I can’t believe I’ve already been here 2 weeks! It feels much longer, and yet at the same time much shorter, it’s hard to explain. I’ve managed to slip into Euro-mode fairly quickly, to the point where walking everywhere, taking the metro, buying baguettes daily and reading French seem perfectly natural already, almost like I’ve always done it (note: I did not yet say “speaking” French, not quite there yet, lol).
First on the list when I arrived was to set up a bank account. Now based on what I’d heard from friends, this can be a very long, complicated and tedious process. So to my surprise, I managed to get an appointment at La Banque Postale the very same day! (note: in Europe often the postal service also has a banking service, which most people use). Mao hooked me up with the necessary papers on his end (a letter stating that I was staying with him, a recent electricity bill and his “carte de séjour”), and all I needed was my passport, some cash and my job offer letter, and by the next day it was set up. The woman I met with was amazing, sooo super nice, we laughed a lot, apparently I am very “gaie” (I smile too much?), and before I knew it I was being given travel tips for northern France.
Whoever says the French aren’t very helpful or friendly to travellers, it’s so not true! In fact, anytime you get on a bus here, the bus driver greets you, and when you get off, everyone thanks the bus driver and wishes him/her a good day!!! They even outdo Canadians with bus politeness, it’s really nice actually – makes you feel more at home.
But as I was saying about the bank account, I was told I’d have my card and cheques within a week, so I thought, fantastic! However, every time I tell people this story, they start laughing hysterically (ok, maybe that’s pushing it, but they laugh at me). So now it’s been a week and a half, I have received a mobile text from La Banque Postale, but no mail yet…