Wednesday, September 26, 2012

State of Affairs

Warm Fuzzies

-I got my railroad reduction card and completed an oral survey about my buying experience- aka spoke more French.
- I met James and Naomi yesterday. I overslept and missed meeting them at the train station, but I figured out where their building was and walked over and was able to meet them.
- Had a drink and a pizza dinner with them. The owner of the bar had the most adorable Westie dog, who she kept trying to yell at to go to the back of house but instead kept playing with me :) . The owner of the pizza place is from Turkey and I talked to him a bit at the end. If the place was closer to mine I think I would go there often and try to make friends with him. As it is, it's a bit of a walk.
- James and Naomi live at a youth housing building. When I arrived, James was in the process of checking in and getting his paperwork settled. He was tired from the train ride and also hadn't eaten in a while so he had a bit of difficulty understanding all the paperwork that was being asked for. I was able to help a bit and understand all the papers they were looking for. It's a really great feeling to understand even just a bit more than I did when I arrived in Coutances. While it's hard ot see the progress happening at the time, when I look back to my language level at the beginning of study abroad, it's really amazing to see how far I've come.
- Not that many people speak English here. Most people know a little, but when I stop those who try and ask them to continue in French, they do and it works better. It was really frustrating in Normandy that so many people spoke English and it really cut my efforts down at the knees to always have that happening.
- The principal and assistant principal stopped by the apartment to introduce themselves. The principal actually lived in Australia for a while so he said his kids might stop by sometime and that they speak English well (however I have no idea if the kids are 7, 17 or 27.
- The apartment has TV and DVD player. I' m going to get a library card so I can watch movies here (It's good language practice!)
- I stopped by SFR (phone and internet company) to see about getting internet for the apartment. While there were a few awkward moments of miscommunication (like when he asked me for my street name and I said I didn't have one yet..) I still understood what he was talking about, even when talking about different ways to get internet, how much it would cost a month, what papers I would need to get it, etc.
- I stopped by my college to say hello to the principal and all the people there were fantastically nice. Additionally, the college used to be a lycee (and before that a nunnery). What's important about that is that it is a BEAUTIUL building with a lovely green garden courtyard in the middle.
- Bought some nice hard cider from Normandy :)
- I found a cheese shop. Yummmmm a whole shop of yummy delicious cheeses!!!!

Cold Pricklies

- When I went to the school office to pick up my attestation de logement (a formal paper saying that I live and that school, basically a stand in for a rent contract) they said it wasn't ready and to pick it up tomorrow. That wouldn't be that big of a deal, except that I then had to cancel my bank appointment and they didn't have any other appointments available this week. Rather than waiting until next week, I chose a new bank and I have an appointment with them tomorrow. I should have my attestation by then (I hope).
- It's getting pretty complicated to have internet. To get a modem (router? I don't know half the terms in English) we need to set up our telephone line which is a little difficult given that we are only here for 6 months. Then once we have the telephone line we need to the internet company and given them a telephone book's worth of documents, AND bring someone from the school (or who knows you, i”m not sure which) and have them attest for you. To get a internet USB key for your computer is significantly less work. Which brings me to my next point.
- I don't think I'll be able to use skype this year. Given all the complications I've encountered so far (and knowing that once you even get all that paperwork it's still another month before it actually gets working) I don't think we'll have strong wifi set up for our apartment. A USB key sounds like the best solution for some light internet usage at home. Fun fact- the cheapest one they had was 10 euros a month and for6-8 hours of internet a month. Yeah, I use the internet a little bit more than that. However, I think the solution is to get something super cheap like that for home, basically for emails, and then use the college and lycee computers for anything else. But I between time zones, privacy and a courtesy to others, I don't think that I'll want to skype there. I vaguely considered getting a smart phone, but most require a year or 2 year contracts. I'll see if any of my roommates will want to put in the effort, but I think next Monday is my cut off, and if nothing is decided, then I will just buy a USB key then. UPDATE: I stopped by Orange on my way to McDo and they had a cheap pay as you go phone with email capabilities. So I have limited email chez moi, but not any internet (or fbook or anything like that. There's no apps on it)
- The swim center is really far away and the buses don't run at night. This means that if I join the swim team I either have to walk about 4 miles each way, find someone who can give me a ride, or buy a bike. I'm not really opposed to finding a ride or getting a bike. I'm just nervous that those options wont work out and that I'll have paid a hefty amount for swim fees and not be able to participate. Swim team registration ends this week, so if I want to do it, now is the time. I really was excited about swim team and the prospect of meeting some people and being a member of the community, but I wonder if I’ll be over doing it, given that I'm running as well.
- It can be frustrating to keep on trying to run errands, only to have them shot down (attestation de logement, bank, internet ) but I think that is a big reason that wine is so cheap here.

1 comment:

  1. The best rationale for cheap French wine I have ever heard! When's the first strike?