vendredi 29 juillet 2011

Visa Application in San Francisco

It is a puzzling fact that the closest French consulate to Seattle is in San Francisco.  And to get a visa, you must go to that consulate in San Francisco and submit your paperwork in person.  So, on Tuesday I boarded a plane at an ungodly hour of the morning and traveled to San Francisco as necessity demanded.  It turned out to be an okay trip, although there was a lot of waiting around in airports.  This being the first time I had been in an airport since I was six, it was an interesting experience at first, but soon it became just boring.  

I went as part of a trip organized by a travel company that specializes in guiding future exchange students through the process of getting their visa papers in order and going to the consulate, so I was part of a group of about 9 other students going to France.  Once we got to San Francisco we went straight to the consulate and stayed in that immediate area until our appointment, so we didn't get to do much touristy sight seeing, however we did get to explore San Fran a little bit, at least the blocks surrounding to consulate.  We got to run around Chinatown for a bit (which was an interesting culture clash:  a bunch of American teenage girls mostly from Seattle, Washington, running around San Francisco's Chinatown, while they waited for approval to live in France for a year!).
 An entrance to Chinatown...lots of touristy souvenir shops await beyond this gate!
 We then ate at a very Frenchy restaurant called Café de la Presse where I had Salade Chevre Chaude (Salad with hot goat cheese) which was quite good. 

Cafe de la Presse...With a family speaking in rapid French waiting to cross the street.
The trip ran surprisingly smoothly and the visit to the consulate went well (Future exchange students, if you have any questions about the consulate appointment, feel free to ask questions in the comments). 

Flags outside the French consulate
Some more pictures:
I took this while running across a crosswalk.  Such a lovely, classic double decker bus... I couldn't let it pass without a picture!
Some of the shops in Chinatown.  I like that one has my name on the sign :)
 Me, in my Rotary blazer in front of a souvenir shop...Sorry it's sideways! 

If my application is approved (and there is no reason why it shouldn't be) I should be getting my visa in the mail in about two weeks.  This is quite a milestone, as the visa is the last piece of paperwork I need to live legally in France as a Rotary exchange student (!).  I'm unimaginably excited, of course, but it's also a bit hard to even wrap my mind around the fact that in a mere 24 days I'll be in France!!!!!!  

A bientôt!

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