Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ah, the romance...

Ah, Paris. The most romantic city in the world. The place where young couples in love dream of going just so they can stand on the plaza in front of the Eiffel Tower and kiss in the rain. Just like in that movie. And that other movie.

So when our first Valentine's day as a married couple found us in Paris, you would expect that the day would be triply or quadruply romantic. You know, first big romantic holiday, big romantic city, big romantic radio antenna, gazillions of patisseries and chocolate shops and flower shops on every corner... Oh baby, we had struck the V-day jackpot. How could we ever top this in Valentine's days to come?

Pretty easily, as it turns out.

Back up a few months.

My DH is, for reasons which are beyond me, a political science major. (No offense to any other PoliSci majors out there. I just don't understand the appeal.) As with English majors, upon finding out that you're studying political science, the first question everyone asks is, "What are you going to do with that?" Shallow Man wants to go the State Department route so he can live overseas for the rest of his life. (He loves his country and wants to work for it, but apparently living here bores him to death.) So, in September 2004 he decided to apply for a summer internship with the State Department, to see what he thought and maybe get his foot in the door.

During the application process, they informed him that if he was accepted, they would notify him in November or December, and if he was not accepted he would find out in December or January.

In January we left for Paris for a three-month Study Abroad program. By that time we had still not heard anything back from the S.D., so we figured it was probably a no. On January 31st, when we still hadn't heard anything, including a refusal, Shallow Man emailed to see what was up, just to make sure.

Still no reply. Then, after coming back from group trip to Geneva on February 6, I got an email from my parents. We had forwarded all our mail to their house while we were out of the country. My mom said that they had gotten a letter from the State Department three days before (while we had been in Geneva so she couldn't contact us) saying Congratulations, you've been selected for an internship this summer in Chile, hooray! There were a bunch of forms that needed to be filled out and returned to DC by Feb. 16th. That's returned; not postmarked. Mom had sent the letter and forms to us via Priority mail, marked URGENT.

Fast forward to Valentine's day. Two days until the forms have to arrive at DC. The letter and forms still has not arrived at our place in Paris. Shallow Man had downloaded most of the forms online and started filling them out so we could FedEx overnight them (Paris to DC, pricy...). But he still needed to get fingerprinted.

That meant that he spent all day on Valentines day in a last-minute effort to get this job done, standing in line at various places around Paris to get the forms, the prints, etc. He was bounced around several times between the Paris police, the American Embassy, the American Consulate, and then running back to the Institute building where we had classes to take our History of Religion Midterm. (My Valentine's day wasn't much better. I spent it taking notes in Political Science classes and then taking a midterm. Ew.)

So by the time we finally met up and could acknowledge each others' presence, he was absolutely exhausted. I had a cold starting (which ended up settling in as full-blown flu five days later on the Chunnel on our way to spend a weekend in London with Kat, but that's another story for another time), so I was pretty tired as well.

All we really had energy for was a quick dinner and a metro ride back to our apartment so we could crash. The nearest food to hand was that American Institution so dear to my southern husband's heart.

Oh yes, you guessed it. KFC, baby.

A Valentine's Day in Paris and we got KFC.

What does that say about our relationship? I hope it doesn't mean that we're doomed or hopelessly unromantic or anything like that. I kind of like my husband, if truth be told...

Oh, well. At least it won't be a challenge to top every year. This year he gave me flowers and enough chocolate to feed a small army. ("Because chocolate is better than chicken," he says. Gosh darn it, that guy is cute.)

I can't wait to see what happens for V-day next year...

(Oh, and yes, he did get the forms in on time. Two days after we overnighted them the letter arrived from my parents. Three days after that he got an email from the State Department saying that they had extended the deadline till the end of the month. Prompt notification as always! What gets me is that if they had notified us when they were supposed to to begin with, the V-day catastrophe would not have happened... It turned out to be typical of State's treatment of us. But again, that is another story to be told another time.)


Not Too Pensive said...

For the record...

While State's Washington, D.C. offices didn't treat us well at all, the embassy staff was AMAZING. You can't just put them all in one category, but you certainly can't trust the jerks in State's D.C. recruiting office, either.

Daring Young Dad said...

I hate it when the universe conspires against me. Or the state department.

But now that it's "later", it makes for a good story to tell, at least. :)