Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Takin' Care of Business





















We've been busy doing our homework for the past couple of days. We've visited Mr. Bricolage, the French version of a large chain hardware/lumber yard. And we have been pricing things at a antique store in Mirepoix in preparation for negotiating for the furniture that is already in the house we are buying. It is difficult to know what something is worth when firstly, we are dealing with another currency than we are used to, and secondly, a different economy. Raw materials seem to be very expensive, things like lumber. Yet some of the antiques are relatively inexpensive compared to what one would pay in the states. Supply and demand rules and it is totally turned on it's head from what we are used to. So........it requires Nancy's rational mind.

We have also been trying to find a French teacher for when we return. There are a number of them around here. Some are native French speakers, some are speakers of French as a second language. Seems to me, you'd want someone who is a native speaker, no? Then again, its not like we will ever be able to speak the language as natives, no one will mistake me for a native of Paris, I'm sure. Every French born English speaker has an accent as near as I can tell. So why worry about the native tongue of the teacher, worry about how good of a teacher they are. We've bought some self-teaching books and wonder about the effectiveness of tapes/CDs. It was suggested to us to read comic books in French. Good idea. What I've learned is that I can dredge up some French as long as I'm not in immediate need of it. If I need a word, that word will not come. Same as in English at my age. Need a particular word? Forget it, lost in the haze. The important thing is to learn enough to make conversation with the locals and then we will learn by doing. Well, that's the theory anyway.

We've also been making sure that our first check will be written correctly. We have to write a check for the deposit, similar to earnest money I guess, but a more significant amount written to the notaire. It has to be written with the numerals written in the French manner which is substantially different, and the amount written out in French, so we cleared our suppositions with our banker. She must think we're nuts. Nancy confirmed what name she signs with: Mme. Dwight Reid or Nancy Procter? You can well imagine she claimed victory when told it was "Nancy Procter". And we have begun pricing the home insurance we will have to have, from our banker, who also sells insurance. All in all, not as strange as signing a contract for a large amount of money (for us) in a foreign language. If you can remember the first time you bought a house, and signed the papers in a fog of boilerplate, you will have some idea of how we feel.

We've also been touring around seeing some of the sights in the area. Montouleiu, Tarascon, Pamier. There are signs of Spring in the air and the sun after several days of clouds and some rain, it feels good.

8 comments:

sarah alexander said...

None of my French teachers were native speakers. Mme. Dybvad was an American but smoked liked a French (she had to chew Nicorette while teaching us 7th graders); M. Pachovsky was Russian and obsessed with Chia Pets. And the French teacher in college isn't memorable at all. I can't remember his name or anything....it was so darn hard I think I shut off. I barely passed that class...

sarah alexander said...

By the way, we need handicap signs like that one! If I'm translating correctly, it says: "If you take my place, take my handicap". Well put.

leslie said...

I just tried to post a big long response and it didn't show up, I am still having trouble with this, but I will perservere. More tonight, just trying to figure this out.

leslie said...

now maybe I've got it, we'll see when I get home. My last one from home the night before last didn't get recorded. Dang.

sarah alexander said...

It seems to me that every time you try to post a LONG comment, it doesn't record. I think that you might be trying to post too much per comment. Try breaking it up into a couple short comments, or else keep it short. Your short comments always show up, right?

Doug said...

Leslie, you can always e-mail your comments to me or nancy and we will post them. I'd like to hear what you've got on your mind.

Yesterday we negotiated for the furniture and other unattached items. Oh, woe. We have not another Euro to our names. It's a good thing the French wellfare system is so generous. I hope I can continue with my favorite brand of wine.

sarah alexander said...

Are you still waiting to hear about the furniture then? I hope you get most of it---that would sure make it easier.

ant nancy said...

Leslie, I checked the rules and regs of the blog, and apparently there is no "length" restriction. But if it isn't working, go for the shorter comments, cause we'll sure read 'em and love 'em.