Crowd the streets! Yell! Make posters! Chant with them while marching down the street! Get blow horns! Inconvenience everyone!
I can't say I blame them - the government wants to increase the age of retirement here. But - is there perhaps another way to get the point across? Who knows. But the French sure know how to do it up right.
On the 7th of September I decided to walk to work. I wouldn't let the strike get me down...I put on my tennis shoes and head out for work one hour early to get there on time. Finding myself early, I though I'd grab some delicious pastries for my colleagues. Armed with pain au chocolats and croissants I arrived at work happy as a clam.
My stress began to mount as I realized that my carte de sejour renewal was coming up - in a month. My French significant other would need to fly back to France from his study abroad program in the states JUST TO BE THERE WITH ME when I renewed my card. Hi honey - thanks for coming - bye now. Since November 2009 I've been hoping that I would be French by now. Every time I walk up my apartment building stairs I hope that there will be a letter waiting on my doormat announcing - Vous êtes française! But alas, it was September 7th and still no letter.
I had already called my Prefecture contact twice before and each time she was incredulous that I was still not French. Toujours pas? she would ask me - Non, toujours pas I would say. Et merde.
I figured I had one last chance to call her before she would stop liking me and turn on her annoyed French Madame attitude. I gave myself a pep talk and made the call - Désolée Madame, elle n'est pas là. She's not there.
I took a deep breath and decided to call back in 10 minutes.
Oui bonjour, Mme at the Prefecture?
Oui, this is Mme at the Prefecture - who is this?
This is FrenchCannesCannes - remember me? The American?
Oh OUIII! But you are toujours pas French??!
Toujours pas :-(
Well, let me try and look at your file...give me your file number again...
hmmmm - I don't see it....this is trés trés strange....let me try again...let me ask my colleague....ummm
(10 minutes later)
Oh mais - C'est bon! Vous êtes française since August 27th!
What?! I am French??!!! Are you sure?!!!
Why yes! It says right here that you were made French on August 27th and that it was posted in the Journal Officiel on August 29th! Féliciations! Congratulations! You can see the Journal Officiel online with your name printed and everything.
Merci Madame! Merci infiniment!!! (tears, sniffles) Merci pour tout!!! Aurevoir!
I pulled up Internet Explorer and Googled the Journal Officiel - I read through all of the Official laws, all of the Official decrees, all of the Official striking information until I got to the Official French people - but guess what? The only part of the Journal Officiel that is not printed online is the nationalities section. Yeah, thanks France, thanks a bunch.
My Momma landed in Paris 2 hours later to striking angry French people blocking the streets to my house. I met her at République with hugs and kisses and we dragged her suitcases to my Parisian apartment through leaflets and banners that had been left from the crowds.
We got settled and headed to a little restaurant called La Fée Verte. I promptly ordered 2 glasses of champagne and when they arrived held mine up for a toast..."I have something to tell you," I told her..."you are looking at a French girl!"
She cried and hugged me and we raised our glasses to France and the French - who strike, who delete entire sections from online publications and who forget to tell you when you are awarded with their nationality. But who serve up a mean glass of bubbly and chèvre chaud that no other nation can shake a stick at.