Little Miss Awkward

I just can’t help it!!

Guarants Grrrrr!!!

housecartoon1

I should warn you that this post is going to be a putrid sack of bile I intend to spit out about the French renting system. So if you are hoping to read about pleasantries after my hiatus from blogging, I shall be disappointing you I am afraid. From the moment that I stepped on this cheese loving country nearly two years ago, it has been one drama after the other. I have to admit in some masochistic way it all adds to the adventure of it all.

I have debated on whether I should coloc (share) or find my own place. Both have advantages and disadvantages obviously. I toyed for a while into going into another coloc, therefore did the rounds of going round to people’s houses where it is more or less an interview where they decide whether you are worthy of sharing their airspace. One of the more memorable experiences being a 50 yr old Irish guy who contacted me and then when I got there told me I was charming but he was looking for a ghostly student who was never going to be around. WTF?? Why did he waste my time in the first place. However at least he had the courtesy of giving a reply albeit negative when most of them never do. The other advantage of a coloc was that I could scupper without too much hassle if I didn’t want to stay in the country and this is probably the biggest worry for me. As I have been toying with the idea of leaving so I knew that this could be a real possibility. Also after my bad experience of trying to disconnect from SKY back home after two years of subscription, I was scared of a similar fate befalling me once I started to get connected to things here.
However I thought even if I was only here for six months having my own place would not be a bad move.

So started scouting ads like a drug hound looking for a fix, pouncing on everything that looked remotely interesting within budget. Went through the agency route, big mistake. The french letting market have this thing where you have to provide a guarant. A guarant in short is someone that vouches that if you don’t pay your rent, they will be accountable for it. They would have to provide documents like bank statements, tax bills etc. So as someone with no ties to the country, I don’t have such a person. They do have things in place for people like me to have ‘official’ guarants but 90% landlords refuse to even have this mentioned in their presence. So every possibility was thwarted with the inevitable guarant subject rearing its ugly head. Therefore I decided to head down the private route which I thought would be easier because when you deal with people directly, you are not talking to some faceless agency but to someone you can plead and cry to.

Dealing directly with the landlord was marginally easier. I contacted a woman who was very pleasant on the phone and from the get go told her of my lack of guarant situation. She did not run off screaming which was a positive sign. So we had a rendezvous to see the appartment. While waiting outside the appartment a Smart Car pulled up and this heavily made up lady steps out. Her perfume knocked me out for six and she was standing across the street. She saw me and gave me the same once over that Fagan gave Oliver twist in their first encounter. It was a look filled with a mixture of curiosity, trepidation, excitement and a soupçon of opportunism. I regretted not wearing matching bra and panties because I was sure she could see right through my clothes. She had those kind of eyes. As she looked me up and down I was trying to take my eyes off her massive knuckle duster gold rings. If someone told me this woman owned a brothel and was heavily involved in human trafficking and the sex trade, I wouldn’t even flinch with surprise. She had that air of wilyness about her. She leads me into the appartment block and there the real adventure begins….

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January 25, 2009 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Uncategorized, Work | Leave a comment

Missing you

cheese Shamelessly pilfering from the lovely Liz’s  post about things I miss living in France and not surprisingly for everything on her list, I found myself going ditto especially the tea thing. They love their bloody tea infusions here, The vert, The vert avec menthe, Tilleul, Tilleul avec menthe anything has a variety with menthe. The French get very excited if the tea is apparently from a distant land and with an equally exotic label from so far away like The Inde, Japon. I wonder if Indians would recognise what the French think they drink. Anyway here are my list of things that I miss.

CHEESE
I don’t expect Liz or anyone else is going to agree with what I am about to say but I miss industrial style cheddar sometimes. I know, I know I am a foule but hear me out. I love the choice of the cheese I have here. The comte (18mths aged) with the grains of salt is my idea of heaven, the little chevre apperitifs you can get, the Saint Marcelin in a filo pastry basket with walnuts and dried apricots is to die for but there are times when all you want is some cheese on toast and I have not found cheese that melts like the cheddar we have at home. Emmental does not do the job, too rubbery. Good compte is too expensive and would not use that for a bit of a snack. Any ideas for good melty cheese on toast cheese would be appreciated. I tried making a Cauliflower Cheese today, everything was going well, my leeky cheese sauce was heavenly. Put the whole lot in the oven…as you do and it came out as this weird curdled milk looking mixture.  Culprit-cheese!!!!!

