Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Little more French

Guess what these are!

Here are some hints:
*They are good for life.
*We each had to surrender something that we've had for 25 years or more in order to get them.

These are our brand new French driver's licenses. 

They are coveted commodities in France because they are normally expensive and time consuming to acquire. The French have intense driving classes and then an exam that makes a driving test in the States seem like child's play. Between the course and the test, a French license has a price tag of about $1000. 

We did not have to go that route. 

About 16 States have an agreement with France that allows for a simple exchange of driver's licenses. No class. No test. No fees. We learned before we left that States that Washington is NOT one of those States, but Colorado is. Since the headquarters of our mission organization is located in Colorado, we were permitted to use their address to get Colorado DLs.

Once in France, one is permitted to drive with an American driver's license for about one year. After that, a French license is required. 

Yes, I know we have been here more than a year. We actually started this process a while ago, and have been driving with official "extensions" while we jumped through the hoops. One such hoop was having our US licenses officially translated into French. 

But on Friday we went to the prefecture in Tours, paperwork in hand, and stood in line. Once it was noted that all was in order, we had to give them our US driver's licenses. For keeps. It felt like we parted ways with some dear old treasures. An American wallet just doesn't seem complete without an American driver's license. We felt a small twinge as we surrendered yet one more piece of our American selves. 

The good news? A French diver's license is good for LIFE! No renewals for us. Ever. 

On all my French documents, my maiden name appears more prominently than my married name. Williamson is mentioned as an afterthought to Dennis. While I LOVE my married name, I like having this on-going reminder of my roots. It somehow makes me feel connected to a past that seems far away in both time and distance these days.

Funny thing: The woman who was typing out our French licenses was referring to our Cartes de Sejour for the information that she needed (name, address, birthday, etc.). When she was finished, she pointed out that on David's Carte de Sejour, they had misspelled his birthplace, and it reads "Washnington" instead of "Washington." We told her that she was indeed correct, they had made a mistake. She smiled a little smugly, seemingly proud of having found this little error. Then she handed David his new license. Notice anything?

1 comment:

  1. yeah.... yeah... yeah...
    I've got one like that in my wallet!
    This might have been the last papertrail until the renewal of your yearly stay....