Friday, September 26, 2008

The Details, Part 2: The Timeline

September of 2007

Rebecca applies to the UIUC teaching exchange program

Thanksgiving 2007

Rebecca is accepted by the UIUC teaching exchange program.

January 15, 2008

Rebecca is asked by Poitiers' English Dept (PED) to send them an application, too.

late January 2008

Jeff looks into visas, learns that we must wait to apply until 2 months before we intend to leave.

February 1, 2008

Rebecca's application is accepted by the PED.

June 30, 2008

Rebecca contacts the PED to ask about her work agreement from the french labor department (ANAEM). The Chicago Consulate's website says this will be required for approval.

July 3, 2008

The PED sends Rebecca's contract, suggesting that it will be sufficient in lieu of the ANAEM agreement.

July 10-17, 2008

We complete the applications as detailed on the webpage of the Chicago consulate. This is one week of frantic copying, translating, and notarizing. Jeff's application totals some 100 pages of documents.

July 18, 2008

First appointment at the Chicago consulate--we are denied visas on the basis of not having an agreement from the ANAEM. The contract, Madame du Consulat explains, is insufficient.

July 21, 2008

After emailing the PED to give them our unhappy news, we are contacted for the first time by "Monsieur A" in the Human Resources department. Monsieur A informs us that he has just submitted the request for the ANAEM agreement. We are told that it is a "long, disagreeable, and complex process".

late July, 2008
The ANAEM application goes to the Paris Sud office instead of the newly opened, but apparently poorly publicized, Poitiers branch, where it is promptly lost.

August of 2008

All of France goes on vacation. We lose contact with Monsieur A and the PED.

August 31, 2008

We spend Rebecca's birthday on hold with an Evil Online Booking Agency, trying to change our date of departure.

September 4, 2008

Original date of departure to France

September 5, 2008

We reestablish contact with Monsieur A and the PED. They are surprised to hear that we don't have visas, but reassure us that everything will work out eventually ("On y arrivera..." meaning "We will get there...").

September 12, 2008

We spend 4.5 hours on the phone with Evil Online Booking Agency (EOBA) trying to change our tickets again. They made us hang up after making the change to the first reservation before we could make the second change. After becoming delirious during the 4 hours on the phone, Jeff neglects to mention that the new tickets should be sent to the same address as the last tickets, not the old address in Illinois.

September 15, 2008

Second date of departure

September 16, 2008

After several more emails from us, Monsieur A assures us that he has contacted both the ANAEM and the Chicago consulate, and that everything has been worked out.

September 17, 2008

Jeff calls EOBA to inquire after Rebecca's new airline tickets and to request that his new tickets be re-sent to the correct address. After putting him on hold for an hour, the Lovely Customer Service Lady explains that while Jeff's new tickets are paper tickets, Rebecca's are e-tickets...because it's much less confusing that way (?). Jeff wonders how many more times he will have to supply EOBA with his new address before they get it right. Lovely Customer Service Lady responds dryly, "Well, how many more times are you planning to change your flight?"

September 18, 2008

Unbeknownst to us, the ANAEM agreement is sent to the Boston consulate by mistake.

September 19, 2008

Second appointment at the Chicago consulate--we are again denied because they have received no ANAEM agreement. Madame du Consulat suggests that maybe it was sent to Boston by mistake, but she isn't sure. We have no idea how she knows this, and Madame du Consulat is unable to give us any more information. She suggests we call the ANAEM office in Poitiers and ask them to fax the agreement directly to Chicago.

September 22, 2008

Due to the time difference the ANAEM office is open from 2am-9:30am CDT. We make several attempts to call the ANAEM branch in Poitiers, but without knowing the proper information to locate the file, are unable to make it past reception. It doesn't help that we call within an hour of closing one wants to talk to us.

September 23, 2008

We return to Madame du Consulat, without appointments, and though she has still not received the proper documents from the ANAEM, she approves our visas. We are told that some mysterious exception has been made, (maybe because classes are about to begin?).

September 25, 2008

First day of classes at Poitiers

October 3, 2008

Current date of departure


Josh said...

So I guess what I learned from this is to get and send copies of everything to everyone, then hope and pray they dont decide a vacation is in order :)

jefe said...

It helps to have a cute girlfriend.

La Niortaise said...

Oh THAT gives me hope! My papiers apparently left Poitiers ANAEM on September 3rd and still haven't made it to Sydney consulate. I'll be calling them on Monday, demanding they fax the papers through if it hasn't already arrived. I won't be leaving Australia very soon by the way it's going!