It has been a few days, and I am still expecting to wake up and realise that this latest development has only been a dream. Surely this is a trick that our minds are playing on us, it cannot possibly be over this suddenly, this completely, this irreversibly. And this successfully.

We have received our car registration. We can now legally drive the car that we bought four and a half months ago and received three and a half months ago. During all that time, and right until the very end, we encountered unimaginable obstacles on the path to registering the car and we could never even be sure that in the end, all would be fine. It was this uncertainty that was the most difficult to endure.

The last hurdle had been to pay the necessary fees. The government website had given us an amount to pay but was unclear about how to do this. Conflicting information, ambiguous website design, the ominous warning that the whole procedure would be scrapped automatically if we so much as responded to a message they had sent us, my online requests for help that we never received a reply to, and a phone number that led to hopelessly inadequate recorded messages instead of a real person (if by now you feel like killing yourself touch 9), all this contributed to the enduring feeling that we were inextrically caught up in a web of bureaucratic glue, designed by some sublimely evil entity with a very, very dubious sense of humour.

And then… we went to the nearest sous-préfecture, to enlist the help of someone whose task consists of guiding those last remaining poor souls who do not have a computer and would not now how to use one tackle the intricacies of online applications.

With a look of resignation, a young lady kept clicking on the same buttons, but our file could not be retrieved. ‘This happens all the time,’ she said, ‘sometimes this doesn’t work all day.’

She did, however, have a book with screenshots of pages that a successful applicant would encounter, and she could explain the sequence to us.

Later that day, I managed to get online access to our file and pay the fees. Seconds later, a pdf containing our registration was available. The actual certificat d’immatriculation arrived by mail – the following day…

So yes, we are, as they say in our country, overrompel(e)d.

What next? We have been skiing in the French Alps, and we will continue to do that for two more weeks. Next, there are other things to do: renew our passports, fly to Malaysia to terminate bank accounts and residence permits, retrieve our deposits for those residence permits, then come back to the Alps. Pack the car, take off in whatever direction, and start doing what we had wanted to start doing in October: drive, explore, camp.

Charlotte had told me that 2018 would be a good year. It certainly looks that way.