Last time I wrote about my health insurance, was a quick line saying it would all happen automatically. I didn’t believe it at the time, but before Christmas I received a letter from RSI, the social security society that covers freelancers. The letter welcomed me to the insurance and contained my social security number!
All that was missing was a carte vitale, the French e-card. So last night, I sat down to get in touch with RSI and ask them about my carte vitale. Easy, there’s a contact form on their website, I thought. In fact there are at least 17 contact forms, but all of them require you enter your social security number. And not a single one of them accepted mine as a valid number. Mine is two digits too long. Leaving off the last two digits didn’t work. After some digging in their FAQ, I found out that leaving off the first two digits doesn’t work either. The number has some meaning encoded into it. The first digit is your Gender, the second your birth year, etc.
Reading the FAQ I also found out, that your birth département and commune is encoded into the social security number, and that people born outside of France have 99 instead of the Code of a département. My code has 00 instead. I don’t know if my number is wrong or against the rules or if they changed the rules but didn’t update the website code to reflect that. I’d write to them and let them know about this, but their contact form…you get the picture.
I gave up frustrated, only to find a letter by RSI in my mailbox this morning. Basically, everytime I give up and decide to wait it out, they make the next move. I’m not sure if that justifies my procrastination or does the opposite. The letter says I need to send in my birth certificate (translation and original) and passport.
I was going to get a multilingual birth certificate when I was in Vienna but then there were cookies and stuff and I completely forgot. So today, I asked my mum to get one for me, and she went out immediately to the registrar’s office. Like me, she didn’t understand the difference between Magistratische Bezirksamt and Standesamt. They are in the same building but have different opening hours and manage to hide that very well on the website. Needless to say, she wasn’t there in time.
I just reread the letter, and again got annoyed by the sentence “Married women need to provide their marriage certificate”. Sexist crap, men get married, too, and some even change their name. This time I read on. And underneath that sentence was a box that says that birth certificates in english, german, portuguese, italian, don’t have to be translated. I owe my mum a breakfast at her favourite café, I think.
There’s also a sentence that excerpts of the civil registry need to have an apostille and I’m not sure if that applies to my birth certificate. I’d also like to ask if I really am supposed to send them my original. My fear of French phone calls is so severe, I thought I’d just visit them in person. Turns out the letter is from Auray, which is on the Southwestern coast of the Bretagne. That is a little farther than I’m prepared to go to avoid a phone call.
While I was out there slaying dragons, I decided to give finding an accountant another try. I also wrote about this on the technology diary (in German) I mentioned here before. Short summary: Captcha doesn’t work, online form: doesn’t work, email: auto-reply dated to last November. I am now trying to get to terms with having to do my own taxes.
On a brighter note: the fête de la galette was nice. There was a lot of food from all over the world and I ate a lot of countries. My Russian colleague from the course had a surprise puppet show prepared, for the kids. They were quite impressed, too. We chatted a bit with my colleagues from Colombia and Portugal. We took a photo with my colleagues from Romania, Italy and Vietnam. We didn’t go out for a drink afterwards, though, because nobody had gone out in Palaiseau before or knew any place to go for a drink.
The Vietnamese salad with shrimps, carots and some part of the lotus flower was such a big success with my teacher, that today, during the course, she asked for the recipe. My colleague offered to bring some along, which I am always in favour of. This lead to suggestions for everyone to bring something in and present the food and recipe in French. I wonder if Mozartkugeln count.