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Thursday, 22 September 2005

Prefecture de Police

A guy just came up and asked if he could take my picture of being online at a pub. Hrm. Nobody else here has computers out. I feel awkward, but the price of the beer is way cheeper than the cost of going to an internet place and it comes with beer.

22 September 2005 15:28

Last night, I swear I had the best carrots I've ever eaten in my entire life. I've grown my own carrots and they weren't so good. They're just random carrots I bought at the Monoprix. They didn't seem like anything special, but my god, I never thought I would encounter better produce than I used to get in California. How is the food so good here?

I grudgingly awoke this morning and then called my school. They don't have a "number of existence." All the Paris Universities are numbered. CCMIX does not have such a number because it is not a university. The director of the school couldn't help me, he explained. What the prefecture wants is impossible. Ok, he could help me, but not until tuesday when the secretary comes back, as only she could write such a letter. Ok, he could help this morning, I should come right over. hahahaha. This guy is American, but has acculturated very well.

He very thoughtfully wrote a letter for me that covered every point raised by the prefecture. Then he had a studio tech guy who is French look it over and correct it. He changed some phrasing and tweaked the formatting. "It's more pretty (jolie) this way, that's important when dealing with bureaucracy." He explained.

Then I went to the Prefecture de Police and talked to a new person this time. Right off, she says the phone bill I've brought won't be enough. I must have an original recent electric bill. Otherwise, maybe I don't live in the city. Keys? Bah! They could be for anything! Phone bills? Who knows who has a number some place? But a resident pays electricity! I expected this. I came to see if my school letter was good enough.

She glanced at my new letter. "I don't know this school. What's it's numero d'existence?" she turned to the person next to her. "Have you heard of this school?" He hadn't either.

"There is no existence number." I said.

"What? No number?"

"No. It's not part of the university system, but it's sponsored by the Ministry of Culture." I explained in French although not nearly as fluently as I've transcribed it here.

"Oh, this won't do." She handed it back, "You need a number."

"What should I do??" I asked in English, flustered.

"Change to a different school."

My jaw dropped. "Change to a different school!" I exclaimed in English.

This got the attention of the person next to her. He said that if the school was endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, then it was good enough. A supervisor was consulted. The supervisor agreed.

All I need now is an electric bill. Theoretically, by tomorrow.

In other mundane news, I bought some electrical cables for my musical gear. This is exciting because the entire transaction was in French. Boo-yeah. I mean, I didn't just grab what I wanted off a shelf, I had to describe it. W00t.

A waiter was giving me a hard time last night about my poor language skills. I think it was friendly teasing. I'm going to make that assumption. Some Americans have an idea of rude, arrogant or unpleasant French people. These same Americans have the same idea about New Yorkers. Maybe they are going to different parts of Paris or New York than I am. There are a few unpleasant people here and there, but if they want uniform unfriendly grumpiness, they should go to Connecticut! (heh. kidding) Even the stamp-witholding police here are fairly friendly, they just have their rules.

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