dimanche, mars 07, 2004

The DDTEFP and Me

So Paris is off, for now. My beautiful apartment in the 12th, with the cool balcony and the hardwoods and the dour gardienne will have to be given up, and my stuff sent back. It appears my lowly little bilingual assistant job is too much in demand for all those earnest and out of work bilingual assistants in Paris. That is, according to the DDTEFP, the Direction Departementale de Travail de l'emploi et de la Formation Professionnelle, who have refused my two requests for visa approval.

I fought it with everything I had, including an army of friends and acquaintances and their friends and acquaintances. I found people who had connections in the Ministry of the Interior, the DDTEFP in the south of the country, the Prefecture de Police, the French Consulate of Atlanta, and even one chat room acquaintance who claimed to have emailed Alain Juppe about my problem. (This I suspect of being a ruse for getting my phone number, however. A girl can sense those things, even in dire situations.) I even went so far as to ask my uncle whom I haven't seen in 7 years or so (other side of the family from aforementioned one) who just so happens to be the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, if he could help me between trying to fight the AIDS pandemic and dealing with the whole stolen farm thing.

My boss, who was outraged this had happened to me, valiantly threw Gallic fits and lit fires under the HR people in Paris in both divisions to try to find a solution. I periodically would go into his office to update him on what my team of contacts had been able to find out.

"My friend whose mother works in the DDTEFP in the South said it's just a matter of tailoring the job description a bit," I would report. And later, "My uncle, the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, says to his knowledge, the only way to affect the decision is through the company." Or "My friend whose friend works at the Prefecture de Police says they are systematically refusing Americans right now."

"Well aren't you well connected!" he exclaimed, laughing.

"Oh, don't mess with me," I replied, "my tentacles reach far and wide."

Not far or wide enough to beat this one, though. So it's back to square one. I am trying to take the approach that something better awaits. That there is some compelling reason why I am not supposed to be there now. That there is a good explanation for why the universe let me get so close, only to take it abruptly away.

So I'll pour my frustrations into writing. And I've signed up for Turkish lessons. On the agenda for next week, the good old girlie standby, the recent-disappointment remedy of a brand new hairstyle. Whatever helps, I say.

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