It’s been over a week since I landed in Paris lugging two large suitcases and an inconveniently large carry-on containing more than enough clothes and hopefully all the necessary documents I need to start my Parisienne life. The first week felt rather productive so I am trying hard to keep up the momentum of achieving something each day.
I am fortunate to have many close friends in Paris and several of them have helped me out with places to stay and useful information. Already being familiar with the city has meant that visiting museums and tourist attractions has not been high on my list of priorities although I have spent most days wandering around the streets of Paris so have at least seen most of the iconic buildings from the outside. Last week was uncharacteristically warm for October and many of the parks seemed to be glowing in Autumn sunshine which made for some nice photographs.
I spent the day of my arrival in good company with a delicious pasta dish home-cooked by my best Italian friend. After that I caught up on some much needed sleep. My first full day in Paris was spent at an interview for a temporary position which I was offered a couple of days later. Day two I caught up with a close British friend and just enjoyed being back in Paris.
By the end of the first week I had managed to sort out a mobile phone which took an entire afternoon. Finding the best deal meant purchasing a sim card in one location and the phone from another store. It turns out there are several different types of sim card (nano & micro) which don’t fit in the same phones. Of course I bought the wrong kind and had to go back to the first location to switch sims! I spent the next few days taking pictures with my shiny new device. Sadly I also experienced some technical issues and had to reset the phone so I lost all my beautiful photos.
Some other things I have done have included a dinner with friends at an all you can Asian buffet where you can select your meats and vegetables and have them grilled in front of you, celebrating a friend’s birthday at a cocktail bar in Montparnasse where I enjoyed a properly made mojito (sorry Canada, you really suck at mojitos!), and catching up with friends in general including a friend from my teaching programme in Ontario. It was so great to have someone to talk to about some of the same obstacles we are facing while settling into life in France.
I feel as though I have signed and sent a thousand documents in the short space of time I have been in France. I have requested a police check for my future employer and begun the process to become registered in the French health system. In order to be registered with French Social Security they require a copy of your passport, birth certificate, work contract and proof of address. The same is required to open a bank account. If anything is missing they can simply refuse to let you open an account which is what happened to me today. Of course it is hard to have proof of address without a rental contract or utility bill and it is almost impossible to obtain a legal rental contract without all of the above and of course a French bank account showing you have the funds. But, where there is a will there is a way so my goal for next week is to secure an apartment for a few months and to open a bank account.
In the meantime, I am looking after some cats and chickens in a fairly quiet suburb while my friends are away on holiday and appreciating that daily life in Paris and its suburbs has me walking 3-4 times as much as I did in Canada. I’m feeling pretty healthy despite all the baguettes and cheese!