My 1st day of work was October 1st. Here’s how it went down.
No working city bikes at the nearest station, so I went to the next and rode it over to the end of the metro, then walked the 10 minutes to the school. The car gate was closing, with enough time for me to walk through, so I did.
Told the maintenence guys (in French) who I was (the English language assistant), they brought me in and I was treated to a lot of waiting around and being introduced to the same people multiple times (all in French), while understanding most of what I was being told (which was mostly about me waiting for the English teacher to arrive).
The English teacher arrived, we talked a little about how I still don’t have a permanent living situation and eventually went off to her class. All the kids in the hallways of the middle school (college) stared at my massive height. Some asked (in French) who I was. I told them. They then asked “Police anglais”? (English police)
In the confines of the rambunctious 8th grade class, I got asked normal questions (where I was from, how long it took me to get there, if I was related to to the teacher or her friend, etc.), which eventually went to one of the seemingly trouble kids asking if I had a girlfriend, and then, if I was gay.
I responded, “No. Sorry.”
The class uproariously laughed as that kid was most definitely served.
After more talk with the other teacher, more talk with the 1st teacher, I started to try to make my way over to the other college. (I’ll be teaching for 6 hours each at the middle schools.)
I was told that I couldn’t take a city bike over there. Of course, I didn’t trust this, so I asked people on the street. They said it wouldn’t be a problem, so off I went. I had to go on fairly major streets, which sucked. I dropped my pen at one point and went back to get it, which seemed particularly dangerous. I arrived at the metro station along the way and asked again if I could get over to where I needed to by using the city bikes. They said sure, so I continued on, only to see a big, non-bike friendly bridge and a blind winding downward turn. I decided to cut my losses, take the bike back and take a bus.
When I switched bikes at that metro station, I began to move on, to what was either a huge, blind winding decline or a no bike lane bridge, I decided to go back.
I went back and decided I should get a ticket. (They don’t make you pay when you get on the bus, you have to get your ticket or pass validated via the machines and sometimes they have controls.
Everyone has been saying to get a bus/metro pass. They are over 40 Euros a month. To get one, you need to have a little passport photo. Which I had, but back at Le Totem.
So I debated how to deal with this. Buy a day pass? Buy a one-way? Buy nothing and risk getting caught? I struggled and struggled, then finally decided to belly up and pay the 4 Euros for 4 passport pictures to get the pass.
I put my 4 Euros in, only to see that there was an option for 2 Euro portrait pictures, which looked like 2 photos instead of 4 and not passport-quality, which was fine. The machine said it didn’t give change, which I thought would be fine, as I didn’t need change, per se, just my money back that I wasn’t going to use.
I pressed the portrait one and the machine took my picture. And out came a damn picture-sized picture. In the end, I spent 4 Euros for a useless 2 Euro picture of me. Which, if you know me, you would think would really piss me off.
What’s funny is that it’s so completely ridiculous that I couldn’t help but laugh. That, and I tried my best to not be cheap and to just get the stuff to get the pass. And in the end, after talking to people and thinking about it, I don’t think I’m going to even both with the pass. So in the end, I probably saved 40 or so Euros, even with the 4 Euros I wasted on that stupid picture.
So there, France.