Friday, 24 April 2009

save money, wash your clothes the night

After our hideously expensive electricity bill the last time I almost fell off the sofa. I had never before paid so much. I decided to test out using the timer on our washing machine so it starts after midnight when electricity is almost half price and voilà, just got our next bill and we've saved about 14€ in 6 weeks. That's by just using the washing machine between midnight and 8am.

If your washing machine has a timer, try it out!

NB, not advised if you live in an apartment where you risk to wake up the neighbours by the vibrations! hehe

Thursday, 23 April 2009

today's things

1. I washed J's (urrm, I mean 'our') car today in honour of going to Wales tomorrow. It was done in damage limitation tactics as the car is filthy all the time due to the building site at the end of the road. I am permanently ashamed of how dirty the car is so I thought I should clean it before my Dad saw it. It's funny how wanting to please (or not disappoint) your parents never seems to go away with age. I was thus incredible shocked how much I enjoyed washing the car. I spent over an hour on it, soap, scrub, rinse, buff, dry. Don't tell J, he'll be asking me to do it all the time. It's out secret ok?! There will no doubt be an 'inspection' later where he will search for the missed fly poop etc etc. In his job he has to check the work of others all the time to make sure it's done correctly, and sometimes voire often, he brings his work head home and I'm on the receiving end....

2. Two teenage boys knocked on the door an hour ago and asked me about a 'caz' or something like that. I said I didn't understand what they meant, they repeated 'caz' again louder this time, I insisted that I didn't understand the word, what is a 'caz' and they said 'a caz'. agghhh. They tant pis'd me and moved onto the next house. It still tickles me the reaction of people when you don't understand that they are saying. Shout louder and then she'll get it. haha. I think it was some sort of lotto game where you pick a 'caz' and if your number comes up , you get some money, but I guess I'll never know now.

3. I'm getting my hair cut this afternoon and then I'll start packing for the trip home tomorrow. I can't wait!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

hold the fire, some good news at last

A friend of mine said to me last week over a very large glass of beer that it was about time I had some good news, that my marathon of bad luck and/or encounters with French admin had to come to an end at some point.

Well, it did, last Thursday in the form of a 'Yes'. The woman at the MEF was so appalled by the treatment received from the Education Nationale that she did the impossible and arranged that I get a bilan de compétences paid for by the MEF. She said it only happens in exceptional cases. She also said (and I felt this needed to be documented) that she is ashamed when she comes across this type of admin nightmare, because it gives France a bad name. :o I didn't know whether to cry or hug her. I did neither I'll add. She sould have been freaked out.

So, yes, I should be getting my 20 hours of talking and testing (as Milam has put it). I am worried that there will not be that moment where angels cry hallelujah and a light bulb appears where I decide on my vocation in life, but I am going to make the most of all 20 hours. It's my only real chance of change and opportunity to discover other job options. The only slight problem is that I'm waiting on the call from the bilan people and I'll be out of the country as of Friday for a week. Sod's law they'll ring next week eh?! For the moment, I'm just thrilled to have has the go ahead, let's concentrate on that.

It's super sunny outside today, I'm on holidays (yes, a real difference from the last 4 weeks imposed holiday re: the blockade) and will be going home on Friday to see my parents for a week. It's my birthday too next week. and my bum hurts from gym squats. There, finally some good things to write about for a change.

Bon aprem everyone!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

shoot me now

It's not very pc I'm sorry, but they shoot lame horses to put them out their misery. I'm that lame horse today.

The most cutting, heart trampling phrase left the lips of the director of human resources today at the uni.

'hhmmm, you have very little work experience, you're 25 you say.....hmmmmm'

Ouch. I wanted to leap on the table and say 'so, working for four years for the poxy French government plus lots of other student type jobs before is worth nothing?' followed shortly by 'well, is it MY fault that I am only ALLOWED 7 month contracts as an assistant, 12 month contract as a lectrice? Followed by 'France is so backward' followed by 'am I good for nothing at the hideously old age of 25?

Instead I smiled sweetly, fought back the urge to cry, and took the stupid appointment she 'so kindly' offered me for next Tuesday where she will be able to direct me to a career, with my ahem, 'very little work experience'.

