Monday, 30 June 2008

Today's crotte

I've just come back from a paper chase, a paperwork chase to be exact, and I'm empty handed. bien sur.

So, my working contract runs out today so I went to the jobcentre (assedic for those in the know) to sign up as unemployed so I can start to get paid unemployment benefit. In fact, i've been trying to sign up for the last three days on their website but each time it says that it can't register me and that I should phone up.

I rung up this morning and faced the ULTIMATE french test. I had to annonounce why I was phoning and by the magic of voice recognition they would direct your call. Ju had warned of this and said that if the machine didn't understand my accent, i would be put through to a real person (who would try to desiper me). I was(n't) reassured. So, congrats to me, the machine recognised my voice first time and correctly identified what I wanted!! Wooooo!!

Bad news though after that...the telephone sign up service is 'exceptionally' out of order today, so please use the internet. Well I would if it worked dumbass.

In despiration, ju picked me up and we went to the jobcentre only to be greeted by the rudest woman ever.

Hello, I'm a fonctionnaire (state worker) and my contract finishes today. I'd like to sign up
But you'll get paid until the end of August...
Not with my contract.
Not really believing me....(she knows EVERYTHING)
Oh, well, you must sign up online madam
I've tried, it doesn't work
On hearing my accent........
Oh, maybe it's because you don't have a social security number
Yes, I do
Oh, but it's not your own (she looks at Julien......obviously I have married a french man to stay in the BEST country in the world, and escape poverty in my own)
Yes I have my own social security number
Well, I can't help you. No one here can help, we do not sign people up in person. You will have to sign up online.
But madam, it doesn't work
I assure you it does

At that point I realised that we weren't going to get anywhere. We left, me, very angry.

Then I went to the rectorat (education dept) to get my papier jaune that I have to give to the jobcentre in order to get my unemployment benefit and was told I wasn't in the correct building...that primaire teachers have to go to the inspection academique instead. So, I go, even more cheesed off, to be greeted by another rude woman who announces that she can't magic the paper out of thin air and I will have to wait for it. Well, that was obvious madam, we are in France after all, but there was no need to be rude about it.

So, after being pushed pillar to post, I have come home with nothing. On the bus home, no one gave up their seat for an elderly lady...

I'm feeling pretty sad now. There is definately something wrong here.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Let me intruduce myself: Lectrice, formerly known as assistant

yes, it's official! I went to the uni this morning and the shiny lectrice contract is winging its way to me in the post!

As one door closes, another one opens....

I just had my last ever lesson as an assistant. Never say never I know, but I just had my last lesson at primary school. I was a bit sad to leave them as I really like the pupils at my Friday school, but with the fab news this morning about my next adventure jobwise, I couldn't be too sad could I?! I've promised to go back and see the teachers (and pupils) next year..It's not really adieu (goodbye forever) considering I live in Amiens. I'm not going anywhere just yet. Lots of the children gave me little notes with 'i love you' or 'thanks for teaching me this year' which touched me.

Right, I will have to go as we're getting ready to go to a wedding, my second in France. This time I'm well prepared for the marathon meal.... more on that in my next post i'm sure.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

La poste, pain in the poste-iria

Did I tell you the one where we bought a new letter box so to avoid going to the post office to collect my parcels (i get a lot....ration packs usually) I was not expecting what I have just returned home to find......a note from the post office telling me collect my parcel of a dvd. Grrr. My letter box was packed full of todays crap ie, shop magazines........ and so postman pat couldn't fit the parcel in. But get this...... today is Tuesday. I have the right to collect my parcel (2 km from my house) on ......SATURDAY. I'm sorry, is it going to be transposrted there on the back on an ant? 4 whole days in limbo. Not so amusingly we're not here this weekend. So, I will be able to pick it up at the first opportunity on Monday. If they're open on Mondays.....

PS, I have 14 days to collect the dear parcel before it is destroyed. nice touch.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

When being bilingual (ahem) means pimping out your keyboard

I recently had to accept that my system of plugging in a second keyboard into my qwerty laptop to make it azerty was being a pain in the arse, so I ordered keyboard stickers. I have just stuck them on and am totally disorientated!! So, when I change the language on my computer I now have to think....white or yellow?! What do you think?

