February 8, 2010

From Girard to Vaugirard

So I've been MIA lately...neglecting emails, friends, family, blogging, etc. I think I have a good excuse though – I found an apartment! I want to say that I finally found an apartment, but really it took me less than two weeks which is pretty quick. It just felt like a long time. After much searching I found a cute little studio very close to school – it's small, quaint and has everything that I need. Well, everything except for internet but hopefully that will be set up this week. I went from living on Girard avenue in Minneapolis to Rue de Vaugirard here; the street names are similar, but the scenery is not!

I moved in Wednesday afternoon – I'm on the fourth floor, no elevator – which is common in Parisian apartments. The stairs don't bother me as long as I'm not trying to take my heavy luggage up the tiny spiral staircase...not fun. But I've settled in - unpacked, stocked the fridge, had my friends over on Saturday night – I love having my own place! The apartment is furnished which is the case for most studios in the city. A huge perk of this apartment is that it has a washing machine which is not something found in all apartments here, especially studios. The cycles and settings are pretty cryptic, but I've successfully washed clothes so I won't change the buttons and dials around for now...

Unfortunately, this is a short term rental and my lease is up June 30th, but I will have more than enough time to find something else...looking at apartments is fun and less stressful when you have one already. The hardest part is getting all of the documents together in order to be able to rent – I thought getting a phone was hard! The French are scared of foreigners – there are so many different things they need to see before they trust you. Last week was rough – my mom and Tom spent four days trying to help get money from my US bank account over to my French account so I could actually rent the apartment. An American bank account means nothing here and it's really frustrating. Alas thanks to Tom, the money was transferred. To make an extremely long story short, the day ended with me walking around the street with thousands of euros in cash on me – of course the place wouldn't just cut a check. So I ran to my bank while they were in the middle of shutting down and begged them to reboot the system so I could deposit my cash - they weren't happy but they did it for me anyways. I've irritated a lot of French people since I've been here. To be fair, they irritated me first.

I haven't had time to get into the school mindset yet, but I had orientation and registration on Thursday which helped remind me that school is starting. Classes start today and I've got a lot on my plate this semester. I have class Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday which is nice but I'm sure homework, papers and reading will fill up the vacant days. The faculty and students seem nice and helpful – I didn't get the chance to really talk to people because I've still been sick (it turns out my cold won't end because it's not a cold – it's a sinus infection). I mingled as much as I could at orientation but headed home early. I stopped at the pharmacy on my way home from school to get medicine and there was almost an incident once I got home. I bought medicine but when I was checking out the girl helping me said something about spray. I was half listening and when I heard spray I was like YES please anything...throw in the spray. I get home and take the first medicine and then go to dig into what I thought was like a nasal spray but it looked more like a tiny thing of hairspray. The spray nozzle was not conducive to shoving up one's nose for relief...so I looked again and it turns out I was suckered into buying some type of air purifying spray. She even wrote on the box to do two puffs, three times a day so I was so surprised and also let down to see what I had actually purchased. So now, I take my medicine every day and then purify the air around me...three times a day.

Hopefully I'll have internet this week so I can quit stealing internet from my best friend, McDonald's. Here are some pictures from the new place...