January 26, 2007 6:59:53 PM CET
I am a South African living in Paris. I came in 2000.
Regarding a carte de sejour, getting married does help i.e. you will not have to wait as many years. As Alex said there are hours and hours of queing. Also you will very likely not a permanent carte de sejours the first time round. You may only get it after 2 or 3 years, it depends on the day. I will only get a permanent carte de sejour this year. I have 6 temporary ones. So if not married in order to qualify you need a job first. So the process is this, you find a job. You then apply for a carte de sejours. The first time around takes about 4 months. In this time you can't work. Once you have the work permit you can then start. You are advised to get an attorney who will assist with the administration. However, getting a job in the south could be a problem.
There are very few jobs in the south and the fact that you don't speak french will make the problem worse.
Many french have their homes in the south but work in Paris and go home for the weekends. My boyfriend, who is french, moved to Aix-en-Province 3 years ago, never got a job so came back to Paris.
Regarding the change, it is enormous. The culture shock is really really a shock. Being first world does nothing to prepare one for the change. One goes through many ups and downs. There is the change in culture as well as the change of living with someone of a different culture.
I came to france for a frenchman, well it was very very hard. I very much agree with what Alex says, one looses ones own identity because your country, your job, your friends, your home, all of these things go into giving you an identity and you loose these all at once. You really go into shock.
Too your friends and family don't understand your pain. They all think you are living this wonderful exotic life in a magnificent country. They tend not to realise that there are times you are in a lot of pain missing them all. You will also find that even amongst your closest friends, some will keep so sort of contact, others none at all. They will expect you to keep the relationship going and then will slowly fade off the scene.
I am sure that all the above sounds negative, but I am actually watering the pain down of leaving your own country, even for a man you are in love with. Your roots will always be your roots, even when totally entrenched in another culture.
That is all for this day. If you have other questions I will try to answer them.