I was so happy to be back, even though the city felt both strange and familiar to me...
The number one thing I noticed, which I did not and will never miss is French inefficiency. I went back this weekend mainly to see friends, but also to do one or two administrative things. Can anyone guess how many I managed to get done? Zero, yep you heard me right, zero, zéro, null, odo rabata...!!! It was such a waste of time, energy, effort and emotions!
See before I moved to Brussels, I went to my French bank TWICE to tell them about the move, and to change my details as well as my assigned branch/agency. So imagine my surprise when I arrived in Paris on Saturday morning and rushed straight to the bank only to be told I couldn't close my account because it was still being held at the other branch! I mean, knowing that French banks only open between 11-1 on Saturdays, and not at all on Mondays, I had planned my journey (leaving my house at 6am!) to get there in time. Of course by the time the good lady took her time to "check" things thoroughly and finally got round to telling me this, it was already 12.15, too late to get to the other branch before they closed. I was furious, and I swear I just wanted to break down and cry! Still, I remembered that shouting in situations like this (in Paris at least), never changes anything, so I respected myself and jejely left without killing anyone. Luckily I am scheduled to go back in March for my sister's graduation. Hopefully, I'll be able to sort stuff out then.
The second thing I wanted to do was to get a "certificate of work" from my previous job. The thing is, when one moves within the EU, one needs this certificate to be able to register with the social security system in the new country. Without this registration, access to services is impossible and one is obliged to pay out of pocket each time you need/use anything e.g. medical care. This can become very expensive, very quickly, and as I am currently not covered, I basically spend my days praying not to fall seriously ill. I have written the French, but they keep saying they've sent it (to all the wrong addresses!), so I'll again have to physically go there to try and sort things out. Another couple of things added to my already long list of things to do when I go back in March. God help me!
Now, on to the much longer list of things I really enjoyed and now desperately miss: MY FRIENDS, the beauty of Paris, the ambiance, the food, the beautifully presented delicious desserts, that feeling of being chez moi, sitting on/meeting friends on the steps of Opéra Garnier, lunch by myself at my favourite restaurant, free water in restaurants, good Nigerian food...!!!
I took this dessert along, to dinner with friends
Some pounded yam with real efo riro and egusi, and some palm juice
I honestly can't wait to go back in about 4weeks.