Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Lost in Translation

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.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Janet Lukas seems to be having a techno problem with leaving a comment. Therefore, I am helping out by trying to leave a comment on your site. I believe I'll succeed (of course, unlike Janet, I think positive). Wishing you the best luck and good fortune on your French adventure -- Janet's friend, Irene.

North of Andorra said...

Irene, thanks for helping the technologically disadvantaged. Do you think she will be entering the 21st century soon?

North of Andorra said...

Actually, Lukas, I am probably only a smudge adhead of you on the learning curve here. It's far easier to Post than to leave Comments I think.

d said...

great job! congratulations! are you coming back then returning in may or will you just stay until then? the house you chose is great and the town looks fab. i love the old woman who wanted to smoke in your presence...oh ho ho ho those nutty french seniors...

best, david

Doug said...

We are coming back to the states, Moab actually, on February 22, and then a trip back here just before the "acte". We don't know how long we will stay at that point. It will depend on a number of things like finding someone to deal with the landscaping in Moab.

Noah said...

Congratulations! You two are amazing.
I suppose the closing date implies that I cant stay there when I am in perpignan in late March...

Nancy said...

Noah, perhaps M. et Mme. Lamand (the current owners) wouldn't mind you bunking with them for a few days. Other than that, next time??? Bummer.

Noah said...

I will cook for them. And leave them (and you) copious amounts of wine. Not that food and wine mean anything to french people. Anyway, why are they still living there if they are selling? Are they going to be homeless after this?

Nancy said...

Noah, apparently the Notaire won't let us have the keys to the house until we fork over the balance of the cash on May 15. We will need the next few months to sell off priceless jewelry and semi-automatic weapons for return passage. If you pass through Leran during your March travels, please check to see that the light bulbs, door knobs, staircase, floor tiles, ceiling beams, etc. are intact. And leave the wine just in case the Notaire stops by---sure can't hurt.