Posted by: britgirl82 | August 9, 2010

BritGirl goes it alone

So…..BritGirl’s boyfriend had his first day and week at work en France…it all seemed to go well. Lots of names, places, rules and procedures to remember. Remember en France bureaucracy and paperwork is the key!

As for BritGirl, the first week alone went well. A bank account was opened. Yes, BritGirl was now a proud bank account holder en France and had opened the account all on her own, en Francais!!! Another proud achievement after a month of living here.

You learn when you live in a foreign country, with a foreign language and no friends, to take pride in the smallest of tasks; answering someone when they ask you for directions, opening a bank account in the lingo…..achievements seem to become smaller but more important.

So, bank account open and online access working…now all BritGirl needed was her own money. Living off her boyfriend’s income was something she had never done before and was not really looking forward to….independence had been an important factor in their relationship and in BritGirl’s life for the past 5 years.

But hang on, BritGirl made another achievement on her own, she ventured out of town to the “banlieues” (french suburbs) to find the health care office….which turned out to be in not the nicest area of town. But neverthless, public transport worked, she was there with her forms in hand….now all she had to do was have a meeting with the nice French lady to be covered by the French healthcare system. Nervous, dictionary in her bag, BritGirl sat in the waiting room and waited!!

Nerves seemed pointless, once the forms were handed over alongside copies of passports that was it! C’est tout! Little talking or interest was needed. It was just a matter of waiting…well thats what BritGirl understood would happen. She instantly regretted not taking copies of all the documents she had just handed over in case something went awry (ever the pessimist en France). However, again BritGirl would learn, that generally, although slow processes and typically bureaucratic, the French way did usually work and the outcome would be what you expected. In this instance, BritGirl did later receive her Carte Vitale for healthcare and a social security number for one year. This did not make her feel anymore French…only more foreign and uncertain of the procedures and processes if she ever did need to see a Doctor!

The only other story of note during BritGirl’s first week alone were the new friends she made…yes you read that right; BritGirl made some friends. Although lets be clear here, they were not of the human variety… in fact BritGirl didn’t even know what species they were!! Otters? Platypus’? Beavers? Who knew, but on BritGirl’s daily walk along the promenade of the Garonne, the river at the end of BritGirl’s road, she regularly stopped to watch these “animals” play along the river… they were a constant smile in her otherwise fairly dull routine.

After days of watching these animals BritGirl wanted more information and who best to ask but her friend who knew everything. Yes that is correct, BritGirl is lucky enough to have a friend who knows a lot; great in pub quizzes, brilliant at educating BritGirl in music, books, films and much,much, much more so the only person BritGirl really could ask about these cute (?) little creatures who had become her friends.

So a quick photo and text message to her guru friend and BritGirl had the answer…..not a beaver, or an otter and of course not a platypus “silly” – his words not BritGirl’s! They were coypu!!! How could BritGirl not know this all important fact?!

Apparently they are big rodents who live along river banks and were fairly common across France. Regardless of what they are; BritGirl will often spend 10 minutes by the river watching these ‘coypu’ and in a funny way they always remind her of a friend back home… 🙂

It seems that the first week on her own en France passed without hitch; the French administration was a success and BritGirl had managed this en Francais, the flat was now clean and tidy with everything where it should be and loooooong letters had been written to friends and family explaining life in the bubble and introducing her new found “friends”.

One question remains, how will BritGirl manage on her own going forwards?

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