January 25, 2010

So far, Paris is gray(t)

The first few days in the city of lights have been (not surprisingly) very gray and damp but really great so far. No complaints yet...ok a few complaints but I'll get to that later.

I've been very busy since I landed on Thursday, accomplishing more than I had planned to in the first few days. I was originally going to wait until this week to be productive but was forced into it earlier when I ventured out Friday morning to buy a French plan for my cell phone. You wouldn't think that going to the phone store would be the catalyst for a chain of ridiculous hurdles to jump through, but it was.

So I'm at the phone store where it's always so busy you have to take a number and wait for at least 20 minutes. I figure out what I need for my phone plan when the girl helping me asked for my French banking information. Well, I definitely didn't have that and didn't think I would need that but apparently it's a must. I figured I had time and energy so I went and opened up my French bank account which I would have needed eventually but didn't plan on doing this on the first day. To make a very long story short, I opened my account and thought that I was set. I had my account number, the debit card would be ready in a few days and I would have personal checks in a week. I was exhausted after the bank because I was running back and forth between the bank and Marie's apartment to get all of the required documents for a foreigner to open an account - which is a lot of random things that you wouldn't normally have on you – but I wanted my phone! The obsession with having a phone stems from Marie not having internet at her apartment. Or a computer. She's 75 so I'm not shocked, but it does drive me nuts. If I have a phone with internet I'll be a happy camper.

At this point I thought I had everything to get the phone so I went back for the second time that day and showed them that I had my bank account now. The people at this phone store only give me information as needed so finding out what I need is like putting together a puzzle. From opening up my bank account, I had Marie's ID card and an electric bill with her name on it. I understand the bank needing this information (somewhat) but never thought the phone place would need it. Well, they did. And they needed a letter from Marie stating I was living with her at the moment. I'm sure if I had a first born they probably would have asked for that, too...and I probably would have given it to them because I want a phone that bad. So I walk the couple of miles back to Marie's and she writes a letter for me to bring to the phone store again. I walk in for the third time that day...take a number...wait...wait...and then I'm told I need a voided check or my debit card to prove that the account information I have matches up with the debit card and checks that I should have but won't have for a week. I'll try again in a couple of days – fourth time's a charm, right? Until then, I'll keep stealing internet from McDonald's until they kick me out. But in my defense, McDonald's should not have a stellar internet connection if they don't want people to use it.

I have a feeling this is how most things will play out for the first couple of months here. I was warned by Jaime (my sister living in Germany) that everything abroad is ten times harder than it needs to be but Germans are super strict so I was hoping it was country specific...not so much! My next adventure is apartment searching which is already more difficult and complicated than I thought it would be, but like everything else it will all work out in the end.

When I'm not making circles around the city trying to get a phone, I've been hanging out with my friend Libby from Minnesota who has been teaching English in Paris since September. I met Libby while studying abroad in 2006 and it's so nice to have her here while I'm getting settled. When she left in the fall, I told her to find us friends to hang out with and she did a fine job! Everyone is super welcoming and fun – the perfect escape when the city wears me out.

Ok, time to go apartment searching again!


  1. Yeah! I'm so glad you blog so I can experience life in Paris! That comic-type picture is AWESOME! You, like Jaime, have a very wonderful way with words that read like a book!

  2. welcome to the blogosphere, my little nugget. meesing

  3. If you keep eating Marie's food you will have to buy a whole new wardrobe! Save some desserts for me.