Thursday, September 20, 2007

I miss France

I never thought I’d ever hear myself say this but I miss France!

Everything almost seems easy in France compared to England! Yes, yes, I can hear all you French expats muttering that I’ve been drinking too many cups of tea without milk over here but let me give you one example that probably says it all for me.

Part of all this chagrin is me keeping my maiden name and not officially changing my surname to Hubs’ surname the very second I got married. I don’t have anything against changing my surname; I’m just too lazy to do all the paperwork.

In France, when I first arrived, the Hubs had a job but I didn’t. We went to the bank and wanted to open a joint account. The French bank lady said that she couldn’t put my maiden name on the joint account as I was married. It HAD to be Hubs’ surname. This was obviously a problem for me as all my ID has my maiden name on it.

French bank lady even told me that I should change my name immediately! She even got quite huffy about the whole situation. In the end, she compromised, and my surname on our joint account was “maidenname-marriedname”. I just got hyphenated but we had our joint account in less than 30 minutes.

Across La Manche, same situation. Hubs is employed, I’m not (I've been here 1 week!), and I still have my maiden name. So off we went to the bank.

English bank man says that firstly, I can’t have my maiden name on the joint account, it has to be my married name. And secondly, I don’t have a job so I can’t even put my first name on that joint account. In other words, no income, no account!

Hubs on the other hand, can open an account because he has a job. So Hubs explains that we’re married so his income is my income. English bank man says: no job, no name on account.

Then English bank man says that I really should change my maiden name to my married name. What the heck!

Oh, and then the English bank man tells us that when we come back in to open the joint account, we should allow at least 45 minutes per person. That’s 1.5 hours to open 1 bank account.

So anyone who’s tired of living in France because of all the red tape blah blah blah, don’t even think about moving across La Manche! The people are still talking a whole other language here!


Dumdad said...

It's a pity we can't combine the best of England and France.

I love the supermarkets in the UK; they suck here.

But France has wonderful open-aired markets.

In general, people are friendlier in England yet there is more violence there.

I love going back to my own country but I do find it SO expensive.

Anyway, good luck in your new adventure.

dongurigal said...

I'm just rolling my eyes on your behalf. There's got be a law somewhere--a piece of paper that you can wave in front of bank managers the world over that says you can keep your maiden name and even put it on a joint account. For crying out loud! (I've had issues in France, but they were finally reasonable. Must say, I'm very surprised with England.)

And I'm lazy too--people can call me by my husband's surname if they want, but the paperwork stays in my name. It's such a hassle to change.

A belated response to your question about the tea pot--yes, it made it, crack free.

J.T. said...

Oh! I had that fuss about changing name when I came to States too. I miss Malaysia for that. No one makes you change your maiden name to married name.

Since I had to do lots of immigration papers and what-not, I had no choice but have my name recorded with my married name. So, all businesses I deal with in the States have my married name. The minute I fly off and return to Malaysia, I am known with my maiden name. :)

ciara said...

what the heck is up w all these banks? i have an account of my own, i have no job, but it has my old married name on it. can't use my current one unless i bring in the marriage cert. it's been 3 yrs and i STILL haven't changed it lol but i wish you could see my driver's says ciara maria blah blah blah. yep...5 names. my first, middle, maiden, and my two married names hypenated. ppl think i'm crazy, but hey...i want the last name of my kids. my oldest has my maiden name and my other two have my x husband's last name. so there ya go....if my life was difficult enough, eh? lol

anigma said...

And yet, they colonized the world. I think they must be wondering what happened after each and every country got liberated till today. Hahahahha!!! No such thing in Malaysia - you can keep your maiden name at all times.

cirnelle said...

What happens if you're say, Muslim and your last name says bin Abdullah, essentially meaning daughter of Abdullah for instance. Are you supposed to change your father's name to your husband's?

Hmmm.... that explain how the niece of bin Laden is also a bin Laden.

So, technically, if you choose to open a bank account with your common law husband, a minor legally under your care or your cousin from your mother's side, or even your own mother(!!), you can't? Preposterous!

cirnelle said...

binti, not bin.... sorry.

Anonymous said...

ah merde I'm planning to keep my last name....

Froggy Woogie said...

And I was convinced French bureaucraty was a hell compared to the UK!

Wendz said...

Aah don't tell me about missing France...I YEARN for it and cannot wait for next week....I am going back for a week to see my boys....I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas.

England has a lot of good stuff going for it but I just adore France!

Bee Ean said...

Wow, I would never expected this. I don't know how what you need to do to change your name. Right now for every paperwork I just put my married name, it's easier that way. Do you mean you have to change the last name in your passport?

Alvin said...

ppl have been telling me that france and spain are very nice place to go n live in. mm...but nobody told me bout london being a good place to live in.

now i know why....

mst be because of the sirens. hahaha.

still trying to adapt to life in uk. :)

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

HOLY SHIT!! That seems like a ROYAL PAIN in the arse!!!

Good luck, Fi!!!

Ciao, Leesa

Astrid said...

Well, we had (and have) a joint account here with in france before we got married with both our surnames. Now we're married and like you haven't changed it yet but surely it shouldn't be a problem to keep our maiden names! There's no law saying we NEED to change it! Is there?

ColourMeCrazy said...

Dumdad: Yep – the UK is incredibly expensive! When are they going to dump the £ and adopt the Euro like everyone else??

Dongurigal: I’m with you! Call me what you like but the paperwork stays with my name on it! Funny enough as well, I found France reasonable but same here, I expected more from England!

JT: Sounds complicated! You basically have 2 identities depending on which country you’re in! I’d be confused! Hehe.

Ciara: 5 names!! I’m having trouble managing my 2 surnames!! Hehe.

Anigma: I never had any problems keeping my maiden name in Australia either! England’s still living in the dark ages!

Cirnelle: Hehe – now you’re really starting to make things complicated! Hmmm…wonder how it’s done though!

DestinationMetz: I’m still hanging on to mine. I didn’t have to officially change my maiden name to my married name in France, France just changed it for me! But on my CarteDS, it’s got both which is great.

FroggyWoogie: So was I. But at this point in time, France seems like paradise compared to the UK.

Wendz: Same here – I only have good memories of France right now but my husband says that I have a selective memory! Enjoy your trip there!

Bee: In France I didn’t have to officially change my name. Everyone just used my married name except for my work. My passport still has my maiden name. My French CarteDS and driving license has both maiden name and married name which is great.

Alvin: Me too. I’m still struggling with trying to adapt to the UK. How are you enjoying it?

Islandgirl: It doesn’t just “seem” like a royal pain in the arse, it “is” a royal pain in the arse!! ;-)

Astrid: Nope, there’s no law except the one that seems to be engraved in the brains of bank employees over here!

Frankensteina said...

My parents in law had the same problem when they moved to UK. Now they are registered as 'domestic partners' whoatever that means hehehe

Susan and Simon said...

Strangely enough we had exactly the opposite problem. In the UK, joint account, no problem even though neither of us was working. Wife uses her maiden name (although come to think of it we weren't married at the time, so that's all she had)

Get to France, can't open a bank account in both names because I can't prove my UK income (self employed) so bank account is in wife's name. Should have seen the look on the banker's face when I pulled out the deposit for our new house in cash..........

ColourMeCrazy said...

Frankensteina: "Domestic partners" sounds really weird!

SusanandSimon: Thanks for dropping by. Sounds like you have exactly the opposite problem to us. We had no trouble opening a bank account in France even though we didn't have jobs when we moved. But over here, the banks won't let us open one when we weren't employed! Maybe it's the banks that we're going to!