So sorry that I haven’t posted in over a week. This week I was busy:
1. Battling the bank
Long boring frustrating story made as short as possible, I was able to open a bank account on my first day here twelve days ago, but it’s “provisional” because the bank asked for a document that doesn’t exist in the U.S. In those twelve days, I have been to the bank no fewer than five times, first to try in vain to convince them that my Minnesota driver’s license is in fact a legitimate, government-issued ID, then to provide them with a recent bank statement as proof of address, and finally to provide them with my parents’ electricity bill (why, given that I haven’t lived with them in five years, is a mystery)–and only then did my banker inform me that I’ll have to go to the public treasury for a note stating that I’m a legitimate resident for the time being. (Note: I have already provided the bank with my passport, visa, and a letter from my foyer.)
None of the other assistants have had this problem, so clearly, what I should have done is just gone to any other bank a week ago, set up an account, and been on my merry way. It wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that without a bank card, I cannot get a phone. Well, I *could* get a pre-paid phone, but those are a notoriously bad deal and now that I’ve waited this long, if I get a crappy phone, I’ll just resent it every single time I use it.
Point of the story: I have now lived in 21st-century France for two weeks without a phone. Have you ever tried hunting for apartments or making plans without a phone? For your sake I hope not, so laissez-moi vous dire, it’s a pain in the origine du merde. (Pardon my French.)
2. Visiting the schools I’ll be working in
Ostensibly, the whole reason I came to France is to be an English teaching assistant. I still haven’t really done that. Last week I visited the schools I’ll be working in, though, so I have some sense of what it’ll be like. But I’ll tell you more about that later.
3. Having a cold
Last week, it rained for several days straight. Rain doesn’t usually get to me, but as my new friend Rosie said, “This is too depressing–and I’m from London!” When one of my suitcases weighed in ten pounds over the limit at the airport, my rainboots (or as Aussies apparently call them, gum boots) were the first thing to go. I finally found a pair that cost only 12E (~$16), but only after having cold, wet, clammy toes for three days, which is probably why I got a cold.
I learned that the French are really into Alka-Seltzer style tablets that go fizzzz and dissolve in your drink. My Vitamin C supplement and both my daytime and nighttime cold remedies were the dissolve-in-water variety. Since I hadn’t ever taken a medicine like that before, it seemed weird to suddenly have three in a day. It’s kind of inconvenient, too, because then you need more water than you would to swallow a pill and there are no water fountains in France.
4. Getting a bike!
Lovely, lovely Angers provides its residents with bikes for free. Mine is turquoise, with red fenders and a basket. It was a bit scary at first, since I don’t really understand how traffic works here, but now that the rain passed, it’s been outrageously gorgeous, so I’ve been biking a lot! Check out some pictures here.
Okay, lovely readers, more this week, I promise! But for now I am sleepy and I should try to get the week off to a well-rested start.