September 27, 2009

Posted in la vie bordelaise tagged , , , , , , at 10:00 am by Fat Girl Dancing

Written on Wednesday, September 23 – 10:34pm

Last night I was feeling so overwhelmed from a full day of speaking and hearing French, after finding my school, spending several hours with my new colleagues and then driving back to my house and trying to give directions to a place I wasn’t familiar with, and then coming home and having dinner and a discussion with my family. I was feeling Frenched out. After dinner I escaped up to my room, shut the door, and pulled up Google chat on my phone and began chatting with Carlette while watching an episode of one of my favorite TV shows ever, Psych, on my computer. It worked. By the end of the episode I was sleepy, and I nearly forgot I was still in France. I almost called out for my parents, forgetting that they were across the ocean and that the people downstairs, while very friendly, would still have been very surprised if I suddenly started speaking English to them.

Several times the last few nights I’ve woken up disoriented. This room is very cozy, and I’ll wake up feeling like I’m still at home. “Wait, what? Oh, I’m in France.” Last night I had a nightmare, and I’m glad the person it was about is all the way across the ocean.

Today I slept in until around nine and then went downstairs to have breakfast. I’d just missed M., she had shortened school hours today, but she still had to leave shortly after I came down. With the house empty and my belly full, I decided to lie back down. I’ve been terribly exhausted lately. I’m not sure if I’m still jet lagged one week later or if it’s the lack of any set schedule or if it’s just the overwhelming effects of trying to understand and speak a foreign language, but I just cannot get enough sleep.

I dozed for about an hour, took a leisurely shower, and then began studying my French grammar review book. I’ve decided I need to study about four pages a day, and when I finish my French word a day book, I’m going to start studying the idioms in there as well. Just speaking it isn’t enough, I need to drill and refresh the grammar. If I’m going to be here, I’d better be serious about it and make the most of my time.

The plan today was to try to get a bank account. I was terrified. I knew I needed to show a lot of paperwork, and I wasn’t sure that I had it. I have a residence, but the only thing I have showing proof of that is a print-out from my Gmail account that F. sent me telling me what my address would be.

I walked around the long way to explore a different street and found two sandwich shops, one that sells pizza in the evenings. Hooray! I had a chicken panini, though I prefer tuna paninis. As I walked toward the center of town, I saw there was an open air market in the town square! It was 12:30 by this point and several vendors were starting to tear down. Now I know that Wednesday is market day, and I should get there earlier.

I was thirsty, so I found a patisserie and bought a chocolatine (pain au chocolat) and an Orangina. I’m becoming addicted to Oranginas. I went to the bank only to discover they were closed for lunch until 1:30. With nothing else to do, I sat on some stairs and people-watched and read a bit in my French translation of Eclipse.

Finally at 1:30 I went back into the bank. I told the teller that called me forward that I wanted to open a checking account. She said something in rapid French, and I gave her a blank look. She said something else, and I was too flustered to say “Look, can you slow down, please?” She said “Vous parlez français? Ou anglais?” (Do you speak French or English). I said that I spoke English, and tried to add that I could understand her in French if she’d slow down, but she cut me off saying I should speak to the other woman. “Allez-y!” (Go over there!)

The other woman was much more helpful. We spoke in French the entire time. There were times when I didn’t understand what she said, but she was willing to repeat herself. The short story is: I didn’t get a bank account. I have an appointment tomorrow with a banker to see if I have all the correct paperwork to get a bank account, but since I can’t produce an electric bill with my name on it, I’m not sure how it will go.

If this bank rejects me, I suppose I’ll just try another one. That’s what’s recommended by the Assistants in France forum. I need a checking account or I can’t get paid!

I have been doing a lot of reading. I’m reading a wonderful book and a terrible book. The wonderful book is based on a blog by a woman who moved to France to marry a Frenchman and had two bilingual kids. Her entries are about new words she encounters and how they relate to her life, but mostly it’s about how grand an adventure her life is and how grateful she is to be in France. It’s pretty much the perfect book for me to be reading right now, and I’m glad I bought it. The terrible book is See Jane Date, and I bought it for my trip last year because I thought it would be a quick plane read.  Yes, I miss my family and my friends and I miss talking with certain people that I’ve recently met, but I am so glad I have the opportunity and freedom to go where I want. I never want to feel like I have to depend on anyone else in order to be a success, which is literally what this book has said at points. The only reason I’m continuing to read it is because there’s no internet and I didn’t bring that many books. I gotta keep myself entertained somehow.

According to F., we should have internet here within 15 days!


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