People are all like « hey how’s Paris? » and by people I mean pretty much nobody. For that reason I’m just going to tell you whether you like it or not.
I’ve been here now for two months and does the time fly when you’re working nights. Like today for example I didn’t wake up until 20h, this is the equivalent to waking up at 11h on a weekend for most normal people. It’s also a massive headache when you need to do laundry and your building restricts the times you can use your washing machine.
Most people think this is archaic, but it’s standard practice in every building I’ve been to in Paris. Therefore I accept this as a social norm and the funky three day old underwear I am wearing right now. Because I just can’t wash fuck all when I walk in at 3h.
The job is going well, still moving upwards two months in and I can’t complain (other than not seeing daylight for two months and having to pull a 28 hour day to be able to use my time on my day off). I’ve had good things happen and moderately annoying things but all in all it’s well rounded enough to avoid the Pôle Emploi.
I’ve also had no end of bank drama, how anybody has the time or patience to open a bank account around here is beyond me. They ask for what seems to be innocent enough things like an EDF bill, landline bill and proof of occupancy such as an attestation d’hébergement. But what they forget to tell you is EDF tends to bill YEARLY and therefore 90% of EDF bills are absolutely useless not being issued in the last three months and if the fixed line bill doesn’t have enough information on it or usage, then they’re not interested and you’re back to digging the deep pile of paperwork you have collected during your stay in la république française.
I got past that problem (eventually), but I didn’t notice they put my name on the address. Normally this is not a problem, but here, if you’re name isn’t on the mailbox, you’re not getting mail. They dropped of the « chez… » part of the address which means I get my post via another person who is listed on the mailbox. How quaint.
Once I discovered this I made the change and asked for my codes to be resent, which they did nicely. But they forgot to inform me it takes the bank a couple days to actually change the address (although this is done there and then on the system). My codes came and were sent right back by La Poste as my name wasn’t on the mailbox.
I went in yesterday and to my amazement I received what could only be called an apology by the bank, it didn’t include the word désolé, but it was close enough by French banking terms. Now I’ve got to add another week to the three I’ve been waiting to be able to use my Carte Bleue.
However, with a mere sight of fore planning I asked for a cheque book. In France as bouncing a cheque can get you in to actual legal issues with that in mind, you can understand why people can use cheques pretty much anywhere. Cheques are in fact the only free method of payment here, considering you have to pay for your bank card, transfers, etc.
It’s even more handy to have as my card only has a 500€ spend limit a week and a 400€ withdrawal limit. Gone are the days when that was my daily allowance. The bank have let me know I can increase these later, but only around the 6 month mark they’ll consider looking at it.
After the pickpocket incident I can assure you this, the Police Nationale are about as helpful as a kick to the teeth, which again by the standards around me would seem overly helpful (because why do you need so many teeth?).
It might sound like I am writing this infuriated at the system and near breaking point (I’ve not even gone to the préfecture de police for my permis de conduiture yet or the marie for my carte de séjour) but it’s just a bit of adjustment that need to take place. Nowhere is ever the same as the place before it and with the French bureaucratic system each person will give you a different list of things and level of assistance than the one previous.
But for today I will try and go up to Porte Dorée or anything to get out of the house. Until then I’m wating for Franprix to open, which can be any time from their advertised 8h30 to midi.