The Journey Begins (sort of)

Anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of applying for a Schengen Visa will probably not know or understand my pain. Or the absolutely fear (yes fear – it’s progressed far beyond stress) that one can experience in the days leading up to the dreaded “application”. Today was my day to head over to the French Embassy (also know as Le Consulat de France au Cap) and hope against hope that I had all the documents that I needed to obtain that little sticker.

Over the past few weeks there’s been little else on my mind that getting all my documents sorted so I can finally do what I’ve set my mind on… (Re)learn to speak French in Paris. I won’t go into all the details of the laborious planning process, but this morning I was confident that I had everything in place. So I set off for the Consulate, feeling optimistic.

The weird thing about applying for a visa is that I still have a valid visa. The only problem is that my current visa expires 9 days before my return to South Africa and it’s only valid for 30 days at a time, while my trip will span 77. This actually proved to be more of a problem than I thought, so right form the start it wasn’t looking good. However, once the madame was convinced that they could figure something out, another problem popped up. The fact that I was going to study French in France was also problematic, even though I had a perfectly legitimate certificate from the university to state that I was “pre-registered” and accepted. Apparently the French don’t allow just anyone to go learn French, so the lady promptly switched over and started talking French to me, in order to determine whether I do actually speak the language. After assuring her that I had studied French at school and a little at university (in French, of course), she was still not satisfied and asked that I provide her with a matric certificate to show that this was, in fact, true.

Since I don’t really carry my matric certificate with me, I had a little mad dash around town and finally managed to get a copy, which I delivered to them promptly. Success! Or at least I hope so. You never know with these embassy types.

But now I’ve done all that I can do and I can only hope that when I pitch up to pick up my passport in 3 working days, everything will be ready. And then my journey begins. But more about that when I get there.

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