Gah!

I know I ought to write about the last part of my Stockholm trip, but right now I’m pissed, so I will write about that instead. I have no idea how organized or not this post will be, seeing as I’m ranting, but here goes:

*Walks into inner chamber, collapses into heap on the floor*

Early February: I receive a mail from my account officer for my French bank account, and she says I have no money left in my account and I must put in some money else she’d close it. I respond, telling her I will put in some money asap. I go to the bank some days later and transfer some money there. When I get home, I send her a mail telling her that I have put in some money, etc. The reason I am interested in keeping this account open is because I’m still expecting my rent refund, and it’s a nice sum of money in total. Anyway, she acknowledges the mail, blah blah blah.

Late February: I go to the website for my rent refund, and see that the refund was approved since late January, so naturally I skip over to my account, where my lonesome 20 Euros is staring back at me. Not quite the tidy sum I was expecting. I tell myself the French are quite bureaucratic (I’m being tactful here, what I really mean to say is not quite nice), seeing as it took over 3 months to get the payment approved in the first place, so the actual pay-out might take the same amount of time.

Late March: I check my French bank account, and discover that my cash account doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

A little back story here: In France, when you open a regular (savings?) account, you actually have 2 accounts, a cash account, and a card account. This makes absolutely no sense to me, but they are 2 different things and even if you have, say, 400 Euros in your cash account, if you don’t have enough money in your ‘card account’, you can’t use it to pay for stuff online. I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone else. Anyway…

So my cash account has vanished. I send an email to my account officer again, asking her why this account can’t be seen, and could she please ‘reactivate’ it? She replies the next day, saying “It is done.” I check my online portal immediately, but can’t find said cash account, and then I figure it would take a couple of hours to get it up and running.

Now, Early April: I didn’t check the account again till a few minutes ago, only to find that the account only got activated on April 2, about 10 days later. How? Further observation revealed 2 things:

1. she actually deleted my old account without my permission, and

2. she didn’t reopen it, she opened a brand new account, with an entirely different account number.

How the heck am I supposed to get my money if the account number has changed? HOW??? Why would she even delete my account without telling me?

I sent her an email, first thanking her for opening the account (which she had no right closing in the 1st place), then tactfully explaining how messy things could get as a result of what she has done. I really hope there’s a way to fix this that doesn’t involve me sending my new account number to CAF, because if I have to do that, I may as well forget about the money. I hope they have a system that updates relevant parties when details have changed. I hope. And I hope that my CAF details have been linked to my bank account, because that’s the only way I see this update working, if it exists.

I’m just going to have to wait till Monday to hear what she has to say for herself.

Why is the French system so bureaucratic? This could happen in Nigeria and I would get really mad, but I wouldn’t necessarily be too surprised, because it’s a ‘developing’ nation. This is France, in Europe for heaven’s sake. Isn’t it supposed to be efficient? Arrggghhh!

*straightens up, pastes smile on face, walks out of chamber* Rant over.

Cheers to your weekend. 🙂

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Right Now

I’m not even going to pretend to know what has been keeping me away from writing. Maybe I’ve gotten bored with the whole thing, or maybe I’ve gotten lazy. Lazy is more like it though. Anyway, I’m just going to try to chronicle what has been going on in the 2 or 3 weeks since I wrote last.

1. Swimming: You know how I said I’d be visiting the gym/pool/sauna more often? Well, I went 2 Fridays ago, seeing as I had nothing better to do. I went to the gym 1st, and then to the pool, where my friends nicely tried to teach me to swim (thanks guys!). After doing that, I sat in the ‘warm spring’ pool, and then played on the water slide before heading to the shower and subsequently going home. Plan was to maybe have pizza with a bunch of people, and then go bowling. When I got home, I became too lazy to go out again for pizza, so I had dinner in my room, while messing around with my computer to pass time before bowling. After a bit, I noticed that my neck was really itchy, so I went to look in the mirror (because my friend had also complained about itching a few days ago). What I saw was a bit surprising: my face had broken out in an allergic reaction, and my neck was really red. I quickly stripped to see the extent of the damage, and well, it was quite a lot. I said ‘surprising’ because I have been in pools so many times, and I have never ever had any form of ‘reaction’, my skin is (supposed to be) badass like that. I called my friend who is a doctor (thank you!), and he said to take a shower (note that I already took a shower as soon as I got out of the pool). While I was taking this shower, my tummy started cramping, and while I couldn’t identify the type of pain, I wasn’t worried, because I just thought I would lie down and it would be okay. Couldn’t have been more wrong. It was impossible to even lie down, so I went back into the bathroom, and let’s just say my tummy (sorry to gross you out,) expelled its contents through all possible avenues. Apparently I was so busy being ‘determined’ to learn and having fun (there was music at the poolside so I was dancing as well, LoL), that I didn’t realize the amount of chlorine I was ingesting. Haha, I thought I was going through hell, I asked for the Finnish emergency number before I headed back into the bathroom (a tad dramatic, but I thought I might need medical help. I didn’t call though) *Sigh* Bowling was obviously cancelled for me, as you can imagine, but my friend said the place was fully booked anyway, so they couldn’t go. I haven’t gone near a pool since then, but I will, soon.

