Home > Everyday Life > Stop Licking the Envelopes!

Stop Licking the Envelopes!

Yes, I keeping the licking the back of the envelopes here in France when it is not necessary. They politely have a sticky on the back where you peel off the strip exposing the sticky and then press and seal.  So dignified.  My plebeian ways are in need to be refined.  In any case, I am true resident of France as this weekend I received a proper paycheck and already paid some of my bills.  I am truly at home.  Consequently I don’t have any big event to report but I will give an overall update.

Well I did have a slight moment of anxiety yesterday.  I was in my new apartment cleaning and getting my things in order.  It was a gorgeous day and I was admiring the people enjoying the beach from my terrace in the back of the apartment.  Unfortunately I was trapped in my place as my bed was scheduled to arrive that afternoon.  I was not about to leave and then miss the delivery guy and having to wait another week for my bed.  So I decided to check on things out front, looking over the street; curious to see if the delivery guy had by chance shown up.  Sea BreezeWell that damn sea breeze totally blew my front door shut with me still on the outside.  My keys were inside the apartment because I was just stepping out for a minute or two.  Interestingly I didn’t panic, but I did become anxious about the bed.  I was so determined to get this bed in my apartment and didn’t want to have any barriers.  So I was occupied of how to get this front door open before the delivery guy shows.  (Mind you I wasn’t at all concerned about my own well being, just this bed.)  I literally leaped onto my front window but as typical in France there are metal bars preventing forced entry.  Even skinny me could not slip through the cracks.  Then I quickly check to see if my neighbor happened to be home.  Praise God he was.  Of course we never had a chance to formally introduce ourselves until this point when I am explaining in French – “Um, my front door is shut and locked, would you mind if I walk through your place and climb over your terrace wall?”  The guy laughed and welcomed me in but his girlfriend totally looked at me with “what the hell . . .”  Naturally I didn’t stay to visit but gracefully became Spider Man for a brief two minutes.  No worries, there is a thick edge along our terraces to catch the rain so I was in no real danger.  Now I will never leave without my keys.

What is a good accent color for Chocolate?

What is a good accent color for Chocolate?

So let’s get back to the moral of this story – the bed.  It finally arrived around 3:00 in the afternoon and I was so overjoyed.  If you truly know me, you will know sleep is crucially important to me and it is directly related to my mood status the following day.  Having slept on an air mattress for the past week and a half, I was so ready for a good nights sleep.  Something that was big enough for my long body to spread out on and to have proper linens.  I did invest some money for a good mattress that I hope will last me years to come.  So this father and son team arrived and had my bed installed and set up in less than 30 minutes; luckily my elevator was big enough for all the parts and they didn’t have to walk up seven (7) flights of stairs.  They did have a challenge with the box spring but they figured out a way to send it up from my lower terrace to the upper terrace where the bedroom resides.  (Remember I am in a split-level apartment.)  Voila!  I was so excited that I had to take a shower first before laying on it so I wouldn’t get it dirty.  Immediately I was off into the heart of Nice to do some proper shopping.

My shopping included finding the needed linens to go with the new bed, silverware and a haircut.  All of these items were euphoric moments for me.  My hair was getting too long and driving me nuts every morning, as I got dressed.  I was getting tired of trying to eat dinner with a plastic knife and fork.  Then of course I have already discussed the grave air mattress situation.  So why didn’t I get this items earlier?  Because I have been patiently waiting for my French debit card.  I was tired of using my American cards and getting hit with a lot of international fees and exchange rates.  I was told from my bank (HSBC) that it would arrive this week.  Interestingly here in France, these things are not mailed directly to you but to the bank’s branch where you are formally registered.  Well I had opened this French bank account long before I even got this job with Amadeus for travel reasons.  Consequently I had to register with the main branch in Paris.  Shortly after arriving here in Nice, I had stopped by the branch near my work and formally registered with that branch so all my paperwork goes there.  Wouldn’t you know it my debit card got sent to Paris instead of here.  Grrrrr! I was so annoyed and I couldn’t hold out anymore in getting some of things bought.  Luckily in France, the stores still take checks.  So I was able to accomplish this much needed shopping using my checkbook, as I have to wait another week for my debit card.  Such a trial of patience.

So on my walk home, I caved in and had some French fast food; not something I am proud of but I just needed a quick bite to eat.  A true sign that I live here and not a tourist.

Later yesterday night I did go out into Old City of Nice where all the great restaurants and bars reside.  I was taken back at the bus service here on a Saturday night.  It wasn’t yet 10:30 and got to the bus stop to realize all services had stopped for the day.  What?? Luckily Old City is still walkable from my house, but it is a good 40 minutes.  So I had no choice but to head down the promenade.  The night was gorgeous in Old City, all the old buildings were light up and everyone was out in the street or sitting down at one of the several restaurants.  Being a tourist destination, you can hear all sorts of languages on the streets.  It was truly beautiful.   I can’t wait to show it off to those of you coming to visit me one day.

So today on Sunday I did focus more on socializing.  I used the famous MeetUp.com web site to find some Expatriate groups.  There was a nice coffee this morning in the main square followed by another event of playing cards at a lovely Italian couple’s home.  It is interesting to hear everyone’s stories of why they come to Nice, France as many were Brits, Canadians or Australians.  Ironically a common theme is that they come to visit and fall in love with the Côte d’Azur and decide to leave their home to take residence here.  Of course work is always a challenge as an expat but they all seem to manage in one way or another.  Of course I benefited from their expertise as I found out the good markets, a good Italian shoe store for my sandals and the 2€ store for the everyday things.  Being out in the sun this weekend really made me realize I need to quickly buy summer sandals, shorts and several pair of sunglasses.   These are the standard attire of the Niçois.

So the other milestones that I hope to reach this week is that I will get my Internet and house phone installed and activated.  France Telecom (Orange) stated that it should be operational by July 2nd.  Fingers crossed.

Ironman Triatholan

Ironman Triatholan

So my final thought is that the international event of Ironman triathlon was here in Nice this weekend.  You can see from the picture what I saw from my terrace (note the orange cones in the streets reserving the space for the runners).  The endurance of these athletes is amazing as they covered a lot of distance in the area by swimming, running and biking up the mountains.  True admiration.  It started at the break of dawn this morning and even as I write this blog at night, I still hear the clapping and cheering from the promenade to encourage everyone to make it across the finish line.

Categories: Everyday Life
  1. Andrew Keenan
    30 June 2010 at 3:58 pm


    So glad that thing are going so well for you. Nothing new here. Please call me when you are in the US next month. I will be in touch and you do the same.

    All my best Andrew

  1. 15 January 2011 at 12:17 am

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