CHEAP SHOPS
Primark, Matalan, New Look, Pound Shops, Charity shops, Book shops – Yes they have clothes shops in France, course they do but it is hard to find cheap places to buy things. I don’t know if people back home realise how lucky they are with the choices they have. I need a kettle, I am skint back home I know I can get a cheapo one for a fiver at argos. No probs. Can’t do that here, well not easily. I need a shirt for work, I am skint well can get a cheapo one from ASDA for £2.50, done deed. You get the point, the variety of cheap places is immense at home. However the French don’t seem to have a LOT of stuff therefore buy really good quality that last ages, if you don’t have the money for that it is not fun.

BRITISH BANKING
My bank has a penalty for using other banks cash machines if you do this more than a certain number of times a month. I can’t change my PIN number to what suits me, I have to use the one given to me. If I lose my card, not only does it cost a hefty sum for a replacement, but I have to sign a declaration, send it to them and wait approximately 10 days to get a new card. There is no sense of urgency about the fact that the holder will have a lack of funds available.  Also I can only deposit money in MY branch which is not possible. So you can’t really deposit cash. I will never moan about British banks again as I see how I have been taking them for granted.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Uncategorized, Work | 3 Comments

Guilty Pleasures (1)

One of my unfulfilled ambitions is  to be a dancer. I am a bit too old in the tooth to set the world of dance alight but I have every intention of living my dreams through my poor unsuspecting future children and being the stage mum from hell 🙂 If anyone knows how to convince a little boy that doing ballet and contemporary is totally ok, even though the idiots at school might pick on him please let me know, so I can be prepared for that inevitable eventuality. Kids are cruel!!

Back to my guilty pleasure numero uno. So you think you can dance (SYTYCD), this show leaves me in awe, envy, admiration, tears etc. I watched it on Living TV in the UK but thanks to YOU TUBE (loving your work) since I have been in France I haven’t totally missed out. Watch these and tell me it does nothing for you.

1. This is just breathtakingly beautiful to watch. This is the reason why my son WILL, I repeat WILL be a dancer (she says with a manic look in her eyes as she froths at the mouth).

2. Freaky, fun, and funky. One of my favourite choreography on the show. Love it!!!!!!

3. SEXXY

4. Brilliant Choreography from the best in my opinion (Mia Michaels)

5. Variety is the spice of life.

6. This is from the Ellen show. Check out the latin dancers, poppers and breakdancers. Geez!!!

7. Some that just boggles the mind and body

November 16, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Music, Rant, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

He did it !!!

obama1For the past few days, I have been reading and listening to the election forecast polls, as the time was getting nearer and the people on the TV were talking as though Barack Obama would be the new president. I couldn’t bring myself to think it was possible, and hoped it would happen. I mean I thought the nearest in my life I would get to see a black guy as president was watching 24. However I woke up this morning and switched on my computer and saw his picture in front of the American flag with the caption ‘THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE USA’. I felt goosebumps all over my body, and just stared at my screen and kept saying ‘Holy Shit, it is true, he did it’. I felt strangely emotional and I knew I would be happy but I did not think I would feel the sort of emotion that I felt. Then I saw a picture of him and his entire family in Chicago and that just threw me over the edge. I spent the whole day not able to concentrate on work but just smiling like a crazy person. I just wanted to go home and watch the news and listen to his speech and the nations reaction.

I don’t know him, I am not a citizen of his country but I felt so proud of this human being. However I have to say as well as being proud of him, I felt so proud of America as a nation. I like many never thought they would vote for a black guy, (mixed race to be more accurate) but they did. What makes me even happier is that I strongly feel that the reason he was chosen was not his primarily about his colour but the fact that he promised change. Americans I feel have been hurt by the cock-up of Bush’s administration that if an armadillo stood up and promised change they would vote for it. This is not taking anything away from Obama (as if I would) but the majority of Americans want change and they are don’t care what colour or creed the person that will bring that change is, as long as he makes positive changes. Even ice queen Condeleeza Rice looked bewildered and moved in her speech.

