Monday, February 11, 2008


I was supposed to call at 10 AM my time (7 PM her time). I had programmed her number into my phone. At 10:01 I dialed, heading into my bedroom, away from the noisy kids and reading husband (I didn't want him listening in case I completely blew it so he couldn't mock him later).
As I arrived in the bedroom, a voice on the other line said, "That number cannot be completed as dialed." I panicked. How can that be?? I went back to the email message I received with her number in it to make sure I had dialed correctly. Yes I had! What was going on!! I checked to see if the international code had been left off. By now it was 10:07. Seven minutes late!! What would they think of me??
According to the website I found that the code I got was wrong. Phew! That explained that. So, new international code in hand, I re-dialed. Ringing! Then . . . "This type of number cannot be dialed from this line." Oh no! I ran to the living room, "My phone won't let me make international calls!" By this time it was 10:12.
Husband was reasonably shocked and agitated, "You'll have to call from a pay phone, unless I can add international calls to our plan right now." He manned the computer, and added, "Or you could buy a calling card."
How long would that take? The prospect of calling from a pay phone was especially uninviting. I decided I would buy a calling card, since at this point the adding international calling instantly to our plan didn't seem likely.
Then I remembered we had a calling card on our bookshelf. It had been there for at least three years and I couldn't remember if I had recycled it last time I went on a cleaning spree. Just the same I madly dashed into my room, rooting through piles of books, papers and magazines. I found it, went back to the living room and after a few false starts, I was back in business. A voice came on the line telling me I had 30 US minutes and only 10 International minutes. This was worrying. What if the interview went longer than that and I was cut off mid sentence? I decided to worry about that when it came to that. After a pause I heard a strange beeping sound which I gathered was the French version of ringing.
Then a voice came on the line speaking French. "Is Mme there?"
More French. "I don't speak French."
More French. Pause. Him, "Allo?"
"I don't speak French."
More French, then he finally put me on the line with Mme. "I'm sorry, I forgot you were going to call." She said. How rude! But at lease it didn't matter that I was 15 minutes late calling her.
So basically it seems I have a job if the visa can come through on time. They don't seem to know anything about getting a visa and expect me to figure it out and let them know by Friday.
We shall see . . . This all seems too good to be true. All my research indicates that getting a work permit in France is next to impossible. My paranoid side soon emerged, remembering an Audry Tautou film I saw where she went to Paris, ended up working in a sweatshop and was later nearly forced to sell her organs.


Samantha said...

They are going to have to do some paperwork on their end as well, because you cannot get a work visa without an official job offer from them, and the official job offer has to get approval from the work permit office first. I'm not exactly quite sure how it works, but I do know they have to have advertised the position for X number of weeks/months and be able to show that there is no one on French soil who could fill it!!

Samantha said...

Out of curiosity, I just did a search on Google, and this is taken off the French embassy:

An employer in France who wants to hire an American citizen must obtain an authorization from the French Ministry of Labor. The authorization is a prerequisite document for the issuance of a long stay visa by a French Consulate in the United States. If the Ministry approves the contract, it is forwarded to the Office des Migrations Internationales (OMI) for transmission to the appropriate French Consulate in the U.S. The Consulate then notifies the applicant who can proceed with visa formalities. After entering France with the proper visa, he or she must apply at the local Préfecture of Police for a Carte de Séjour.

Expat Wannabe said...
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