So it's a wonder that my biggest preoccupation on November 9th was what the heck do you wear to a Nationality ceremony??!
At the last minute I put together an "I've been Frenchified" apéritif so that my friends could celebrate with me after the big day. I convinced a bar in the Marais to reserve just a little teeny part of their terrace for me so that I would be sure to have enough room for up to 8 people. I was told to call the day of just to confirm at around 3. Needless to say I was P.Oed BIG TIME when I got a French trou du cul (d-hole) on the phone telling me that they can't reserve anything unless I know how many people there will actually be. We will just ave to see on ze night Mademoiselle... and so I did what any self-respecting soon-to-be Frenchie would do: I responded snidely and hung up on him.
After venting about the Frenchie dill-hole, my colleague and friend C and I made our way over to the Salle Marianne on the Ile de la Cité. C was my paparazzi as I nervously waited outside for the ceremony to begin...
The Salle Marianne was fancified for the occasion - fancy music, fancy bleu, blanc, rouge projections, fancy lights, and bien sûr mes amis - a fancy copy of the Marseillaise (French National Anthem) on each chair.
Our Maître de Cérémonie was all kinds of amazing and even threw in some inappropriate commentary that would only pass in France (C and I were simultaneously cringing at each one)...things along the lines of: last ceremony there was a guy from Africa who was a white as me! (CRIIIIIINGGGGEEEE!!!!!)
We watched the movie "C'est Quoi Devenir Français" where we learned about the great values of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and the biggie Laïcité (separation of church and state). The best part was the shot of the French chanting down the street holding signs and the video explaining that being French means having the right to go on strike! mais oui how could we forget!!
After the video it was time to sing the Marseillaise - ahhhh! I was afraid it would be like at church when I was a kid - you hold the prayer book and mouth the words - but no - everybody sang! phew! C still managed to get an incredibly embarrassing video of my singing out the ol' anthem but I'll spare you that here.
And finally, they called out each name and where the person was from for the "remise de nationalité". It's a little along the lines of The Price is Right - FrenchCannesCannes from the United States come on down! Our amazing Maître de Cérémonie even told us that if we wanted to video the name calling bit we could have a "do-over " and set up a little stage shot that would have a "meilleur rendu" (a better turnout). ha! I felt so bad for the poor souls who videoed but our MC got the crowd cheering when the person had to act surprised for the second time, run down for the second time, and give a bisous to the MC AGAIN.
When it was my turn to come on down I opted for just a photo (phew!). But that didn't stop the MC from saying, "FrenchCannesCannes? Why that's French! and you're from California I saw!" "Oui, Oui Monsieur, French from a long looooooong time ago...so long ago that I had to go through this process and couldn't just get French Nationality straight away!"
He gave me an extra loud bisous on each cheek and then... - I was French!
C and I headed to the dill-hole bar and found a table for 8 reserved for us...but like any self-respecting Française I sat elsewhere and left the table empty:-)
Et voila mes amis - quelques photos de la grande journée:
Getting ready to go into the Salle Marianne
The Maître de Cérémonie - he was amazing, I loved this guy
I've been Frenchified!
Hilarious photo on the way out of the Prefecture
Paris waiting to congratulate me after the ceremony...