meat and some of the vegetables separately you can cook the skewers for different times: allowing the onion to get done to your liking without overcooking the beef.
12oz (350gr) beef loin or sirloin, cut into 1 1/2" (3.75cm) cubes
1/2 yellow, orange or red bell pepper save other half for Tuesday
1/3 green bell pepper use slightly more than 1/3 – we just want to save a bit for the Pilaf on Wednesday
1 red or sweet onion
1 small – medium zucchini (courgette) 8" (20cm)
6 – 8 mushrooms, large enough to be skewered
6 – 8 large cherry tomatoes
4 – 8 skewers, depending on length if wood, soak in water while preparing the rest Marinade
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs ketchup
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
Hot pepper sauce or red pepper flakes – optional too hot for me 😉
Put wooden skewers in water to soak.
In small bowl whisk together all ingredients for marinade. Pour over meat and let marinate for 20 – 30 minutes, or longer. Clean mushrooms, removing stems. Add to marinade.
Cut each half pepper into 1 1/2 " (3.75cm) squares. Peel and cut onion into 8 wedges. Cut zucchini into slices about 1/2 inch (1.25cm) thick.
At this point you can set it all aside while the meat marinates, or assemble the skewers and allow to marinate on the skewers.
To assemble: Remove meat and mushrooms from marinade. Put onions, zucchini and peppers in the marinade and stir to coat.
Thread meat, tomatoes and mushrooms onto half of the skewers, alternating.
Remove vegetables from marinade and thread onions, peppers and zucchini on the remaining skewers, alternating.
To cook: Start to cook the vegetable-only skewers first, over indirect heat with the cover closed. After about 7 minutes, lift cover and turn vegetables, moving over direct heat. Add beef skewers over direct heat. Cook for 6 – 10 minutes, or until beef is done to your liking, turning halfway through cooking time. Vegetables should be crisp-tender. Remove and serve with Basmati Rice or Couscous.
In addition to the above, for the week of July 4 we have the Yogurt Dipping Sauce for the Kebabs, Grilled Scallops, Spicy Barbecued Burgers, Honey Mustard Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf Salad….
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