The amazing race

first day of orientation undergraduates were sent on a scavenger hunt as a bonding activity & way to familiarize themselves with the city. the graduates snickered, thinking how cute/thank god we don’t have to do that.

little did we know, we get one all to ourselves. except it isn’t in search of croissants or a metro card, rather we are asked to find & process as-of-yet unheard-of documents required for us to make the transition from visitors to residents.

and i thought getting the visa was the hard part……. pish!

upon arriving in paris, i was a walking advertisement for Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. first was food, shelter, sleep and a shower. after sprinkling in some talk time with family and friends, i thought i was good to go. Oy vey…

imagine for second what it might be like setting up your life from scratch… finding wifi, setting up e-mail, getting a bank account,  a cell phone, a metro pass, an apartment, registering for classes, sorting out student loans, etc.

then imagine doing that in only two days… in french.

as could be expected, the french were sure to make assimilation as challenging as possible. between the ambiguous information/directions provided by officials, and having to navigate mind-numbingly inefficient systems & processes–the last few days have been more than a lesson in cutting through red tape, it has been full-blown initiation.

my friends and i keep waiting for the film crew of the amazing race to pop out and exclaim, “first one across the finish line with a cell phone and an apartment WINS!

needless to say, it hasn’t been easy. but tomorrow morning, when i finally have my french iPhone in one hand and my flat key in the other, i’ll know i’m a member of french society.

and gd-it, i earned it!!!

for a peak into the joys of french bureaucracy, check out this clip from one of my favorite movies, L’Auberge Espagnole (it’s spot on):

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  1. Mommasita
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    the video is “blocked to our country.”

  2. christine
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    that’s too bad – you should watch the movie though, it’s in my dvd case in the box of stuff to ship. great movie, and the entire opening sequence about him navigating eramus is how my life has been for the last 3 days :)

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