Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Luck of the Irish...

...Apparently I don't have it. Maybe I should have worn green today.

Normally Thursdays are a good day for me, but today has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. The beautiful, sunny, warm weather we've had the last few days has been replaced by the cold, rainy, windy bs we usually have. Thumbs down for that. And then there's just been a whole host of other trials and tribulations that have decided to rear their ugly heads this morning. And it's only 10am. Sheesh.

I overslept and didn't have time for coffee this morning. Lesson learned: never go to work uncaffeinated. The kids in my only class today also learned an important lesson from this: don't test Sara when she is not caffeinated. Normally I am pretty relaxed with them, as they are generally a good class, but today I had no patience for shenanigans. They had their whiteboards out and were practicing writing the numbers in English, but three students in the back of the classroom were drawing and giggling and showing each other their work. Normally a dirty look from the front of the classroom is enough to stifle this, but today I just wasn't having it. So I walked over to them and politely informed them that if they preferred to draw, rather than participate in the lesson, they could do so in the hallway. I told them that I didn't travel 5000 miles at my own expense to teach them to draw, and that if they wanted to waste time they could waste their own, not mine and their classmates'. Fortunately the teacher backed me up on this (sometimes I think she hates me, so I never know where I stand with her), and out to the hall they went. I kicked it old school and even made them stand with their noses touching the wall. Perfect behavior from the rest of the class for the rest of the period. I hate to be the mean teacher like that, and it doesn't happen frequently, but these kids are old enough to know better, and they only act like this on Thursdays. I see them on Tuesdays with a different teacher, who is much more, shall we say... authoritative... than the Thursday teacher, and they don't dare misbehave in front of her.

After class I had to try to sort out a bank snafu. Everything to do with the banks here is a snafu. I think the military created the term "snafu" just for the French banking system. "Situation Normal, All F*cked Up." Yep, sounds about right. You see, to do anything... anything with a bank account here (other than withdraw money from an ATM), you have to go to the specific branch at which you opened your account. Mine is relatively close to my house, but did I mention that the banks are only open 4 days a week? Yep, Tuesday through Friday, and sometimes on Saturday mornings, but only if they feel like it. Oh and they close for 2 hours for lunch every day, which is generally when I actually have time to go to the bank. Convenient, right? Today I was trying to sort out PayPal. I wanted to open a PayPal account with my French bank account, so that I can transfer my last paycheck into my American bank account from home, instead of waiting around here for it for another two weeks after I finish teaching. When I set up my American account, all I had to do was wait a couple of days and then check my transactions online to verify that PayPal had properly accessed my account. Not the same in France, of course. For my French account I had to print out a form, fill it out, write a letter, and enclose a RIB (an official statement of my account info) before mailing it all to my bank and then checking my transactions online to verify. Sounds like a pain in the @$$, but doable, right? Well, it's more complicated than that. For one, I don't have a printer. This means I have to wait until a Monday to print the form, because that is the only day I have time to use the computers/printer at school. But I can't mail it on Monday because I don't have a RIB. I have to go to the bank to get a RIB, and the bank isn't open on Monday. I can't get a RIB on Tuesday, because I only have time on my lunch break, and the bank isn't open on my lunch break. I can finally get a RIB on Wednesday (and I did), but I can't just give my bank all the paperwork while I am there, because that would be too easy. I have to mail it. And I can't mail it on Wednesday, because the post office is closed for no apparent reason. This happens all the time, btw. So FINALLY today I got everything mailed, but since post (and everything else, for that matter) takes FOREVER in France, I suspect my info will not be received by the bank until the middle or end of next week. Then they will have to notify PayPal that they've received it, which will probably take another week or more, then PayPal will have to connect to my account, which will take a couple of days, then I will have to wait for those transactions to post to my online account tracker thing, which, judging by my past transactions, will probably take anywhere from 2 weeks to another month. In other words, I will be lucky if this is all worked out before I actually receive the paycheck in question. I love French bureaucracy... not.

Add to this the fact that I am out of American cigarettes again (disappointing), and apparently there is a city-wide shortage of the French equivalent of my brand, cause I can't find them anywhere, and there you have my reasons for being grumpy pants today. Fortunately I've got the weekend to look forward to, and my parents next week! Tomorrow is Mom's birthday, by the way, so give her a hug if you see her!


  1. I told your mom to bring you a fifth of Jack and a carton of Luckies. We'll see if she follows through.

  2. Your mom pawned the dogs off on me two days early. Lilly is laying with her head on my lap while I type. She says that she misses you and wants to slip you the tongue as soon as she sees you!