Silver Linings

November 24, 2006 at 10:53 pm | Posted in vie quotidienne | 8 Comments

I love Paris in the springtime
I love Paris in the fall
I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles
I love Paris in the winter, when it drizzles.

Yes, we all love Paris, but man, Frankie wasn’t wrong about that last line. It’s undeniably winter around these parts, and that means rain, rain, rain. And not those big, exciting extravaganzas of lightning and thunder that you get in the spring and summer — no, for the next four to six months, we’ll be treated to a steady, unrelenting grey drizzle.

bedroom window, rainy day

This is the view from my bed every morning for the past month. It’s also the view at mid-morning, lunch time, and mid-afternoon. By five pm, it’s pitch dark. As a result, I’ve more or less gone into hibernation mode: for some reason, I find it nearly impossible to wake up before 11 am. Usually I spend the day alternately editing and napping, then have a little soup in the evening and head back to bed — when the world is this grey and wet, leaving the apartment for anything more than a baguette requires a huge emotional investment.

This morning, however, we had a mission. Brumaire and I got up at a decent hour, wrapped ourselves in as many impermeable layers as possible, and slogged our soggy way over to Credit Lyonnais to open a French bank account.

I admit, our hopes were low as we trudged through the rain. After two months in France, we are becoming quite familiar with the endless bureaucracy involved in every official transaction — incomprehensible forms, contradictory instructions, endless demands for documents… We were fully expecting to come away from the bank with nothing more than an appointment for a later meeting, at which point we would surely be told we were lacking the correct documents, and we’d have to start all over.

But guess what:


We got a bank account! It turns out, French banking bureaucracy, although considerably denser than American banking bureaucracy, is no sweat when compared to French governmental bureaucracy.

They did, of course, ask us for an obscene number of documents and forms. But luckily, we had already assembled them all in our (still futile) attempts to get Brumaire his carte de séjour (work permit) — all we were lacking was an up to date electric bill. But the bank lady was so nice, she actually waived that requirement since we had two other utility bills. Can you believe that? They waived a requirement! Unheard of.

Despite the rain still beating against my windows, I can’t help feeling that this is truly a fine day for France. Who knows what may be next? The carte de séjour? A paycheck? Or perhaps even a day of sunshine!



  1. Hooray for evil things that seem good because they’re less RELATIVELY evil than very evil things!

    It’s said that San Francisco winters are like that, too. Not especially looking forward to it.

  2. In all fairness, the bank lady was really nice to us.

  3. dude what the fuck is up. against all odds I am ..uhhhhh ..still in chicago. mail me your fuggin email and phone number, I have a friend in paris who you should ‘party’ with.

    also you should rent this movie, ‘les pont des arts’ it came out like 2 years ago and is kind of boring , but there is this opera-singing scene that will seriouly nuke your balls off.

  4. I do hope that you got outside this weekend. The weather was gorgeous! I did yardwork. Fab!

  5. Really? I was out for a while on Saturday, but it was still raining a bit, and by Saturday night I had contracted a terrible sore throat. Of course, Sunday was beautiful, but I spent the whole day in bed, sipping tea and hot soup.

  6. Hey Amy, long time no hear! Sorry I’ve been a bit out of touch lately… I swear, I’m having a hard time just keeping up with the day-to-day grind anymore.

    I can relate to the paperwork and bureaucracy, so congrats on the bank account! Everything is just so complicated sometimes, and it’s nice when for once they can actually simplify things for you and do a SERVICE — I mean, God forbid anyone bend over backwards to help you here! So it’s such a breath of fresh air when it actually happens.

    Hope all is going well for you both. Did you do anything for Thanksgiving, BTW? I always find that that holiday comes and goes for me here, and I definitely start to miss my family more than ever at this time of year, but I’m never quite sure how to mark the occasion.

  7. Congratulations on your bank account! I agree that grey, wet Paris not exactly paradise, and I’m doing a bit of tea and soup sipping myself these days, on account of a chest cold. My hopes are set on Christmas decor and lights to cheer me up.

  8. Amanda —
    I know, I’m really looking forward to those Christmas lights this year. I’m sorry about your cold! I hope you didn’t catch mine at the wine study — if it’s any consolation, mine cleared up in just a couple of days.

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