Thursday, October 25, 2007

Une Baguette

I bring you my second post of the day because I am the victim of bad timing and am currently locked out of Lillian's apartment. Being the explorer/adventurer that I am I managed to find the MacDo in her hood and I am sitting here mooching off of their wifi. I'm trying to be as inconspicuous as possible as I'm too cheap to order anything off of their menu but that didn't stop me from taking the following picture using the builtin web cam and the Photo Booth software on my MacBook.

Une Baguette

Vagabond No More

After six weeks of living like a vagabond, moving from place to place and crashing on the couches of friends, I have finally found a place to call home. I found the place a couple of weeks ago but things weren't finalized until yesterday. I saw the place several weeks ago when I was at my lowest point and because of my excitement about the place the girl subletting it selected me above all of the other hopeful renters. Or maybe she just felt bad for me because I sounded so pathetic when I met her.

The apartment is a furnished studio and it is approximately 30 square meters (322 square feet) which is HUGE by Paris standards (I've seen many during my search). It's located in the 11th arrondissement in the quartier de la Roquette. Republic and Oberkampf are to the north, Place de la Bastille is to the West and to the east is Pere Lachaise.

I don't move in until the 31st of October or the 1st of November so I will be couch surfing for a few more days but there is an end in sight.

If it wasn't for Opal, Amy, Lillian and Chi-Young letting me crash at their places I probably would have flown back home by now. There are so many more people that were very supportive and helped me in a number of different ways such as all the strangers that helped me carry my 120lbs worth of luggage up and down many flights stairs.

Edit: I forgot to add Veronica to the list. If it weren't for Veronica I probably still wouldn't have a bank account let alone a récipissé for my CDS.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Shoutout

As I sit in MacDo using their free wifi I'd like to give a quick shoutout to all family members that figured out how to read my blog. I heard it through the grapevine that a certain aunt of mine checks in on me daily. I must say that I underestimated your web 2.0 savy and I am truly sorry for that. Now show me what you're really made of and start leaving me some comments.

Friday, October 19, 2007

An Act of Solidarity

Yesterday was like a snow day because I didn't have to go to school due to the manifestations. Since I have been staying with Amy for the past week we decided to set out and explore her neighborhood by foot. With her trusty map in hand, Amy and I decided to take Boulevard Voltaire and head north towards Republic just to check out the sites. Boy were we in for a surprise. As we approached Oberkampf we heard and saw some demonstrators and then I realized that the manifestations will be taking place at Republic. Not one to miss a good rally we proceeded on our merry way taking pictures and videos along the way.

So what I've learned from my experience yesterday is that even though the strike was primarily for the transit workers so many other groups were out protesting with them in an act of solidarity it was more a party atmosphere than anything else.

So without further ado I present you with some photos from the day.

Look ma Paris is on fire

This guy was kind enough to give me his poster but I won't post any pictures of me posing with it for fear of being deported

I don't think Sarkozy was much liked by the people protesting

A closer look

Party ova here the bar is on the back of the truck

The bank was also closed so much for checking the status of my wire transfer

Vive le hip hop

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Paris Je T'aime

After one month in Paris, this is how I sound when I speak French

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Medical Visit

I had my medical visit today and aside from feeling like an actor in one of those 1950's proganda films it was a relatively painless experience. I had an 8:30AM appointment and arrived 15 minutes early along with 20 or so others and I actually ran into an assistant that I met at orientation the first week of October. When they finally opened the doors to let us in I showed the woman at the front desk my appointment slip and my passport. I then proceeded into a room labeled "Medical". I waited about 5 minutes before my name was called by some official looking technician person. He asked me a whole bunch of questions such as "do you wear glasses", "do you wear any medical devices" and "are you pregnant". Mind you he could have asked me if I was from mars because all of the questions were in French and my French hasn't improved much in the month that I have been here.

After answering the initial set of questions correctly I was told to wait again in a different section of the medical room. I was then escorted to a different room where I was given an eye exam, weighed and had my height measured. The eye exam was a little difficult because the woman administering the exam had managed to fully cover the letters with her fingers thus preventing me from reading them. After all of that it was time for some x-ray fun. I was escorted to a private room where I was instructed to read the instructions posted on the door. So I had to remove all clothes from the waist up and all jewelry and wait for the xray technician to come get me. Within a minute it was my turn to have my xray taken. I've heard horror stories about how they don't provide a gown and how's your completely naked when you take your xray but it really wasn't that bad at all. I was exposed for all of 15 seconds if that.

After that I waited a bit longer and I was seen by another official looking technician/doctor type guy. He asked me a bunch of questions, took my blood pressure which is perfect by the way, and then listened to my lungs. And within an hour I was sent on my merry way with my Autorisation Provisoire de Travail and my Certificat de Controle Medical. Which basically means that I passed with flying colors and I can stay and work in France.

All in all the paperwork and administrative process has been pretty easy and straightforward for me and I'm about 80% finished. I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

An Update I Guess

So as of right now it looks like I won't be a homeless vagabond in Paris for the duration of my contract. Good things are on the horizon and I just keep my fingers crossed that everything works out.

I've been a bad blogger as of late but if you've had to move 120lbs of luggage around Paris 5 times in the past 4 weeks blogging would probably be the last thing on your mind as well.

Before I say goodbye I want to send a huge shoutout to Islandgirl4ever2 who invited me to join and her fellow expats friends at lunch last Friday. She embodies the word sweetheart.

More to come soon dear readers and perhaps, maybe, possibly I will post a picture or two for you all.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Light

I really feel like I shouldn't be doing things like posting on my blog when I have more dire issues at hand such as finding (make that settling on) a place to live. But alas, I'll write a brief post.

As of this morning I have my finalized teaching schedule and it looks like from now until at least February I will have a 4 day weekend each and every week. That means I will only be teaching for 3 days a week. Do you know what that means? That's means it's party time! So if anyone wants to take a long weekend to travel and see different places, I'm your girl. If anyone wants to invite me to their country home, I'm also your girl. If anyone wants to do anything that involves fun, fun and more fun I'm also your girl.

As for now, this girl must find (settle on) an apartment.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Are You Black?

That's the question that was posed this morning when I call a woman who is offering free housing in exchange for babysitting her brats children. I'm getting desperate here and the idea of not having to pay rent is very alluring.

I guess she thought that since I was born in the Bronx that I must be a hardcore, gangsta rap loving, gun toting black person. Since I was a little taken aback and caught off guard I just answered the question truthfully. And her response was "Oh that's great my children really haven't been exposed to that many different types of people especially black ones." And so in an effort to save the world from their fear of black people I have decided to meet with her at 3PM today.

Oh the French gotta love them.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'm French-ish

Today I jumped the turn style at the metro station because my Navigo was a no go. I think it registered with the first turn style but I didn't notice and then tried it again at a different one and I got some message that basically said "LA, you're SOL". Since I was on my way to the assistants orientation and didn't have time to stand on the line to figure out what was going on I just squeezed through the cracks.

On the way back "home" from the stage I my Navigo pass failed me again because it wasn't valid. Orientation was in zone 4 and my pass is only valid for zones 1-2. Since I attended the orientation with Amy, and she had a valid zone 4 pass I just walked through with her ticket.

I feel like such a rebel but when I think about it it's my way of saying "screw you" to the French administrative hassles that I've had to endure the past two weeks.