2. Exams: Yeah so I had exams last 2 weeks as well, and I aced them, thank God, and yay me! Oh and I’m happy I’m done with my Information Systems Research on Games course, that curiosity has been more than satisfied, don’t think I’ll be going back there.

3. Skiing: Well, I went to the ski place again last week, this time with my friends. We sort of got lost again, I must be a bad influence, because these people ought to know the way there!. Turns out the booth for renting equipment only opens on weekends and Tuesday evenings, as it is assumed that most Finns already have their own skis. Interesting. Anyway, this was a Monday, and as we headed back to the city centre, my face started breaking out again, apparently the chlorine hadn’t been totally expelled or something. Sigh. My body just knows how to be overly dramatic. I went to the Health Services centre and they gave me an appointment for the next day. I asked how much I’d have to pay and they said nothing, as long as I have a student card. This is interesting, considering the amount of money I had to pay in France for ‘health insurance’ which I never had to use, and considering that I would still have had to pay cash if I went to a French hospital, then wait for them to check that I have insurance, then reimburse me (possibly months later, seeing as I’m still waiting for my CAF refund). Crap system if you ask me, but whatever works for them is cool, I suppose. Not my problem anymore…oh it is, I still don’t have my CAF money.

4. Exercise: I recently became worried about my inability to stay focused on one thing for a long period of time (my attention span is epic), unless it is an exam, or a paper that needs to be submitted in about half an hour…and a friend mentioned that I might have ADD (NO WAY!) so I Googled it, and it appeared to be a bit true. Huh. Well, I found that one of the ways to combat this and stay focused is exercising, and it occurred to me that I haven’t really gotten much regular exercise since I left Nigeria (unless you count walking to school), so I decided to resume my exercise habits. Have to get my (beach) body ready for summer anyway 🙂

…to be continued later

Week 12

Monday: I totally forgot that the dreaded 9 hour class is supposed to hold today. Well, it’s accounting, and the guy does a good job of keeping a number of people interested in a boring course. That and he actually shames a few people who aren’t paying enough attention. He also finishes the course before the allotted time, which is really nice of him. I already know there’s no way I’m going to get home from school at 8 and start cooking, so I planned earlier, to eat waffles for dinner. However, seeing as he lets us off early, I decide to go grocery shopping with a classmate. At the store, I have been noticing that people have this loyalty card that supposedly gets you a discount every time you shop, so I decide to get one. I fill the required form, and they hand me the card – and even swipe it before they begin calling up my bill. In my mind, I think I have obtained some form of discount, but when I get home, I look at the receipt, and there’s absolutely no discount. Perhaps I don’t understand how this works, so please enlighten me, how exactly do these cards work? Sigh.

 

Tuesday: Programming. I had to wake up at 4am this morning to read up for this class, and yet I still feel as though I understand nothing. At lunch, a few students who have to write an article/report on Nigeria meet up with me for lunch, and I answer their questions. I like the fact that these ones emailed me their questions before hand, I replied and sent back, so the meeting we have today is just for formality’s sake, and for the sake of clarifying other things that may be unclear. I wonder why my own group wouldn’t just agree to do that, seeing as a physical meeting isn’t convenient for everyone. I have a class on Leadership after lunch, and the guy is pretty cool, everyone likes him much. He’s the same guy in whose class we had to make a car and figure out how to get it to move on its own.

