One of the benefits of living in France is that you actually learn how real French people speak. However, this is also one of my biggest expat downfalls, as Baudelaire never wrote about money orders or renters insurance or where to find your EDF meter in your apartment or how to get wifi in a country that has seemingly rejected modern technology (come on, SNCF).
As much as I’d like to say life in Aix is all flower markets and cheap rosé (ok, sometimes it is), there are plenty of bureaucratic hurdles that I’m convinced are created only to keep expats out of France, and only those who really want to be here will succeed. Walk-up apartments are one of those things, especially with this many suitcases.
When I met with the landlord on Thursday, he said I’d need an attestation of renter’s insurance before I could move in. Ok, easy enough. Except he neglected to mention the insurance place is in the outskirts of the city and that you need a bank account to get the insurance. Or, you can walk through four suburban roundabouts for twenty minutes (it’s a three minute drive in case you are wondering) to get a montant compte and pay that way, even if you still have no idea what that actually is (anyone??). And–as is the case with all things in France–you need the attestation to get a bank account. Everything is a catch-22.
Yet despite these constant barriers (and still not having a bank account), I finally got the keys to my apartment on Sunday and moved in yesterday with the help of many super assistants. It would have taken me four times as long without them. We also went to Ikea so that I could buy a beautiful comforter to replace the sleeping bag-esque blanket that was furnished and get new pillows–necessary after the landlord told me the apartment was available because the previous tenant died (hopefully not from spiders because one definitely bit me awake this morning).
A tour in pictures of my apartment is coming soon once everything gets straightened away and decorated–and once I add a little card that says “chez anne” at the door 🙂 Now, I have to make a presentation sur moi for the first day of school tomorrow, which may or may not include mostly tourist selfies.