Slowly but surely...
Back again! I am attempting to figure things out having to deal with the web in français, but if this works, it's all good! This is my first attempt at emailing to my blog to post. Cross your fingers!
We have had some successes after quite a few difficulties. Things are just a lot harder to do in France (we waited 6 hours in a waiting room with no magazines and nothing to do just to get Dr. B's pay) so it does make it hard to keep your spirits up, but yesterday was a very good day. We now have a french bank account and a bed/couch combo in our apartment, which means we will soon be able to sign up for phone service and officially move into our new place. We are set to go on Monday.
There was a problem with Dr. B's fellowhip, so I currently don't have health insurance, but we are working on that. The bank account took several days to set up (!DAYS!) and required a lot of running around just to get approved. They actually needed to see the ID card of our landlord in order to give it to us so we had to track her down and ask her for that--like asking for someone's landlord's drivers license just to set up a bank account so they can use our money. Incredible. It has been quite frustrating. We can't get a phone without a bank account, so we have to wait for the paperwork on that before we can set up phone service at home, which means it will be a while before I have my own computer back. I am really looking forward to that day! We also need to get our stay approved at the Préfecture de Police, which is another long wait, set for tomorrow.
This all sounds very confusing, I know. That's because it is!!! I have never been so confused in my life--the french system is not set up for efficiency, let me tell you... On the plus side, Dr. B's boss and colleagues have been extremely helpful, and have even loaned us things to use in our new apartment to help us out. They know it is expensive to buy a lot of new furniture, dishes, etc. The things I mailed from America haven't yet arrived, but we will still need quite a few things. We are very grateful for their help and understanding.
In the US, to set up phone, a bank account, internet, and buy household things may only take a day or two, but here you need to plan for at least two weeks, I guess. We are working on it. We have talked about going to IKEA on Saturday, and having them deliver some things. Our landlord (Mme. Margraff) has also been very helpful. She was a high school English teacher, and likes to speak English with us. She has given us a toaster to use, and bought a washing machine for the apartment, which is fabulous! Her son is in a band called Louise Attaque, and they just released a new album. She said she may be able to get us concert tickets to see them in November. Her son is the drummer, and she says "they are the best band in France!!!"
Today, Dr. B is in meetings all day, so I am going to go be a tourist by myself. I want to set up an account at the American Library in Paris (you know me--I love to read!) and it is near the Eiffel Tower, so I am going to go there. I have a Carte Orange, which is a pass for the Métro (subway) so I can go anywhere in Paris on that. You buy the CO, then buy a monthly pass that you can use to take trips all month. It has been very helpful, though we end up walking a lot, still. That's OK--I can eat a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) without guilt!
Well, I need to get some breakfast and take Lucy for a walk soon, so until later...
PS from Lucy...
I am not so sure I like these french dogs. They are all so little and they are mad at me for being so big...I have not made any dog friends yet. But, though the people seem somewhat scared of me, the ones who meet me think I am a "chien gentil" (nice dog) so that is good. The guard at the CNRS named François was scared of me at first, but now he calls me his "darling Lucy" and lets me kiss him on the cheek. I like that. I wish they had more grass here, but I like it when I find pieces of bread on the street (which I do fairly often!) I can't wait to move to our own house. In the city, there will be less dogs to bark at me when I walk by, and more people to give me a pat or two. Mom says I can go to the boulangerie (bakery) with her. That rocks! I am not singing (Mom calls it howling) as much, because the fire engines here (pompiers is what they are called) make a different noise. Mom says it's a tritone, like if you played C F# C F# on the piano. I don't know, my paws are too big for the piano.
I have been a very good girl, though, and am doing my best to support Mom and Dad when they have a tough day. They like that a lot!