I continue with my recent French Frustrations…
Frustration number 2 (also refereed to as, the second reason I cried this week): Since I moved, it was time to go meet with my old landlords, pick up some mail and get my deposit back. I left work early and took the bus to their place (not super convenient but doable). I arrive and as always the male-counterpart of my landlords greets me (I’ve only met his wife once) and invites me into their apartment. His wife is there and his daughter (6 yrs). They ask me to sit and then his wife begins basically tearing me apart… “so we wanted to talk to you about a few things” …
- you didn’t return our balcony key [I explained this and apologized that I had forgotten to do this and that I was already at the airport when I remembered. I said I could mail it if they like…they didn’t respond]
- there are missing / broken dishes [not true, I had never even SEEN the grey dishes they’re talking about. EVER]
- without asking, you left your bike on the roof which is illegal and the syndic has called us now we are in trouble [I told them that my bf had put it up there and I tried to take it the last day and the tires were flat so I had to wait. I had no choice]
- left some furniture [I told them about this too. I left something in the bathroom because I thought it would actually be useful. there was no storage in there and I installed a little under the sink thing. it was great and I didn’t realize it would inconvenience them. my bad.]
- you left it completely dirty, you didn’t even try to clean before you left, did you? Both times you moved out it was totally and completely disgusting. [I spent an entire afternoon cleaning before I left. It was not dirty as they say. If they had particular standards, they should’ve said so. BS BS BS BS]
- Being a landlord is not meant to give gifts. We are telling you this so you’ll learn for your next time. [ so if things were so bad why didn’t you tell me how sucky I was as a tenant after I left for the summer?!?!?]
- You never call us, you always write emails. It would be nice if you would have explained some of this to us [um, I am not great on the phone in french, I had already said this and prefer email since I can write better in french than speak. I was also ridiculously busy just before I left. I just didn’t have time to do Everything. ]
The worst part was how surprised I was to hear all of this. Every time I sent an email, every time I saw my mail landlord, it was all smiles, never any ill will. If they wanted me to communicate they should have reciprocated. They should have told me along the way what they expected of me. They didn’t. But because of this surprise, when I thought we were on great terms and they really liked me, I obviously BURST into tears and couldn’t stop. It was awful. And embarrassing. They offered me 400 of the 500 I gave for a deposit. Whatever, it’s not about the money. It’s about how this “relationship” ended. Keep it all if you are so upset. But you cannot blame me for everything that went down. I am a 27 year old intelligent adult and they were talking down to me. Not okay. On top of my other worries this week, this was just too much. too too much. I left nearly devistated and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Luckily my BF called me and talked through it with me and after walking a few miles while we talked, I felt better. Shew. Perhaps I just ran out of tears?
To end on a happy note, one of the pieces of mail I received in France while I was gone, on December 14, 1 month after my appointment at the prefecture, was my convocation to go pick up my shiny new carte de séjour! WOO! AND, good news about this is…they are asking 200 euros for the renewal. This is only good news because it means it will be good for TWO years! I won’t have to go through the prefecture process again for TWO years! Thanks France. At least that gave me a smile yesterday!
Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, again, thanks. I think it’s important to blog about the stuff that’s not so fun. For one, perhaps it helps someone else out there realize they’re not alone in their frustrations. But also, to remind myself of the good and bad of being a temporary expat and “etranger” in France. For the good and bad … I’m still glad I am here. If nothing else, every moment is a learning experience. About myself and other people.