Friday, April 23, 2010

It's a Beautiful Friday

And if I could, I would stay in bed writing on my laptop all morning long.  I love the feeling that comes when your wip is practically writing itself and you just sit back and enjoy the ride.

But alas, I have to get my arse out of bed and study.  For the French driving exam. 

As most of you know, the French have free health care.  It’s a wonderful system.  If you work, you get a social security card with a chip in it.  You swipe it when you go to the dr’s office and the visit is recorded and sent to the SS office for reimbursement of your 25 euro co pay or however much you paid for x rays, or hospital services.  Pharmaceuticals are basically free or mostly covered with prescription and what isn’t is paid by your second health insurance that many jobs provide.  

And then there’s the Center of Family Allocations.  Without this system, I doubt I would have had three children.  Did I mention they pay you when you have a baby?  Yes.  You get a bonus.   You get another bonus every September when your children go to primary school.  Mother’s day is a huge deal and many families gather around the matriarch for the festivities.

All of the above comes at a price.  The health care and the family allocations, as well intended as they are, cost a lot of money and France’s government is in debt up to their eyeballs.

So how do they manage to stay afloat? 

Well, their process for obtaining a driver’s license is a start.

In order to be presented for the written exam, you have to join a driving school.  It costs three times as much as it does in the U.S.

Then you have to go to ‘class’ which is basically a room with a bunch of chairs and dvd player and you answer multiple choice questions with a remote control that records them.

These multiple choice questions are based on images that might or might not show you the answers.

There are often two questions within the same question, each with their own set of answers and if you get one part wrong, the whole thing is wrong.

It is designed so that you FAIL.  One third of people fail their written exams the first time around.   Then they have to pay AGAIN to spend another eight months studying.

Same goes for the driving exam.  You fail, you wait, you pay,etc….
All of this makes the French government quite a bit of cash.

And then once you manage to get through their system, they unleash you into the jungle that is ‘french drivers’.  
You WILL have an accident.   If they can prove it’s your fault-
You go back to driving school.
Getting the picture?  Sorry to rant and rave, but I swear, this is the only thing that bugs me about living in France.  For now.  It has a tendency to change on some days.


Talli Roland said...

Oh, geez! That really sucks - good luck jumping through the hoops.

It's a gorgeous day here in London, too. I'm headed out to the park to bunk off my computer work for a bit!

Bish Denham said...

GAK! It seems that gov'ments no matter what the size or shape have their good and bad quirks.

Unknown said...

Geesh, that sounds like a lot of trouble. All we have to do in Australia is book in for a test and be there on the day (some states even use computers so you get the pass/fail immediately).

I like the accident policy though... there's pretty much an accident a day on the roads I travel to work and uni, so perhaps teaching people how to drive better wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Vicki Rocho said...

What an ordeal! I'm going to have to share this with my oldest daughter who just got her permit. It took her a couple tries to pass the test because she was over-thinking the answers.

I never had a desire to drive, and only got my license when we moved back to Iowa and I HAD to drive to get anything done. i'm glad I didn't have to tackle the French system!


Laura Pauling said...

Wow! So I guess the US isn't the only country to struggle with health care! :)

Candyland said...

Geez. Good luck with the exam though!

Unknown said...

Wow how absolutely crazy!! Way to go for getting up and starting the process, that really stinks. I would love health care to be free, but to have to go through the driving tests and school more than once count me out!

JE said...

Yikes! That does sound pretty bad. I always wondered how countries with free health care managed to cover the cost. It seems we found out one of the answers.


Slamdunk said...

Wow, best wishes with the exam.

Stina said...

Wow, I knew none of that. Good luck on the exam! Here's some chocolate kisses to get you through it. XOXOX

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I had no idea you lived in France. LUCKY! (Hope you pass your exam without going broke lol)

Jaydee Morgan said...

Good luck with your exam!!

And I'm glad to hear your manuscript is practically writing itself. I so love when that happens :)

Sherrie Petersen said...

Ah, but you're living in France. It's a small trade-off, no?

Diane J. said...

Okay, I'll stop griping about driver's ed. I wasn't happy with the $350 (and that was the bargain price in our area) I had to shell out for dear son, THANK YOU Lord for letting him pass!

Susan Fields said...

Good luck on your exam! Not to brag, but I do get to spend the day with my wip - and I'm loving it! Of course, you get to live in France, so I'm pretty jealous about that.

Diane J. said...

I forgot to tell you, I'm enjoying your blog.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Talli-Yes! We spent some quality time in the garden. Beautiful

Bish- If I had to pick, I'd pick France. They have their quirks but I admit the citizens are spoiled rotten

Cheree-You have no idea how bad people drive here. It's insane. I tell my hubby you gotta be psychic because its impossible to anticipate what people are going to do.

MissV- Thank you!

Laura- I think financing the health care is their biggest problem. the system itself is pretty awesome.

Jen- Thanks!Yes, living here is worth it.

Justine- Now you know!lol.

Slamdunk- Thank you!

Stina- Thanks for the chocolate kisses:)

JM- Thanks! Yes,my wip is hard to stay away from at the moment

Diane- Glad your son passed! Thanks for visiting me here:)

Sherrie- I supposed. I love france, I really do but this one thing completely busts my 'couilles'

Susan- Lucky you! lol.

Laura S. said...

Good luck!!! I'm sending legions of positive thoughts your way so you PASS your first time!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Thanks Laura!

Lindsay said...

It works this way in the UK too. We have a theory test (with the computers) and then the practical on a different day if you pass the theory.
Good luck.

mi said...

good luck with that.
i had heard how difficult it was to obtain a license in france (even to the point of the instructor yelling at random times to test your abilities), which is why i only took public transport the short amount of time i lived there.

Mel Chesley said...

Holy cow...good luck with that!

T.J. Carson said...

HA when you first said French Driving Exam I was like WTF??? Speaking french and driving? Reading french and driving? Eating french fries and driving? YEEEEEAH I had a blonde moment there. Ha but now that that is all cleared up! You almost had me hooked with that AMAZING health care system but the drivers ed totally killed it for me. GOOD LUCK! Let us know how you do please!!!!!! I'm rooting for you to pass it the first time around!

India Drummond said...

Best of luck on the exam!

Shannon said...

This is really interesting. I love learning about how other governments do things.

Best of luck with your exam!

MBW aka Olleymae said...

that's hilarious. As I was reading about the healthcare I kept thinking, but how do they pay for it all??? Make perfect sense now.

So does France have a lot of non-drivers???

I would be too scared t take the test :(

Covnitkepr1 said...

Very interesting...Centurys ago I lived in France as a kid, but didn't know this,
I’ve enjoyed looking over your blog. I came across it through another blog I follow. I am now a follower of yours as well. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become one as well


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