found a home

After several more weeks since the last entry, I was finally able to acquire a wonderful place to stay in university housing for families and graduate students. Although I am far from being a graduate student, I am grateful that I was able to receive such a cozy spot. It is further south than the centre-ville. But that’s quite alright since most of the places are within walking distance.

Once the housing was established and contract made, the next step was to purchase the plane tickets. This part has been quite difficult as the prices were great in February, but I did not feel confident in fully investing at that time, so I waited. And sometimes, the waiting game for airline tickets can be cost-effective and other times it is a complete waste of time. Well, despite searching for the best options, I settled on a direct flight to Paris out of Dallas. Not ideal as there is extra travel both ways, but the objective is still the same: get to France by any means possible at a price that is not exorbitant. Date set for departure. Housing set. Now it’s a matter of settling the visa and other hosting paperwork.

To be honest, my biggest concern now is whether I should pack books and which ones. Some folks advised against bringing extra ANYTHING when researching under such an award. But to be without certain key texts to my research seems outrageous. I will allow myself until July to make a decision on the books situation. In the meantime, I must prepare to have a garage sale to bring in just that little bit of extra income to help with the transition.

searching for a home

I have spent weeks trying to narrow down the best spot for us to live. The plan is to be as close to the school as possible, but also cost is a factor as I am on a fixed income for 5 months. I made a slight mistake in the process when I sent information over to an immobili√®re. I was ignorant of the fact that this French real estate agent would immediately initiate a contract for me to sign. This led to some less than sweet emails from him but I apologized profusely and requested to speak with him via an international call. Apparently, my phone plan is set up to do this without extra charge. Maybe I am paying to much on that one…? Anyway, I called him, speaking in my French-English mix so that I do not appear utterly ignorant and tried to remedy any sour feelings. He told me he has lived in Aix his entire life and that he would show me the area when I like, when I arrive. He again urged me to get the apartment, and I gracefully told him that I will need to continue to review all options. Over all, the conversation was smoothed out and I ended the call feeling like I had accomplished my first feat of international diplomacy. Oh, such small victories!

Earlier in the week, I showed the kiddo pictures from the French school’s cafeteria. They have their own Facebook page, for goodness sake! Our mouths watered and our eyes grew. With each delightful photo, accompanied with a description of the local ingredients, we gleefully dreamed together about our taste buds playing in the future. He is getting excited, I think. But it is so hard to determine this when he too busy trying to be a cool tween boy on the brink of massive brain and body growth. I do believe, however, that this journey to France with him, will change our lives forever, and for the better.

Currently, I am waiting to hear back from university housing, crossing fingers and hoping that they could offer accommodations that are more fitting for both my budget and my work.

Aix in History

Here’s something else: there is a building in Aix that has something unique engraved on its railings. It used to be a brothel. Now, people live there in regular, boring apartments.