This sounds cheesy but this election is so monumental because what it has done is to show people of All colours, wealth, religion that you can achieve big things if you put your mind to it. Today I tried talking to my French colleagues about some the events and they really didn’t give a toss. The common reaction was ‘God I am glad it is over, all I have heard is about elections’. Their is some serious displeasure that their news and TV programmes have been saturated with US election news, and there is relief that they can go back to hearing about all things French. I can understand this because it has been US election crazy here, even the daily news entertainment/magazine type show here ‘Le Grand Journal’ have moved their entire set to New York for the week including their weather girl who is reporting on French weather from New York, ludicrous. However it seems that the French think the world does not exist outside France. One colleague said ‘I don’t care what happens over there’. Ermm you should bloody care because as someone quite cleverly stated, ‘If the US sneezes, there is a chance the rest of the world will be in bed with a cold’. I don’t think that the US is the best country in the world (apart from at this moment of course :-)) but there is no denying that they have a huge influence in the world.

Anyway I have to say watching the John McCain speech, my heart went out to him. You could see he fought for this so bad but he really had no chance with the legacy that was left by Bush and he did not do himself any favours by picking Palin as his running mate. People can’t over the fact that if the poor man kills over they will have a woman who thinks Russia is in her back garden as President.

Now as we look forward, even if you didn’t support him, pray that he does great for his country and delivers on his promises.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, Family, France, Rant, Uncategorized, Work | Leave a comment

Hold the mirror up to yourself

 My last post was a bit premature methinks…. As I came out of hibernation, I went right back. Why because to be perfectly honest, there has been nowt going on. However I have been reading the blogs as always. I heard something recently that made me think a lot and I thought I ought to share (Be proud Oprah be very proud). The summary was what we don’t like in others, we don’t like in ourselves. I am not sure what to make of this because there are some qualities in people that I really don’t like and I know I am totally the opposite. I like to think I am very self aware 🙂 So I decided to make a mental list of my defauts (as the French like to call it) and share them with you. I feel a bit exposed listing my ‘defaults’ but I admire other bloggers who are honest, and think it is brave and I am taking comfort in the fact that no one I know personally will read this. Yes I am a big chicken. Here goes:

  • I give up WAYYYY too easily. Which means I am one of those people that tries things, if it gets too hard or looks like it will be hard, will abandon it and move unto something else.
  • I REALLY care what people think but pretend I don’t.
  • When I am wrong it is hard (virtually impossible) for me to admit it. I will argue the shit out of my point, knowing full well the other person is right.
  • When something is done to upset me by someone else, I am too scared to say something about it in case they stop liking me.
  • I hate that I am not tidy. I can’t keep tidy. My room, my car, helluva mess. When I try to tidy, it still looks messy. I have no organisational skills.
  • I get upset when people don’t invite me to things but when they do I find a way to avoid going (Yes I know, I am weird).
  • I don’t seem to have any self-control/discipline.
  • I can hold a grudge for a longgggggggggggggggggggg time. No I mean longggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg time and I totally sweat the small stuff.
  • I can be manipulative (hate this so much).
  • I buy a lot of things I don’t need just to possess it. Wasting a lot of money. I am bad with money.
  • I seek and need validation.
  • I hate asking for things that I am within my rights to because I don’t want to be perceived as a pest – this one comes from knowing someone who demands so much it is exhausting and in an effort not to be like that I go the other way.
  • It is important to me that people think I am clever.
  • I can be quite selfish

I am not going to tag anyone to do this but if you are brave enough and want to put your business out there like I have. Feel free. I recommend it, it is quite therapeutic to get it out. If you do use this on your blog, and you are not on my list of blog links, please tell me so i can pop over to your blog to have a look!!!

