Saturday, 6 November 2010

With a little help from my friends

Exactly, thank you Beatles.
Recently I've had help from the lovely ladies at work. I like to introduce some of my colleagues to you from time to time.

Meet Michelle. She handles lots of administrative things for the organisation. We've spent a fair bit of time together some work-days battling the famous French bureaucracy. I could NOT have opened a bank account or taken out car insurance without her help. Consequently I'm managing now to fit in a little better to french society and manage my own life to a limited degree. I can do internet banking (still teaching myself all that), use a Carte Bleue credit/debit card and I think I might be able to sort out a savings account to put the dreaded tax money into to meet the yearly bill.

This week Michelle and I spent ages trying to obtain car insurance for me. We had an idea how much it might cost but I couldn't afford it and Victoria said, no, you can get it cheaper. So Michelle and I did exactly that thanks to her negotiation skills. The car is insured, even though I don't have it yet, and I have taken out some personal accident insurance in case of disaster. Otherwise, I would have NO protection, would be possibly unable to work,or support myself anywhere. Accidents are not covered by the social security system here. Imagine what could happen to a new immigrant if they didn't take out personal insurance. It's another expense but essential. Once my belongings arrive I can insure them too.

Last night Camille invited me to her apartment. She lives right by the station so it was easy to get to her place. She's a beautiful young lady with a Masters degree helping to keep all sorts of projects under control at work. We had a lovely evening with me trying out a splash of Muscat and learning about convenience meals for when you are working and arrive home tired. She has a gorgeous little grey kitten called Nala (from the Lion King) which we played with and which got very naughty, in a cute way, with all the attention and excitement. I do miss having a cat but it's not reasonable for me to have one when I am not securely settled in France. We had some in-depth discussions in English and inserted some French from time to time. It was a lovely way to start the weekend even though I was feeling so tired.

Victoria looks after the international partnerships. We often have to work together on various tasks and that's likely to continue into the future. She speaks fluent French and good English. It was sh ewho gave up her personal time after work recently to take me shopping for curtains. That was an excruciating process but she was so patient and never complained. I learnt a lot about car insurance and all sorts of random stuff from her.

I'll introduce you to other good people as we go along and as I meet them. They are all very welcoming, helpful and generous. I'm already fond of them. That's important when you spend so much of your life at work.


Alison said...

Yes, good friends are truly the salt of the earth. :-)

Defogger said...

I am pleased you are establishing some France-based friendships, or I hope that is what they develop into. Crucial to have a support network, as well as social outlet.

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