We live in a tiny village in France 20 minutes from the border of Switzerland. It is a lot like Salt Lake City in that it is a valley surrounded by mountains, except these mountains are green. It is more humid here than in Utah but the scenery is very similar. That is one reason we love it so much.
Our town is one in a chain of several little villes with pastures for cows and horses. In fact, down the street we have a 24-hour organic raw milk vending machine. The after taste is exactly like a bite of gruyere cheese.
Our main mode of transportation is le bus. It takes John only 20 minutes to get to his school and it's a free ride because often the bus doesn't have a working ticket dispensing machine. However, it will take me 1.5 hours and two bus lines for a total of 16 Euro ($22) to get to my school in Annecy. Also I'd have to leave around 6:15 am to get to school by 9:30. We decided it would be a lot cheaper and more convenient to buy a car.
We looked at a few cars. One was an Audi but the brakes were touchy. This was the third car we looked at. It didn't start.
But after we got it to start, we took it for a long ride and found that she runs so smooth and quiet. It seems every car on the road in this country has the engine of a dump truck. They are so loud! This one is quiet and smooth. Also, she was only 400 Euro.
To you, she may be a bit rough on the eyes, but to us she is perfect! She'll need a little work done before we can register her and get her legal, but she's worth it! We're so excited. It's another step in the journey of becoming French.
Also we finally got these:
Our Carte Bleus. It's a French debit card. We waited THREE WEEKS for this. This is the key to everything. Well mainly the key to getting French sim cards for our phones. The key to data, Instagram and GPS and calling my husband when I'm lost in the streets of Geneva. In short, it's the key to survival.
Let me tell you the process for acquiring this card:
Day 1 Tuesday: (Bank closed Sat-Mon)
Spoke with a banker for 1.5 hours
Signed 7 pieces of paper
Brought originals and copies of
John's work contract,
my school schedule,
our marriage license
and our identification cards
Day 2 Wednesday: John drops off a letter from Cati and an energy bill
proving we live with her and this is in fact her house
End of week 1: John calls to make sure they received everything.
Week 2 Tuesday: we receive a letter saying what they said Friday when John called . . .
they've received our information
Week 2 later: We receive a letter with our online account sign in.
Sign in doesn't work.
Week 2 later later: We receive a letter saying our debit cards are ready
to be PICKED UP at the bank.
Week 3 Wednesday: Go to the bank with 3 letters.
They have our cards but can't give them to us
because they need 1 more bill from Cati.
Week 3 Thursday: We drop off the other bill.
Week 3 Friday: John calls the bank to confirm they received the bill
and we can pick up the cards.
we must come in before noon to make a deposit, or we can't pick up our cards til Monday.
It is Friday.
They don't take deposits after 12:00pm.
It is currently 10:30 am.
We scramble out of the house,
buy the car,
make it to the bank at 11:55 am,
park illegally in our new car,
Make a deposit
Get our cards.
To activate, we must withdraw money from the deposit we just made
at the ATM outside the bank.