  • Oh forgot one, I am well nosey 😉

Disclaimer: I didn’t copy this idea from anywhere but it seems other bloggers have done a similar thing, so here are some of them.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Romance, Work | 2 Comments

Coming out of hibernation

It has been a while, a long while because like with what seems to be the entire population of France, I am on holiday. Back home and enjoying the schizophrenic (sp) summer weather. I have been doing the usual catching up with friends thing, which is always nice. Some of the niceties of being back include:

  • Observing a punk with the highest mohican in the world get on the tube and no one bats an eyelid (so cool)
  • Having conversations where I understand every single word
  • Getting my fix of trash TV (mainly imported from the States, no offence guys) and not feeling guilty. [Aside: Ladies, would you go on TV to test up to 8 guys to ascertain the paternity of your child?]
  • Double Sausage and Egg Mcmuffins, Nandos Veggie Pittas and Curry
  • Boots, Superdrug and One pound shops

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Work | 1 Comment

Holy Moly!!

 I am tickled pink right now and do you know why? I am now a published author. Okay I shall explain. I don’t know if any of you regular readers remember this post. Well lo and behold, my blog entry made it into the book. I am so excited, I think I might just cry or pee my pants. O what the heck I think I might just do both. The frustrating thing is that no one in the world knows that I have this blog, so I can’t share the news with any of my friends and family. That really sucks big time. But part of me enjoys having this little secret of my own. However when you get good news, you tend to want to share it. Well I am sharing it with you all.

My excitement aside this book is for a super good cause, War Child and I feel proud to have contributed to this. The amazing Peach organised all this with the assistance of four other bloggers. The book costs £12. 50, of which £6 goes to Warchild and the rest mainly goes to the production. However if you buy it as a download, a whopping £10 goes to Warchild. You can purchase the book from here. So go on buy a copy, you know you want to.

Right I have some tears to mop and knickers to change.

June 12, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, Family, France, Rant, Uncategorized, Work | 2 Comments

Accessory to Infidelity? Part deux

In the morning following J’s return from her guitar strumming hippie fest, the atmosphere was so dense, you could cut it with a knife. This had nothing to do with the folded up blankets on the couch. This was more to do with J’s annoyance that G knew she was going to be back last night but was not home to paricipate in some kind of welcome-home-I-missed-you ritual. To add insult to injury, G stumbled in at 0230 in the morning.

In the morning, G got up first to Girl’s astonishment as she was the one out on the lash the night before. Girl promptly informed G that J had inquired as to who slept over here. The breakfast table was a bit of an awkward affair for Girl, as she could sense J’s annoyance at G, and G’s awareness of J’s annoyance. The day before J had told Girl that G had not called or sent a text while she was away, which also annoyed her and gave her the impression that G did not miss her or frankly give a shit. J had asked Girl if G was away alot at the weekend. Girl who is hating this replies that G has been ‘in and out’. 

Donc, back to the breakfast table. The moment Girl has been dreading came up, J asked who stayed over. G with a coolness that Fonzie would be proud of informs her it was Melissa. At this point Girl takes a more than usual interest in the jar of Nutella that was in her sight. The nutty smell is the key to this sinfully glorious spread. Wow!! Girl marvelled at the unsurprising 530 calories that was in a 100g of this stuff. So what does that make a teaspoon. As Girl was spreading a possible 530 calories worth of Nutella on her Wasa (Ryvita type thing), she casts a furtive eye at J to gauge her reaction. Girl swore she saw a lump form in J’s throat. Girl cannot bear to look at G. J with the quiet dignity of a Tudorian Queen sips her coffee, and acts as if she has been told that she has a piece of fluff on her jumper. The sense of hurt is palpable.

Alone with G, she looks at Girl and cheerily informs her that J was fine about it. Girl asks G if she really thought that J was not bothered, which from her reaction she knew she was. So Girl was relieved that there was no throwing of sharp objects but something tells Girl that if G had messed with half the French rugby team and half the netball team, J will not go anywhere. The power of love aye!!

May 14, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Music, Rant, Romance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Accessory to Infidelity?

 Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in a beautiful appartment with a couple, Jill and Gillian. One weekend J  went away to a music festival to listen and play music with other like minded music loving hippies. A couple of hours after J left, G was sad and upset because she was missing her girlfriend. This sadness did not last long because G went out partying all night long.

