I went to the consulate last week. I thought it would be a huge red tape nightmare. Fifteen minutes later the nice lady said to me, "Your passport should arrive in three to four weeks."
She also gave me a picture I.D. which says on the back, "The holder of this card is under French authorities protection." Not sure what that really means. I was reminded to vote in next year's election. I did read in Vogue (American) about one of the candidates who is running. I have to do more research on her.
I was shocked things went so smoothly. The consulate told me it was because my parents already did all the paperwork. Had they not registered our births with the New York Embassy, applied for the "Livret de Famille" (the family book), it would have been very difficult for me to obtain my French citizenship. I would have to track down and fill out a ton of paperwork (mine and my parents) and be interviewed. I had the stamped copy of my French birth certificate therefore I didn't have to prove anything.
I do prefer the French (and correct) pronunciation of my name. Growing up I did not like having a name from the 50s. The only other Arlenes I heard of as a child were, Arlene Francis and 40 something Jewish women from Syosset or Great Neck, Long Island. I was supposed to be named Jacqueline but my mom changed her mind. She didn't like the name Jackie and eveyone was naming their daughters after Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. I guess Jackie was the Britney of the mid to late 60s. I understand, but why not Stacey, Melissa or something? Plus my middle name is Antoinette. Hello, did she not have her head sliced off? I know some of these really old school name are coming back, Grace, Hazel, Ella, but I don't expect to see Arlene on those lists anytime soon.
I have no idea why my parents dropped the accent. It's on all my French documents. It's funny all my Italian friends and teachers pronouce it the French way as well. It's too late now. People will think I'm weird if I insist they start calling me Arlène (Arlen or as the Italian say, Arrrlen) instead of Arlene (Arlean). I do have one or two friends who call me Arlen but more as a joke.
Anyway, I am very excited about getting my EU citizenship. If I had savings and way to make a living, I would be on the next flight to Rome. In the meantime I am looking foward to next year. I will finish my novel and work wise we have a few interesting projects coming out. Hopefully I will get a little raise. Having paid off all debt this year, I cannot wait to live below my means for a change.
I know I said only a couple days ago I would stay in this dumpy ass apartment and deal with my insane landlord for a while since my rent is stablished. That might be unhealthy. I spend 48 weeks a year here, I should have home, not just a place I sleep. I think 2007 will be my last year here. I do want to save money but I can't be sad every time I walk into my apartment.