Last evening we dropped by Dominique's on the Rue du Perdut in Leran to inquire about French language lessons. A very commanding woman, perhaps just what one needs when immersing oneself in a new language. One of her students, John, from Galway, Ireland, was also there. He was just completing his second week of classes and lived to tell about it. Others sitting around the table in the presbytery (now a house) included Dominique's partner, an artist from Zambia who was tortured during apartheid for his sympathetic attitude toward the blacks; and her 92 year old mother, who was jubiliant over having lost and recovered her pocketbook and celebrating by smoking her second and last cigarette for that day. The mother begged permission to smoke in our presence, having heard about the Americans disgust towards smoking. Over olives, almonds, potato chips, and of course wine, we learned a little bit more about the town we have chosen---the communist mayor, for instance.
But not to forget the real reason for this post, ah yes, we met at the Notaire's office this afternoon to sign the Compromise de Vente (promise to buy) on No. 14 Rue du Four in Leran. With Veronica, our new half French/half British estate agentb by our side every step of the way, the Notaire Monsieur Jean Cathala rapidly shot one document after another in our direction indicating where to initial or sign. The Notaire is not really the equivalent of the title company, nor an attorney. The Notaire is an employee of the Republic of France, and if you want to feel humbled, this is the place to be. He was obviously efficient and equally self-impressed. But it was not the time or place to piss people off. By law, the Notaire gets a hefty chunk of change from a real estate sale, in our case 7% off the top---so you want him to be on your side. Oh god, I can't believe I am writing this.
However, with some raised eyebrows, I did manage to have my name, (that is Nancy Procter as opposed to Mme. Reid) put on the documents. One small step......
Back to the house to deal with the euro transfer situation. Before we left we had taken the effort to set up an account with a foreign exchange specialist through our banking system, hoping to streamline the process if we needed a speedy transfer. During our absence, our local branch manager in Moab took a medical leave of absence and the necessary paperwork was somehow lost in transit, nobody else there knew what to do, and the foreign exchange specialist was scratching his head. I guess those Mormons just don't get out of Dodge too often. Well, after numerous emails and phone calls, the wheels are turning and the money is on the way.
The "closing" as we say in the States is set for May 15. Anyone who would like to join us for the signing, utility turn-on and furniture shopping party is hereby invited. The village of Leran will be well out of hibernation by then, with local fetes filling up the calendar.