Well, they DID warn you, before you came to France, that the bureaucracy would be a nightmare. You thought they were just comptes de fée, but it turns out they’re all true. Slaying all the demons and finding all the magic keys you need to get what you want to get done done can leave you with both sore muscles and damaged pride.
I write with tales of experience from both myself and fellow Erasmus students.
Our first tale is of the Erasmus student who wanted to exercise. Moving to France means moving into closer proximity to more boulangeries than you can shake an enchanted baguette at, and to counteract the mille feuilles and pain au chocolat aux amandes, a gym membership might be necessary. But, hark! what is that on the horizon? Our brave Erasmus hero steels hisself- it’s the demon of bureaucratie.
“Kraaak!” (this is the noise the bureaucracy monster makes. Work with me here.) “La Fac are cheap bastards and don’t have insurance for you- you must travel to the lands of les médecins and prove your health to gain the magical fiche which will let you play basketball here!”
Well, that’s not so bad. Just another piece of paper to add to my magical inventory.
“And it will cost you 25€!!”
What?? Do you have ANY IDEA how many éclairs I could buy for that? I’m out.
Erasmus student throws down his sword and goes to sulk in a pâtisserie.
Our second tale comes from a brave Erasmus student who just wanted to sneak into an Initiation Spanish class. The brave student, and her magical companions, go to the cave of the Kind Spaniard who would teach them Espagnol. They wait.
Outside, the moon rises and sets, wolves howl and an ogre guzzles down another plateful of escargots. They wait.
Inside, a kindly estonian shepherd, also waiting outside the cave of the Kind Spaniard, goes to look for guidance from the wise wizard of the Bureau des Langues Etrangères Appliquées. They wait.
The shepherd returns- LEA classes don’t start until next week.
The brave Erasmus students stride away, swords trailing, feeling not exactly defeated but still a little disappointed. They didn’t even see any trolls.
Come next week, the brave students return to the Cave of the Kindly Spaniard, only to find that the cave is already full of other warriors who had gone to the mystical Gigue portal to enrol, instead of just showing up and waving their swords around. In the distance, they hear the cackling “Kraaak!” of the bureaucratie demon.
Our third, and final tale, is of a brave student who has just returned from a quest which has taken her to a far and distant land to swim in the waters of an ancient waterfall and gain the shining golden skin of an Italian. Alas! Our courageous warrior has misplaced the sacred Clé d’entrée, the key which gives her access to her humble lodgings. Not to worry, she travels to the land of the secretaries, who assure her that, yes, since she still holds the Tag of Numbers, the locks on her lodging doors will not have to be changed, and she will simply have to buy (“Kraaaak!”) a new Clée d’entrée.
But the moon rises and the moon sets, and the warrior returned to her lodgings to find that the lock had, indeed, been changed. Distraught and distressed, holding her now useless new Clé d’entrée, she battles back to the land of the secretaries, who tell her, that, yes, the demon of bureaucratie has changed her locks anyway, but, yes, they can let her back into her room. But the new Clée d’entrée, the one that works in her new locks to her lodgings, has, itself, been misplaced. The warrior must, therefore, take a vow of staying in her room lest all her things get nicked while she leaves it unlocked.
Take heed, my friends! Be prepard to make tireless battle with the demon of bureaucratie, and do not fear its terrible “Kraaak!”