Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays!

So Christmas came and went and, as usual, it was lots of fun. Until the new year, it's still the holiday season so I'm in holiday season mode. Highlights of this week:
  • After our family Christmas dinner, we usually open Christmas gifts. My cousin's 8-year old son, Elijah, had saved up all his change to buy presents for his grandparents and his aunt and uncles. One present the little guy bought was a marker for his uncle, one of my other cousins. We later joked that the money must have run out when he bought that particular gift. Anyways, when my cousin opened the gift and proclaimed,
    "Oh, a marker! Thanks Lijah. "
    Elijah excitedly came over and said, "It's a special marker. See!" and he pulled off the cover of the marker to reveal a white tip. Too cute!
  • Christmas dinner was great! My mother's cake is also very good this year. Now looking forward to today's and New Year's dinner with just our family!
  • In preparation for France (just under 4 weeks left!), I bought a laptop for 699.99 from Best Buy's online Boxing Day sale - HP DV2618CA AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core TL-58 1.8GHz Laptop, 250GB HD, 2GB RAM, 559MB video memory, Vista Home Premium, remote, headset AND it is bilingual so it's not bad. I was trying to get a Toshiba similar to it for $499.99 or a similar Sony for $599.99 from Future Shop's online Boxing Day sale but Future Shop's servers crashed for the first 3 hours of their online Boxing day sale and I didn't want to waste more time when I could be with family.
  • Shanae is making strides with sitting up. She's started making like she's going to sit up but only gets 1/3 of the way up. Very cute.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Good Times

This was a good week. The highlight was me getting the French visa! While waiting for my turn to speak with the agents, I was getting increasingly worried. This was because, of the 3 people in front of me, two were told they had to come back owing to something being wrong with their applications and one of them was from Ottawa.

I love how when I told my parents that I got the visa, my father warned me to try not to get roped into being a sex slave or normal slave. LOL.

Oh, my office Christmas party was yesterday - was planning to leave early but ended up staying til the end and then going to the lounge/club afterwards with people. Got home a little after midnight because had work today but hooray for taxi chits :) Fun night.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Today Shanae was sleeping when I got home around 8pm but woke up at 10pm all ready to face the world and greet the workers in the family who all came home at different points during her nap. She was responding to us, cooing, laughing and smiling and just making our nights one hundred times better by being so happy. Great way to end the night. I love love LOVE babies.

However, although I love her to death, I'm glad she wasn't in one of her miserable moods tonight. Man, when she's ready to cry she just wails on and on and is only appeased after you've spent some time walking back and forth the kitchen/living room singing to her to calm her down. I am so proud because I think that around 75% of the time I can now tell when she's hungry versus when she's crying about something else. Whenever she's hungry and crying, no make that wailing, it's always a mad rush to prepare her feeding. Some combination of two of us would be trying everything to get her milk ready as soon as possible so that we can ease her hunger pangs. Lately each time this happens I get very thankful, because if we get so stressed when she is crying and we KNOW that the food is forthcoming, imagine how all those women around the world who can't feed their kids feel. I can't even begin to wonder what that must be like, to hear your baby crying and know that you have no milk to give because you yourself haven't eaten much in days...

So I am thankful (to God) to have always had food and never been left wanting.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I've been a bit stressed this past week and will probably be for the next few days while trying to prepare my application for a one year Working Holiday French visa. The French are so doggone picky with what they want to be submitted with the visa application and they make it so hard to clarify anything. I can only contact them by email because they do not answer questions by phone. However, emails only get answered after 3 business days! I have an appointment at the embassy this Tuesday and, besides worrying about my french language skills, I'm worried that I won't have everything in order. I've read lots of other people's bad experiences having to go to the consulate more than once for minor things caused by filling out the application incorrectly or not having proper documentation, most of which were due to misunderstanding the questions/requirements stated on the application. I only want to go to the consulate once. I cannot afford to miss more time off work especially as I'ma need lots of dough to live in a country where the Euro is used. It is possible to submit the application by mail but that takes weeks to process, whereas in person, if accepted, I'd get the visa the same day.

My appointment is in 5 days but I haven't even filled out the long-term visa application properly yet. One question asks if I intend to work in France and another asks if I plan to study in France. I plan to do both of those things but apparently people online have reported that if you check work they'll assume you need a work visa and if you check study, they'll think you need a student visa. Although with the working holiday you're allowed to do training/studying and, as the name implies, work. Why they gotta make it so confusing? In addition, the French want me to give them names, citizenship, addresses and contact info of all family members AND acquaintances in France. I can understand family, but acquaintances?! Imagine if I were a guy asking my female acquaintances in France for those details. They'd think I was a stalker. I just hope I can get responses from two of my closest relatives in France (at least one of whom I've never met) in time for my appointment, or else there goes one lie.

Yes, I know that I should not have procrastinated but I've long come to accept the fact that Procrastination and I are joined at the hip. If only the world would just recognize that I deserve special treatment because of this disability. But I digress...

Truth be told, my original appointment was for last Tuesday but I postponed it because I was having difficulty finding travel insurance and personal liability insurance, one of the requirements stipulated by the French consulate. I had to buy travel insurance for a year although I plan to stay there for only 4 months because that's what they require. I don't really mind that because knowing me if I find a great job I'd stay there. Also, I've been hearing that the French consulate officers have been refusing those who say they're going to stay less than 6 months so I'ma tell them I'll be staying for a year. As for personal liability, no Canadian company seems to offer it so I'll be submitting an affidavit saying I'll get it when I arrive. This, despite the fact that I'm not even 100% sure what it is exactly.

I can't postpone my appointment any more because I would like to leave Canada sometime between Jan. 13 and 22, that's just a little over a month from now!

I would love to have everything in order before I go to France. I'd like to have my ticket in hand at least one month before I leave. I'd like to have paid my rent downpayment on an apartment, hopefully shared with young native Frenchies in a decent Parisian neighbourhood near my school. I'd like to know that I have travel insurance AND this unknown personal liability insurance paid before I leave Canada. Instead of not even knowing which language school I'll be attending, I'd like to have paid my language school fees. I would, of course, even prefer to have found some sort of job before leaving Canada. However, at the rate I'm going, I'll be lucky if I step foot out of Toronto by getting chosen as one of the recipients of the working holiday visa for France.