 

Wednesday: Same combination of classes as yesterday, but with French class at the end. Guys, having a 9-hour lecture day is no joke. We have to make a presentation for this French class, on “unusual things about your country”. Preferably in French, but the dude knows we’re just on Level 1, so he can’t enforce that. I talk about the Efik Fattening Rooms, and the Ibo New Yam Festival. My classmates talk about theirs too, pretty interesting. I have 1 party and 1 dinner to attend this night, and even though I wish I could go, I get home at 8.45, my body is just too tired, plus the cold outside isn’t the least bit encouraging. I should at least go for the dinner, seeing as they asked me before hand what I would love to eat, but it started at 7pm, and getting there at 9.30 or even later wouldn’t be nice at all, it may have ended or something. I also don’t know the way, so I have to use a map, but navigation isn’t my strong suit, so it would probably be a disaster if I try it at night. I’m sorry 😦

 

Thursday: Job Forum Day at school today, where lots of companies come, set up shop in corners allotted to them. I don’t plan on participating though, because 1) I think it is a bit too early, and 2) Even the international companies like PWC are only recruiting for their branches in France, and my French isn’t passable enough to conduct business with. Anyway, I decide to go and have a look around, just to see. When I arrive, I immediately start feeling weird, because everyone is wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase (I don’t even own a suit, LoL), and here I am, looking like a biker. Oh well, I go into the cafeteria to eat, and even that has undergone a mini transformation, with better food and wine. O ga o. I still feel weird though, but whatever. I have to go to CAF afterwards, and I’m praying they don’t ask me for any more documents, because as I mentioned earlier, that’s what they did to a friend of mine.

 

When I arrive, I wait my turn, and step up to the service area, and as usual, the first question I ask is if the guy understands English. He does, a little, but it turns out that I don’t even need it. I understand everything he says, and I respond accordingly, in French. Progress 😀 Anyway, everything is good, they don’t require any more documents…but it will take at least 2 months for me to get any money. No problem, I’ll wait (as long as the money promised eventually enters the account).

 

Friday: Honestly, I don’t know how many more of these programming/statistics classes I can take. Apparently I have to endure about 3 more. Well, I have Finance later in the day (not such a bad class, by the way), and then a dance meeting. You see, we have another International Day coming up, and one African girl has suggested that we dance Azonto. She invites us to her place for pancakes (these ones call them crepes) and drinks, and dance practice (she lives 3 minutes away from school).

 

Long story short, we do more eating and drinking and playing than actual dancing, but we make a little headway before we leave.

 

I have lunch/dinner on Sunday with another group of African girls, fried plantains (dodo) and fried eggs, yay!

 

Saturday: Today is the sister’s birthday, whoop! She’s not entirely happy though, and unfortunately I’m far away, so I can’t do anything to remedy the situation. Perhaps I shall make a video of me dancing foolishly and send to her? no?

Its funny how, despite all the work I have to do, I always spend my Saturdays reading and researching trivia, i.e. things irrelevant to the assignments I have to do. I only start working really late in the night, when normal humans ought to have gone to bed. I need help *rme

 

I went to Carrefour today though, to buy my Rice Krispies (Nesquik doesn’t quite cut it for me), plantains for tomorrow, and other things. When I saw the plantains, I went over to check them out. Turns out there’s a tiny part of the fresh foods section that has African things (I even saw okro there, but they looked malnourished). In this section however, they placed a (n artificial?) dwarf palm tree in the middle, and I was slightly amused…like why is the tree there? It’s not like we’re Hawaiians, or something. We don’t jump from tree to tree like Tarzan either. LoL. Oyibo sef, I’m assuming they were trying to be thoughtful though.

 

Well, the plantains at Carrefour were unripe, so I left them and bought other things. But I still needed plantains, so I went to the oriental store when I got back to the city centre, and they had ripe ones. Meanwhile, Cours Mirabeau is now lit up, the Christmas market is now on at night, and I shall go one of these days, for vin chaud…Christmas comes early in these parts. While I was trying to cross the road to go wait for the bus, I heard a Nigerian song playing in a booth beside a merry-go-round (don’t know the name, but the chorus is “e no easy eh, eh eh eh eh…”). I actually went closer to see if it was a Nigerian manning the booth, but nope. Turns out it was the radio that was playing anyway.

 

There’s this underground passageway that I usually see near the bus stop where I wait. Today, I decided to go and see what goes on there. I didn’t totally succeed because I didn’t go all the way to the end, and this is because I saw a place right there, where they sell ALL sorts of crepes, and drinks. I ordered a buerre cassonade crepe, and it was awesome! Good thing I didn’t go all the way to see where the passageway leads though, because at the exact moment I climbed out, I saw my bus coming and had to run for it.

image

Saw this at Carrefour.