I woke up this morning with a feeling of anticipation that I couldn’t shake. The owner of that apartment at Parmentier that I had looked at last night was supposed to call me back, and there was the owner of the place at Convention that was waiting to hear from me. I went about eating breakfast, showering and getting dressed. I was about to head out to a nearby park to use the city’s free WiFi (and wonderful thing, I must say), when I got a phone call.
It’s the owner of the place at Parmentier! He’s ready to give me the apartment. I need to make a bank transfer of the security deposit (2 x the rent, which is standard, alas) and the pro-rated rent for the last part of the month, and then we can meet this evening to sign the lease and get everything in order. YAY!!!1!
I told myself I wouldn’t start celebrating and text-messaging everybody until the ink on the lease was dry, and that I wouldn’t call the other owners and tell them I was no longer on the market until I had at least made the bank transfer. So I zipped to the UofC center, checked my mail for the owner’s banking information, and then headed over to my bank, LCL, to get the virement (bank transfer) taken care of. I could’ve done the virement over the internet, but the owner wanted a paper receipt from the bank with it’s stamp and so on, so I needed to do it in person.
And this is where French-style bureaucracy came into play. I show up at the bank, all of my documents in hand, and the guy at the front desk (kind of like a teller, but without cash) doesn’t quite understand why I would want to do a bank transfer in person. After explaining to him the circumstances, he told me that he didn’t know how to do virements. Keep in mind that this is something that I can do on my own online.
So, I would have to wait for one of the full-fledged bankers to have an opening. Of course, it was already 11h30, so they would probably be going for lunch soon, and lunch here is 2 hours long. So he took my phone number and told me he would call me, although realistically I wasn’t likely to get this done until 15h00 at the earliest. Ah, French efficiency in all its glory.
In the end, at least, all this got taken care of by 15h00 and I was able to call around and tell the other apartment-owners that I was no longer looking. I kept on working at the office until about 17h00, and then headed home and relaxed for a minute in front of the TV. By about 18h30, I called the apartment owner (work ended at 18h00 for him) and headed straight over to see him. By 19h30, the lease was signed and I had a new address.
Not quite yet ready to believe it, I walked down to the main métro station and grabbed a beer on the terrace of a café and started sending SMS messages to everyone I knew. I have an apartment! I can’t move in until Sep 22 and it’s on top of 6 flights of stairs, but I have an apartment!!
From there I headed home, stopped at Monoprix to get something dinner-like, and got ready to go out. Fantômette was going to be spinning at a bar later that night, and I was ready to party.
Fantômette (and some other guy) at On Cherche Encore
At around 22h00 or so, I headed over to On Cherche Encore and found Fantômette spinning downtempo and atmospheric tech-house for a crowd of people that were mostly dining. This bar doesn’t really turn into a standing-room, crowded bar until later in the evening, so I just came in, ordered a drink and headed over to see Fantô. After a few minutes of hanging out, other friends of hers started appearing and keeping her company near the turntables. Some of these friends I already knew, some of these I didn’t, but all of them were really fun and friendly.
I was in the mood to celebrate, so I’ll admit that my memory is a bit hazy after a certain point. I had so many mojitos that the guy at the bar started making one as soon as I approached the bar, and at the same time one of the girls I was hanging out with kept sharing her wine with me, which was kind but also a bad combination. By about 2h00, I made my goodbyes, staggered out of the bar, and headed home.
I made a valiant effort to figure out how the Vélib system worked (a city-run network of self-serve rental bikes), but I eventually gave up and started walking home. It’s not more than 30 minutes away from where I’m staying right now. On the way home, I passed by a Turkish kebab stand that was open, so I headed to the counter and ordered in Turkish. When the guy asked me how it is I came to learn Turkish, I said that I lived in Berlin before. He looked confused for a moment, and then I said, “I lived near Hermannplatz,” and then everything seemed to make sense to him. This kebab had precious little vegetables, but at least the meat was good and he smeared the bread with spicy harissa. Yay! I didn’t really need the French fries, though.