February 21st - The day Heather became legal!!!
At one thirty, a comfortable 15 minutes early, I arrived at the massive neoclassical building of the Nantes' Prefecture. Waving my appointment conformation paper, I was directed a machine where I took a number - 47. In the familiar waiting room (this was my third time waiting in this particular room) I wondered why I was given a rendez-vous if I still had to take a number. A few minutes later the middle-aged, brightly lipsticked lady at the desk asked if anyone had a certain paper which she then held up. One look at the paper on my lap confirmed that I did. For the first time I was able to bi-pass the long lines and I relished those dirty looks with every fiber of my being (as I had given people the same look many times before). The desk she directed me to was staffed by a good-looking, thirty-something man with a freshly shaved head. Some weird spasm contorted his face when I walked up - was that a smile? I had never seen one of those in the Prefecture before. After handing in my documents he began to ask the lipsticked lady some questions. He was new! That was why he smiled, he was too new to be jaded! He verified my documents and handed me my EU ID card. I have never seen anything so ascetically perfect in my entire life, with its intricate pink and green design backing my picture and strong black lettering. At that moment I felt like laughing, but I restrained myself long enough to smile broadly, ask "C'est tout?," and respond to the handsome man's reserved tip-of-the-head with an entirely too ecstatic "COOL!" As I left, giggles started escaping my throat. They weren't even stopped by my graceless tumble down the stone steps. I must have looked the picture: laughing while laying sprawled on my back, half on the steps and half on the sidewalk, laughing as I struggled to get upright clutching my sprained thumb, and laughing as I narrowly avoided an incident with an irate Vespa driver. I was never so happy! I will NEVER have to stand in the Nantes prefecture again!