Wow! Time flies when you are having fun, or dealing with French bureaucracy. This past week has marked a lot of milestones for me. I moved into my new flat, bear with me as I am going to brag just a bit because it truly is so amazing. I am located on the Île de la Citè, one street over from Notre-Dame. Now I am sure your first though is, Why would you want to be near all those tourists! I would have agreed with you if I had not seen the place myself. It is incredible how one street over can feel like a different world. I step into my building and the silence and serenity is breathtaking. If it weren’t for the bells of Notre-Dame (yes it is as magical as it sounds), it could be in the middle of the country. Here is my fabulous courtyard:
One of the biggest adjustments I knew I would have to make was going to be to the size of the apartments here. My place is 25m2, which translates to about 270 square feet. I am pretty much living in one of those sample apartments in Ikea! However, as my luck has seemed to continue throughout this journey, this apartment was recently renovated and it feels huge! It could not have been designed more perfectly.
My biggest challenge (if you know me) will be to keep it clean! I am hoping since there is only 270 square feet, the task will be less daunting then my previous 1,000 square foot place in Detroit.
Brag session ended.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the French pace of life is significantly slower. While this is charming, it can become frustrating quite quickly. I made an appointment to open a bank account the first week I got here. Well I have been back THREE times to sign yet more paperwork and I am still waiting on my account. Yesterday, I was promised it would be given to me in 48 hours. Yet I imagine the French banks do not work on the weekend so I am not holding my breath.
Another experience I had was with my internet/cable. For those of you unfamiliar with Paris, Parisians basically evacuate Paris the month of August. They just up and leave! So when I moved into my new flat, it was a week before I could get someone to activate my services. Well my appointment was yesterday and I was very excited! The technician was very nice and spent about an hour doing stuff with wires and cables. Then he said he was done. Yay! I asked him for the wifi name/password. He just looked at me. By the way, he spoke almost no english. After some back and forth on google translate, I finally understood that I was not getting wifi today. He only activated the lines, next I will receive a box from the company within 48 hours. Then I will have to plug it in and get it activated. If I happen to miss the delivery (which I probably will, big plans this weekend!), I will then have to take the delivery slip to the post office and retrieve my package on Monday.
It seems like nothing can be accomplished on the first attempt in Paris! I like to think it is the city’s way of weeding out those who do not truly want to be here. Paris is for the determined, those who will persevere, and those who do not give up at the first sign of failure. While I cannot say that describes me yet, I am hoping Paris will strengthen me and increase my resolve.
Whenever I am frustrated, annoyed, confused, or disheartened, I take a few steps outside my door, see this view and remind myself I am in the most beautiful city in the world. I plan on being here forever, so what is the rush?