I'm tired, I'm drawn and internally crushed. I orginally went to see her for the bilan de compétences....yes they do do them, but mademoiselle, with your status, you won't be granted one. and Mademoiselle, a bilan won't help you decide on a career path, that only comes from you. Come back next week and I (HR at a uni) will help you decide which career path to take.

Are they recruiting for SDFs?

big fat sigh.
all wine and chocolate donations, oh and addresses for knackers yards greatly welcome

Friday, 10 April 2009

When will I...?

When will I be more content with my life here in France? I'm asking myself this quite a bit at the moment and I'm scared of the possible answers.

I REALLY want to make a go of things here but the thing is, I've been saying this for YEARS. Nothing much has changed in all that time.

Yesterday my frenchie left the house at 7am and got home at 10:30pm. As I'm at home all day at the moment because of the continuing blockade at the uni, believe me, yesterday dragged. Yes, I did my usual paperwork chase (current projects - get degree validated in France to help find a job and bilan de compétances, the ultimate paperchase) but still it was horrible in the evening. 

Today he technically finishes at 12noon what with the 35hour working week but he's yet to come home at 16h50. I would joke that maybe he's cheating on me but it's not that. He's working loads and loads and this just reminds me how little I'm doing and how hard it is to do ANYTHING.

I'm terrified that when I get my degree validated, it'll come back that it's not even recognised in France ie, I don't have a higher education. If that happens, I honestly think it'll be the last straw.

As for the bilan de compétances, I have luckily found a great lady at the MEF in Amiens that is fighting my corner. She spent 40 mins on the phone yesterday to the Rectorat/chamber of commerce in order to get some info on if I have the right to get the bilan paid for me by the government. In theory 'yes' as my employer, but we all know the public service has other ideas. She was passed to 5 or 6 different departments and buildings, each time repeating herself like a parrot. In the end she gave up. No one was capable of helping her, she kept being questioned on my motives and in the end she just said to me blankly 'I now understand why you are so unhopeful and sad'. Yes indeedy. She got the raw end of the admin nightmare I live daily.

She assured me that this behaviour wasn't normal (ha, if only she knew) and that she was going to do all she could to help me. She gave me a list of things to read up on about or go and ask about and we have another meeting in a week. I've tracked down the person who deals with bilans at the university (result, not shorter than miraculous) but she hasn't replied to my email or the message I left with her colleague. There's a surprise.

I'm not hopeful that I'll get the blessed bilan, but at least I found a human being that is nice and French at that. Shame she's only doing her job. Something that I rarely come across here all the same.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Wales forgotten by Sarkozy

You all know my struggle to get my country recognised in France. Yet again yesterday I had another conversation where someone thought Wales was in Ireland.

My mum sent me this a while ago. It seems Sarko has forgotten about us. Just don't tell the French prime minister's wife...she's Welsh too. and comes from a town very near mine.

Names scrubbed out to keep my hometown a bit private. Sorry it's a bit small. Think of it as an eye test.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

and so what's the deal Mr Blocus?

The blockade is still on. Well, I think it is as I've given up going in only to be told that it's continuing. I didn't go into work yesterday and no one has informed me that it has been lifted....I'm still in my pj's and this is directly linked to the blocus.

Formula: More time off spent doing nothing because of blockade = more lazy I become.

I've been spending my time at home stressing about my future (no change there), dealing with admin (ditto) and abusing the internet connection (tritto).

and who says that my life in France isn't exciting?! ;o)

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The curse strikes again

I'm in the middle of trying to get things sorted. My life needs a shake up and what is the worst thing that can happen when you are eager to turn things around? Yep, you guessed it, French admin/fonctionnaires.

Today in exactly 3 minutes I was meant to have RDV number 2 with the fonctionnaire who gave me hope last week but alas, she rang this morning and left and answer machine message to say that she hadn't had time to study my folder and that she would like to put back the RDV a week. *sigh* Surely she is paid to get things done? To have the time? Don't get me started there... Since she left the message I've been trying to ring her back like she asked to confirm that next Thursday would be ok, and *double sigh* she's not picking up!!!! aagghhhhhh

So, I donne my langue au cat and am trying orientation centre number 3 this afternoon that has been suggested to me. The BUIIO. Where students go to get help. Third time lucky right?

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