Things have been a little crazy since my arrival in Uzerche like finding a van parked in my livingroom or finding a jungle where my garden was supposed to be.
Then there’s the changing plans:
I thought I had a HelpX stay lined up but her current helper was able to stay longer than planned (and he was able to do some needed work) so that was postponed and I extended my stay at Hotel Ambroise.
Then I thought I had a homestay lined up but that became too complicated and somewhat sketchy (she expected me to jump through hoops to arrange payment for both deposit and rent up front before seeing the room – the contract only specified a street name not the actual address – there were inconsistencies in her communications – seeing red flags I decided to opt out).
I began getting a little worried. Staying in a hotel for months and trying to eat healthy meals was going to take me way over budget. I was beginning to look into rentals but without much luck up to that point.
I also need to complete my long stay visa requirements:
I had completed all the paperwork in the U.S. and my Visa de Long Séjour was stamped in my passport.
But there was still more to do when I arrived in France. I had to get a phone*so I could fill in the number for my paperwork. Once that was done I mailed in the form with a copy of my passport photo page and visa page.
I bought a boite de lettre (mail box) and installed it to wait for appointments for a physical and visit to the OFII (to bring in more paperwork). Instead of the letter for an appointment the form was returned due to an incorrect address. I had double checked the address before mailing but I checked again – it was the address supplied by the French Consulate in Los Angeles and the one posted on line !?!
I emailed the OFII both to check the address and to see if I needed an appointment to come in. The return email stated that the office had moved – I could just mail the form – an appointment was not necessary. I decided to take the form in to Limoges; I wanted to show that I had mailed it within a few days of arrival as required.
Keep in mind this had all happened within less than three weeks of arrival in France! So the expression “going batty” just might fit.
The problem is that it fit a bit too literally.
It’s rare for windows in Europe to have screens, most small hotels here don’t have air conditioning, and it had been unseasonably hot for the middle of June.
So to cool off the room before going to bed I had the windows wide open. I was just about ready to get in bed and a bat flew in the window. Well that certainly woke me up !
It circled the room a few times and showed no signs of heading toward the window but it did keep swooping down when it got close to where I was standing. I really didn’t like that so I thought I’d go into the bathroom and wait a while to see if it would go out. When I flipped the bathroom light on it immediately flew in there; when I turned it back off it flew back into the bedroom.
After a couple more flips of the switch I noticed it seemed to like the light. So I put my phone on flashlight mode, pointed it out the window and turned off the other lights. There was still a little light from the street lamp and I didn’t see it flying around. I turned the lights back on, checked the room, there was no sign of it, so I closed the windows.
It took a little while to unwind afterward, but at least I could sleep soundly.
* Note on phones: When I started looking into getting a phone in France I discovered my best option would have been to get one in the states before I left. It would have been possible to get a phone with dual sim cards making it easier for people in the U.S. to reach me while still being able to use the phone in Europe. I recommend anyone planning a trip to look into this far enough ahead to have the phone arranged before leaving.