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

found my camera!

So, here are a few photos of the house, minus bathroom and store room (hope you won't be offended!)

...and now, the end is near, and so I face the final....

...please add a word to the finish the sentence. I can't quite decide. I'm this close to finishing work and can't wait. The assistant chapter in my life is about to come to a close. It's been 3 years, I think it's time. Don't you? more on that later.

It's been yonks since I wrote. I have good excuses but the last excuse (that of being too scared to look on blogger and realising the enormity of the task) is not so good. Sorry.

So, my good excuses: We moved! Hurrah! We waved goodbye to the noisey neighbours and the rising damp at last. Unfortunately, with that, comes a whole lot of merde, of the French variety of course. I'm talking about PAPERWORK, and mountains of it. Change of address for anything and everything under the sun. To-ing and fro-ing of letters from organisations X, Y and Z to confirm and reconfirm I moved, not to forget the 'thank you for letting us know you've moved' letter from each X, Y and Z. So thoughtful of them, such a waste of time, money and effort.

The worst thing about moving was the lack of internet connection meaning no internet, cable tv and telephone. It was a verrrrryyyyyyyy long 5 weeks. Work was a nightmare without access, I had to resort to drawing all my flashcards and worksheets and I generally felt very out of control during this time. Also, not being able to ring my mum or my friends back home at no extra cost whenever I wanted was torture. Being France also, the time was elongated that it took to reconnect us. Julien just thought it was normal where I was tearing my hair out.

All us well now (after a few hiccups) and I can finally start to feel settled in our gorgeous F3. It's a terraced house, which are famed in Amiens, on 3 floors and it has two good sized bedrooms, one of which is my office, but has a sofabed in it, ready for visitors.

Work is almost over....6 working days and that's it. With it, a horrible thing is happening.....i'm seeing things with rose tinted glasses. Maybe the kids aren't so bad, maybe the teachers do support me, maybe they do care after all. eep. What's happened to me? I have to admit, the end of school concerts were great....I got classes to sing 'another brick in the wall' by pink floyd and 'Animal Fair' which I used to sing when I was little, and I felt so proud of them. I might put snippets on here if I find out how to upload videos. The classes are becoming so unbearble to live through though, it's almost funny. The children smell the end of year coming and as a result, there is almost nothing any one of us profs can do to control them except wish each other 'bon courage' at the beginning of each class. I'm crusing from this point on. Revision, the less noisey games and....I'm planning a party in each class for the last lesson. Great UK children party games. Pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs. It will probably turn into a nightmare, but I will try. I have been warned that the children won't accept the rules of games that they don't know and will probably sulk if they don't win, but don't all young children do that?!

In other news, we bought a hamster yesterday. It's been planned for ages but as I didn't want to fork out 60€ on a cage before buying anything else, so we'd been looking on for good deals on secondhand goods. We also found the ad for the hamster on there too. an excellent website if you haven't already come across it. Like ebay, but with a more local feel to it. Rocco (the hamster) is settling into his new home but is already causing problems....jeeze, the wheel is soooooooooo noisey!! I am sorry to admit, on his first night in his new home, his cage had to be bansihed to the store room at 1 am as I jusst couldn't sleep. Maybe I'll get used to it, maybe, the store room will become his new night time place of rest, we'll soon find out!! I will have to start taming him soon as he's only one month old and not that happy about our presence at the moment. again, watch this space!

Ok, long over due, I will (try to) post some photos of the house and of Rocco..... here goes....

and voila, just as I want to post some photos, I can't find the camera!! grrr. I will find it and post some photos soon. promis.

In the meantime, thanks to the other bloggers in France. I am going through a positive phase in my French life and a lot of strength comes from reading your blogs. It's so great knowing that I am not alone in this cheese eating tricolore place, and that our experiences are similar everywhere. Keep sharing the insight.

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