Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day4: wrestling with French bureaucracy

Well, today was rainy and I spent the morning preparing for the talk I will give on Tuesday. Then went online to check some Japanese store to get some Sake; I'm giving a little reception after the talk, in the spirit of "cultural exchange". I was told it is very unusual and I should absolutely do it. Then it occurred to me IRCAM is a government building and thought I could get in trouble serving alcohol (!?), and asked if it's OK. I got a "ROTFL" response (rolling-on-the-floor-laughing). When they stopped rolling they said, "Welcome to France!" I think I will go Sake shopping this weekend.

Husband came back from Picardie leaving the kids with his parents; kids are absolutely in the greatest hands and I am so grateful to the parents making my kids' stay wonderful, and letting me stay in Paris and work. We went to La Poste, the national post office combined with a bank where one of my husband's account has been. It's our European account so it's better for our IRCAM account settling here. Then we were met with this gigantic wall of bureaucracy taking a form of one chubby French bureaucrat in a purple shirt. Nothing against him or the shirt, but here is the verdict. Husband cannot ask for a credit card to his own account, because he doesn't live here. I cannot have my name listed although his name is on my Japanese passport, we have our marriage license (we got married in France), and we have the same home address in New York. We cannot close the account in Paris because it was opened near Nice where we lived 12 years ago. However there was no rule to DEPOSIT; I could deposit, but I cannot take it out! Only solution is for my husband to get a Debit card, AND for him to personally go to Nice and close the checking account (or do that by mail I guess).

Anyway, after that we went to IRCAM continuing setting myself up, today I attacked my IRCAM email/computer account. The formidable and very very nice computer scientist Laurant worked with me to come up with an iron-clad password; he said IRCAM system is directly connected to the highest level of security of the country, and has to be very good. After 5th or 6th rejection of my password Laurant finally approved, but didn't allow me to write it down. I confidently said "I have a photographic memory" and was OK. Then on the way out, of course I forgot. Oh well.

Before all this, we had a fantastic, my first Couscous meal in Paris this time. 18euro for all this, starting with a complementary Kir with a hot "amuse-bouche", followed by two courses then a desert with Thé à la Menthe. Heavenly....

Oh and yes I did make my usual stop to San Marina shoes store in Les Halles, while husband hit the Fnac and sipped his coffee. This is a church, so please skip this picture if you don't belong :) I can't help it myself!

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