Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First day of summer job

I had a good day at work today :-)

Since I work from 8am to 5pm in Grenoble, I have to get up pretty early to commute: a 15 minute bus ride to Chambéry, then a train from Chambéry to Grenoble (45 mins or 1hr depending on how many stops the train makes), followed by a 10 minute bus ride. Fortunately, I woke up in time to get ready! Actually, I reached Grenoble about 7:15 am... it's better to be early than late!... waited around a bit, then took the bus to the workplace.

First, I had to wait a while to receive my badge for the site. My photo was taken while I was encouraged to look at a bright yellow smiley face positionned next to a camera. Lol! The rest of the day went quite smoothly.

I worked along with friendly student who is almost finished with her internship there (my "teacher" for the next few days!), had a mid-morning break with some staff members (it was cold outside, like around 12°C. Sweaters were a must!), enjoyed a delicious lunch at the on-site restaurant which provides meals for under 3€, and learnt much more from my student coworker again this afternoon. Of course I took lots of notes, and at the end of the day felt a sense of achievement since I am able to complete some tasks! I'm actually looking forward to continuing the work tomorrow! Surely, working in an office in front of a computer is a lot different from teaching, but I've really welcomed the change!!

Now I need to get some rest, so I'll have enough energy to continue it all over again tomorrow :-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Return to the Préfecture

My relaxing weekend in St Etienne was continued in Lyon, and then I returned to Chambéry today by bus since there weren't any Lyon-Chambéry trains when I left. Even the bus ride was relaxing lol.

Anyway, I returned to the Préfecture this afternoon, in spite of the depressing visit last time. I still don't have my university results for the second semester, so I carried my results for the first semester. This time I spoke to a different person, and the gist of the conversation was as follows:

1st worker: "Oh, you're Alicia ______, you were a lectrice d'anglais?"

Me: No, assistante d'anglais *I'm surprised that she knows who I am, since all I showed her was my official grade slip which had my name*

1st worker: "We received your file last week and haven't looked at it as yet."

Another pleasant worker passes by. I had spoken to her in the past, and she had assured me that I would get to extend my stay in France this summer.

Me: Ok, well I only have 8 days remaining [till my current récépissé expires] so je m'inquiète quoi. *together with a genuine semi-depressed facial expression caused by my frustration with the Préfecture*

2nd worker: I'll look at your file and send the récépissé to La Motte. *she then takes the copy of my 1st semester results, and heads off*

Me: *hoping for this to be true but not wanting to get excited too soon* Ok, merci. :-) Au revoir

I guess all I can do now is wait patiently!


After visiting many of the main towns in the Rhône-Alpes region, I finally made it to Saint-Etienne! It's 45 minutes away from Lyon by train, and only cost a little under 10€ aller-retour Lyon Part-Dieu - St Etienne thanks to my TER Coup de Foudre reduction card for young people (aged 12-25).

Even though I didn't have much time to faire du tourisme - the weather wasn't the best either (it was windy and relatively cold) - I enjoyed my time there and liked the bit of the town I saw.

Cool train station : Gare de St-Etienne Chateaucreux

First view of Sainté from the train station

My weekend (well, actually 24 hours, Saturday-Sunday) with four Frenchies consisted of:

- TV shows online: The Simpsons - in French of course -, Southpark, The Inbetweeners, funny parody videos in French on Youtube, etc.,

- Games: billard at a pub in the town, and the Service Compris board game,

- Food: After a trip to the grocery, we spent the weekend eating pizza, homemade crêpes, snacks, etc.

I had a relaxing weekend :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Paperwork stress

So I got a summer job in Grenoble (adminstration/accounting, June-August), and I'm supposed to start next week. However, the Préfecture... well, in a few well-chosen words...ça fait chier! My récépissé expires in less than two weeks, and today when I went to the Préfecture they told me the new récépissé hasn't been done (although I was told by one of the employees that I would have received it this week!) and that I need to include my grade slip with my application for an extension... grades aren't out as yet! First they had asked me for an acceptance letter, then a pré-inscription 2009-2010, now my grades. It's hard not to imagine that someone might be trying to make things difficult for me, an étrangère with a full time summer job during the recession. Hopefully all this crap/paperwork galore! together with the limited time wouldn't result in a last minute return flight to Trinidad.

Anyway, I'm trying to de-stress. This weekend I'm off to Lyon/Saint-Etienne, so at least I have something to look forward to :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer job!

June has been a lot less boring that I had imagined!

The month started off well! Last Monday (the 1st), a friend from uni emailed me an ad for a job in Grenoble :-). I spent the day researching the company online, editing my CV and writing a lettre de motivation. On Tuesday I emailed my application, and was contacted on Wednesday by the company. I had an interview on Thursday; it went well (an hour long! en français for a job that requires fluent English) and I was told that I would find out the decision in a week's time since there was still another candidate to be interviewed.

Well, after a week of waiting and hoping for the best, I finally received a phone call today... I got the job!!! Woo hoo!!! I start work on the 22nd of June. I'll be taking the train to Grenoble on a daily basis since that's cheaper than renting an apartment in Grenoble for the summer.

Other events so far have included:
- a punctured bicycle tyre ... sigh, I've no idea where that thumb tack came from! Fortunately it's a 40 minute walk (and not longer!!) from my apartment to the Vélostation where I rented the bike (located at the train station in Chambéry). I will carry the bike there soon enough. Hope they don't take out of my deposit!

- several trips to the Préfecture (I need to extend my stay. My visit to the Préfecture today was the most productive/enlightening (lol) so far, and now I only need to submit my documents to the mairie!)

- numerous trips to the university (It took a few visits there before I got an acceptance letter for the Préfecture, then being told by the Préfecture that that letter might not work and I need a pré-inscription, so I had to go back to uni today to get an attestation de pré-inscription (even though registration begins in July). Ahh, France and paperwork! Anyway, the lady at the scolarité was really helpful. I also went to the CLOUS today to get more info concerning my accommodation in a résidence universitaire from September.

- visits to the bank, lots of TV viewing :-), reading, and a weekend trip to Lyon.

Tomorrow I hope to go to the mairie and the CLOUS to submit the relevant documents. I hope I'll have another good day like I did today!