All posts tagged: housing

3 mars – update!!

I experienced a big disappointment Wednesday when my front door was unexpectedly repainted, covering up all the graffiti that had given the block its character. You can read about it here. Well, I had another surprise this morning when heading off to work: For those keeping count, it took only 1.5 days for the taggers to take back their canvas. Vive le street!! ❂   Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

2nd mars

I headed out of my apartment to do some errands. On the list: buy envelopes, check out the bookstore, swing by the school to drop off a paper. Halfway through errand #1, I reached in my pocket to check the time on my phone. School closes at 17h, so I couldn’t drag my feet. My pocket was empty. I had no idea what time it was. I must have left the phone charging on the living room table. I quickly reformulated my plan. Okay, I thought, I’ll just skip the bookstore and head immediately to school by way of home. That’s better anyway, since my apartment is closer to the metro. Maybe I can still hit the bookstore on my way back. So I climbed the winding, hilly street back up to my apartment, desperately scanning the buildings for any establishment that might have a clock in their window. I distractedly fumbled for my keys, my muscle memory carrying me past the line of identical shabby stoops straight to my door. I drew the keys out of my …

The Great Marseille Apartment Hunt of 2016

The wily explorer arrived to the Marseillais jungle with an accommodation booked for one week, and one goal: to finally capture a rare wild apartment. Having hunted before in this country (albeit a different region), she felt thoroughly prepared. She conjured memories of her last wild apartment hunt in the mountainous region of Chambéry;  a lot of time spent in mortal terror, exhausted from travel, terrified at the prospect of making calls in a foreign language, ultimately unsure how she finally managed to finally trap one. “I know it’ll be difficult,” she thought. “But at least this time I know what I’m up against.” Oh, how the explorer was mistaken. She arranged her hunting tools first: a French phone number, a grammatically corrected introduction, an empty notebook, an internet connection. Then, she took a deep breath and lunged into the hunt. She traversed Leboncoin, crossing occasionally into Appartager and dipping toes into PAP and local agencies. She left voice messages, text messages, email messages but still the wild apartment eluded her. She filled four pages …

Thanks / No Thanks

Well, all of a sudden I’ve been in France for a full month! Boy has it flown by or what?! Little by little I’ve been settling into Marseille, into my new job, into different expectations and realities, with help from so many people (and in despite of some others…) Thanks to my mom who dropped me off at the airport. No thanks to my 25kg suitcase (plus 2 other bags). Thanks to the AirFrance employee who let the extra 2 kilos slide with no fee. No thanks to the diva in front of me in the ridiculously congested customs line at Charles de Gaulle airport who yelled at me for apparently cutting her in line when I was merely trying to take the outside lane on a turn, rather than bottleneck all 3048302 of us through the inside curve. Thanks to whatever caused a ten minute delay of my TGV that allowed me to make it on with a few minutes to spare! No thanks to metros without escalators, train platforms with large gaps, cobblestones and sidewalks full of dog …

Life in Limbo

My first days in Chambéry, though thrilling, included probably the most anxiety-filled moments I have ever lived. Why? you ask. How could you possibly be stressed while surrounded by stunning mountain ranges around every corner and all the croissants and éclairs you can eat? Because, dear readers, I was functionally homeless for about two weeks. Add in the fact that pretty much every single administrative task we need to complete requires a justificatif de domicile, or proof of housing, and this limbo status quickly resulted in doing basically nothing that first week except frantically calling and emailing potential landlords, or staring at my computer screen, paralyzed with anxiety (I’m mostly exaggerating…mostly). France is just full of Catch-22s. For example, you need an address to open a bank account, but some agencies require bank account to rent an apartment. Or, you need an address in order to receive a SIM card (only if you order online. I HIGHLY recommend not doing that and going to the store in person), but it’s nearly impossible to contact landlords or agencies without a French phone …