I would love to tell all of you that life in France is perfect, that it's a dream, but no. Although Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it has more than it's fair share of frustrations. I will share with you one of my days in Paris to fully appreciate the trials and tribulations that go alone with living in a foreign country.
The tactile screen on my cell phone got spotty and ceased up all together just in time for my contract to end. I searched online for my new toy, the little pocket that contains my whole life. I made a chart and brought it to the store, already anticipating that they would be out of stock of my first choice. I was right. The store nearest my house has a sign on it, "Closed until March 9th for maintenance". There was not enough time that day to go to another store, so I survived that day and through the weekend phoneless. I've written about living in the dark ages here before, but I swear, history is alive and well in France. Visions of something between smoke signals and payphones danced in my head.
My doctor's secretary, being the genius she is, working on her Ph.d. in stupidity, called an left a message on my cell phone for my next appointment after twice, once live on the phone and once in voice mail, leaving my home phone number, she threw all rational thought out the window and left the information on my cell. When I called back to find out what was going on, she actually had the nerve to tell me she left a message on my cell. When I reminded her that my cell was broken, I swear I could hear the gerbil's feet scamper on the wheel. It nearly killed her to have to give me the information that she already left on my cell.
After surviving all of this nonsense, I walked to another store for help with my phone. It was difficult to enter, due to the ladder in front of the door. Every superstitious bone in my body made a run down of the current events. A woman greeted me. I began to explain in French when she noticed my accent and asked, "Parlez-vous anglais?" (For those of you still learning, that means do you speak English?) I said yes. She said she spoke English and that I could speak in English. I said, "Ok, my phone won't receive calls and needs to be fixed." She smiled and told me, "It's ok, you can speak at a higher level." I pondered this offer for a second or two then said, "My phone won't receive calls and needs to be fixed." I'm not quite sure what higher level of English she wanted for that if she didn't get the first message? She took my phone, called IT support. Then she asked me what the problem with my phone was. I repeated the, no incomming calls bit, going straight to voicemail." I waited some more, like a duck stuck in the muck. She asked which numbers went to voicemail. I, at first said, "my husband." She told me that his phone is probably blocking my call. I said, "No, it's my husband, mon marie!" She said, "Yes, it is probably his phone." My eyes bulged out of my head. I could actually hear some of my brain cells bursting until I said, "My doctor went to voicemail too." Everything stopped in an instant, as if my doctor were world famous. Your doctor went to voicemail, votre medicin?" she inquired. I replied," Yes him too and another friend." I heard her repeat in French to the IT person that it's not just the husband, but the doctor went to voicemail. Then she asked me to list the numbers. Well, gee, I needed my cell phone for that!" I did call my husband to have him call and prove the incomming calls were going straight to voicemail. After this fiasco, she hung up the phone to give me the diagnosis. She said, "Your phone should be working in five days. If not, come back and we will see what we can do." I looked at her and said,"Five days? What do you mean, five days?" She repeated and remained silent. I, being really frustrated, called my husband and asked her to explain to him 'in French of course). I heard what she said to him in french and what she said in English. I was certain there was just something I missed. After this, my husband said to come home and he would explain. I came home right away, eager to know what was going on. Once I arrived at home, he said, "They said your phone should be working in five days." I cannot tell you how infuriating it is when you understand something, but are lost in the shuffle, because it's not your native language. Luckily, my phone began to work that night and it didn't take five days. I share this with you, so for any of you that think of moving to a foreign country can prepare themselves for the difficulties they will enounter.