Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

The search is over!

A while ago I made a post about the trials and tribulations of long-distance apartment-hunting, or as I fondly referred to it, LDAH.  Turns out, all it took was sheer luck.

My aunt and uncle recently (I say recently, but it was probably more than two years ago) moved to a small town in southern India called Coonoor.  Their neighbors include the usual assortment of monkeys, wild buffalo, and tea fields, but also, surprisingly, an art community and a couple of Francophones. And that’s how I finally found accommodation in Paris: I’ll be renting a room from my (beware: long winded explaination ahead) mom’s sister’s husband’s French friend’s mother.  Whew!

My 12m2 room is in the 5e arrondissement, which is wonderful on many accounts.

  1. It’s the oldest part of the city, as it was built by the Romans waaaaaay back in the day but then overhauled over time, which means a quick walk around my quartier has me gazing upon a veritable history of architecture, from the Panthéon (completed in 1789) to the Institue du Monde Arab (a Jean Nouvel building, completed in 1987).
  2. It’s where the learning’s at, pardon my butchering of the English language. The Sorbonne calls the 5e home.  Hopefully, that means there will be all kinds of wide-eyed French undergraduates looking to learn a bit of English on the side, and more than willing to fork over the 15€ per hour I’ve been told I can charge.
  3. It’s on the banks of the Seine itself.  Which means nice long walks along the river front, thoughtfully nibbling on a pain au chocolat as I ponder the mystical effects of Rive Gauche on the intellectual growth of Paris.  Ooh là là.

Nouvels IMA buildings apertures dont work, but theyre still beautiful!

Nouvel's IMA building's apertures don't work, but they're still beautiful!

The room itself is not a shabby deal:

  1. It’s a 12m2 room *with* a private bath! As opposed to a 9m2 room, which is what I would be paying an arm and a leg for otherwise.  Don’t get me wrong, this room I’m renting is going to stretch my budget, but the extra cubic feet of air I’m getting is quite worth it.
  2. One (hyphenated) word: rez-de-chaussée. No flights of stairs up which I must drag my suitcases.  Sweet.
  3. Apparently, it comes with a view to the courtyard.  As my readings in last semester’s Design Theory and Research class taught me, nothing better than a view to nature to perk up the drooping soul.
  4. Did I mention my room comes with a piano? No excuses now, I’ve got to practice with all that free time I’ll have. Hmm…and maybe get some beginner piano students?

The only downside I’m currently forseeing is the length of my commute.  It’s going to be at least an hour from door to door, since the RER E line that I’m supposed to take to Roissy-en-Brie is in Rive Droite, which means I have to take another 20 minute metro ride to connect to the E and a 30 min ride to get to Roissy-en-Brie…but I did an hour commute (Reston to Georgetown) all last summer, and at least this way I can catch up on some more reading.

I’m not sure how much CAF will refund me for this place, but any money I get back will be a blessing, so it’s not something I’m counting on (i.e. I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that I’ll have to find a way to make extra cash to make ends meet).

Still to do on the to-do-before-I-leave-for-France list: figure out how cellphones work in Europe, get more info on Bank of America’s international plans, have my birth certificate translated to French, gather teaching materials, and apply for design jobs in Paris.  At least I won’t be homeless when I get there!

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