I’ve now completed the biggest hurdle of my pre-Paris preparations, the visit to the Consulate. The French require that all visas be applied for in person, and so, I travelled to Atlanta to submit my application.

I scheduled my meeting for 11:30 in the morning, and I flew into Atlanta bright and early that morning. The consulate itself is located conveniently sandwiched between the Lenox Road MARTA station and the most posh shopping mall I’ve ever visited. In fact, the hardest part of getting there was finding the correct elevator, of which there were three, and each of which apparently stopped on different floors. I was a little early so I went to the starbucks in the mall and tried on a couple pairs of shoes while I waited. I finally made my way to my appointment; arriving 45 minutes ahead of my scheduled time. There was no one else in the office when i arrived, so the man at the front window waved me through another door, where I found myself standing in a small room with another window, and another man sitting behind it.

After weeks of worrying about my paperwork, a day of travelling to and through atlanta, and well over $200 in various processing fees, the meeting itself was disappointingly anticlimatic. It could best be described as doing a transaction through the drive-thru window at the bank; I approached the window, I stuck my paperwork through, the fellow highlighted and stamped and scribbled along the margins for a minute, made some smalltalk, took my fingerprints, and 10 minutes later I was out the door. Now all there is to do is wait and hope my passport makes it back in time with a new sticker in it.

Most of the trip following the meeting was uneventful and was mostly spent searching for food and browsing second-hand clothing stores in Little Five Points.its a quirky little place, and I’m glad I managed to wander there. I’ve honestly no idea how I found it, as I didn’t have a map or internet access for most of my trip; but I knew I wanted to get there and I did. I attribute it all to my obviously superior navigational skills.

I’ve got 3 weeks of work left, and 4.5 weeks until i fly out. I feel reasonably calm about it all, as there really isn’t much else I can do to prepare. I do have a touch of what feels like “senioritis” in regards to work though…as much as I love my job and the people there, I also can’t wait to be free of it (and my 5am wakeup time) to begin the next chapter of life. Liam is riding down the first week to visit and explore Paris with me (and celebrate my birthday), so I won’t be too lonely or alone. The hardest part of moving to Poland was that first week or so when I had literally no idea where anything was or how to buy groceries or find things I needed, and its a relief to know that this time I’ll have the added confidence of someone else beside me to help me get settled in and figure out what I need.

Sitting and waiting….