At 5am Girl was awoken by soft music and chit chatter. Girl was not pleased at having her sleep disturbed but used the opportunity to answer a nature call, Girl went downstairs and G looked deep in intimate cosy conversation with a strange woman, who Girl was later to learn was called ‘Melissa’. Girl felt like a little girl who has just caught mummy doing something with someone that wasn’t daddy. Girl did not witness anything physical, as in PHYSICAL but could sense there was something happening that would not be happening if J was around, that’s for sure.

Next morning, Girl awoke to find Melissa sleeping on the couch. Luckily G was not with her, now that would have been awkward. Melissa woke up shortly after and went upstairs to see G, who was in bed. That definitely would not happen if J was home. She stayed a while upstairs with G then came down got dressed, ate some cereal and left. Girl looked at G, who had the guiltiest smile plastered on her face. Girl demanded an explanation for this brazen display of sluttery. Gill said M was infact an ex-girlfriend and said nothing happened. Girl didn’t believe her but G was insistent. However if nothing happened, could the same nothing have happened if J was home. Girl asked G whether she was going to mention this ‘innocent’ event to J, G was not forthcoming. So Girl said she wouldn’t mention it to J as it was not my place to do that. However following deeper conversation Girl finds out that G is in fact really attracted to a guy she works with. WTF?? Girl wonders if she is living in a bad soap opera.

J comes home while G is out partying as she has been all weekend and sees the folded-up blankets on the couch. G promptly asks Girl who stayed over at the weekend, Girl felt lump in her throat and expertly avoided answering the question the first two times J asked it. The third time was not easy to escape answering, so Girl vaguely said she couldn’t remember what the person’s name was. Damn G why didn’t she get rid of the damn evidence. So now Girl feels that there is some shit going to hit the fan and is not at all happy feeling like an accessory to this.

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Music, Rant, Romance | 2 Comments

Should I stay or should I go

 Recently I decided to get more pro-active on the new job search front, so I sent my CV off to agencies and applied online for jobs that in reality I don’t think I have a rats arse of getting but hey, I am in a ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ mood.

Well a few days ago I receive a phone call from one of the agencies I had sent my CV to and the lady on the other end said she just needed to ask me a few questions.

  1. Did I realise that the agency and jobs that they recruit for is based in <insert another European city her>? Response: yes
  2. So I am willing to relocate? Response: yes
  3. How quickly am I willing to relocate? Panic as this was not an expectant question, actually this was not an expectant call, FULL STOP!! Response: 3-4 weeks (kick myself after saying this)
  4. What was my expectant salary bracket? Response: Well let me put it this way, after rushing home to look at the agency’s site and the pay brackets of the jobs advertised, if i doubled my figure, they wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. So kicking myself for original response to this question.

Anyway I have a phone interview scheduled for next week. Now I have been mulling over this predicament for a while and I have a few questions of my own.

  1. Am I really willing to relocate again? I love the city and country I am in but my job is not the greatest, but I am making great strides with the language learning thing, which was one of the main reasons for being here in the 1st place. But the job prospects here suck. But it means starting all over again if I leave.
  2. What if I really get offered a job that pays shed loads? You wouldn’t believe this but this actually scares me, and it scares me because I think it is a strong possibility (not meaning to blow my own trumpet but hey). And also a job that pays shed loads tends to have have a shed lots of responsibility and problems. Am I ready for that?
  3. What would my flatmates think? Okay this one is one of my main worries believe it or not because one half of the couple is going off on a six month ‘finding myself adventure to developing countries’  trip and I am here for rent and company for the remaining one, so I would feel really crappy if I left them in the lurch.

Quite rightly some of you are thinking, but you have not been offered a job yet, so what is with all the ‘What if’ questions. Sorry but I am that kind of girl, I need to know what I would do in the case of any eventualities. Well I have some questions for you dear reader:

  1. If you were offered an interesting job and the pay was okayish (not talking big bucks here) would you relocate?
  2. If you were offered an interesting job with great money, with the circumstances that I mentioned e.g flatmates, leaving lovely city, would you go?

 

May 8, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Work | 1 Comment