Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Exile: Working On My Visa

Some magic castle or something.
Exile: Too many weeks
Aloha from the island of Oahu!

My friends, it has been too long since I’ve last written about my adventures. Honestly, this site could have been a travel blog in which I tell you about my adventures from wherever they may be, but my heart is in Paris. Since leaving there, I’ve been in Toronto, New York, Orlando, Saskatoon, and I’m currently in Honolulu.

I will be applying for a “Long Stay Visitor” visa rather than a work visa, since I can work from my computer. I’ll make the application in Vancouver in two weeks and will then make my move to Paris two weeks after that. If all goes well, I expect to be in Paris for quite a long time, since I can renew my visitor visa indefinitely (so long as I meet the requirements). What are the requirements?

1. One must have proof of income. You need either a bank statement, pay stubs or some proof that you will not starve to death during your stay.

2. One must have health insurance. For some reason, the French government does not want to pay for the health care of a non-citizen.

3. One must have a place to live. This can be a lease or a letter from a friend or family member who will put you up. I can tell you that renting a permanent apartment in Paris from abroad is nearly as difficult as getting a visa. I have decided to find an apartment after I arrive (hopefully in Le Marais… hopefully with 2 bedrooms and a parking spot!)

4. Last, one must write a heart-felt letter of why you want to be in Paris at all, perhaps with promises that you will not violate the spirit of your visa by taking a job.

I expect to be successful with my petition, but this as with all things, time will tell.

Here are some random observations that I have made during my exile.

Orlando:
1. I never saw the city of Orlando and cannot verify if there even is one. Disney related shuttles and taxis took me from the airport to the resort to the park and back. I only ever saw highways and Disney related venues. If the city of Orlando is giving Disney any tax breaks, they should stop.

2. I complained a lot about being the fattest man in all of Paris. I would say that I was rather the skinniest man in Orlando. Disney rewards fat morbid obesity by letting super-fat people jump the lines in their electric scooters. Just seeing these horribly disfigured fatties is enough to put one off food forever.

Saskatoon:
1. Saskatoon got back to normal the day I arrived by heralding me with 30cm (about a foot) of snow. Temperatures dipped below -30C and with the wind-chill factor calculated in they got into the -45C range.

My very unhappy car waits for news about Paris.

2. There is a Dairy Queen on 8th Street in Saskatoon that stays open well into the winter. It was still open in December. Some Dairy Queen locations sell hamburgers and fries and such, but not this one. It only sells ice cream and patrons must line up outside in the -30C weather to wait for their ice cream. Only in Canada, eh?

3. Ladies, pay attention. For those of you from Victoria or Honolulu or some town where you are convinced that the number of single women greatly outnumber the single men, you will not find this to be the case in Saskatoon. Honesely, get to Saskatoon as soon as you can and have a look. You’ll be surrounded by a throng of Saskatonian men before you can say Rumplestiltskin.

Honolulu:
1. I suppose I brought the cold weather with me, but Honolulu has been uncharacteristically cold this December. I’ve been computing with a little blanket on many days. For those of you that don’t know this, there is no way to warm up in a Honolulu household, since the homes don’t have heaters or furnaces of any sort.

2. During my short time here, I have enjoyed what I call the “celebrity of absence” in that I have been invited to a great many outings, having not been seen by anyone for several months. This has all but worn off now, so I will have one large party to say goodbye and will depart soon, hopefully to return one day to the same celebrity. Thank you, my friends!

3. I’ve found a source for crème de Camembert here. Life is not so bad. Of course it is impossible to get good bread. Bread in America is sold underbaked or unbaked and like most Americans I had become accustomed to eating raw bread dough with a brownish crust. Paris cured me of this habit, but there is nowhere in Hawaii to buy bread that is fully baked. A toaster is required.

4. I drink more wine in Honolulu than anywhere else in the world. I expect that this is because I am blessed with so many friends here.
Sharing photos, stories and laughs with friends in Honolulu.

I suppose that is all I shall write for now. For everyone I haven’t seen yet in Hawaii, I hope to see you very soon and to all my friends in Paris… I shall be returning shortly.

Love and Aloha,
Robyn

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