Learning to do things in a different country with a different language is certainly presenting some challenges, so I can’t wait to get my French lessons started.
While staying at Château Carbonneau, I thought I’d take advantage of Jacquie’s French skills to help me setup water and electricity accounts. My poor school girl French isn’t enough to help navigate my way around their websites, which even for those who are fluent in the language, find difficult to follow.
The first hurdle we came across was that I couldn’t register online without a French phone number, so Jacquie suggested I do that in the first instance. I drove off to Bergerac, about 40 minutes away and spoke to one of the sales people at Orange about setting up a mobile number, home phone and internet. The young guy was happy to help me and starting completing my application until it came to my address. I told him that I had sold my house in New Zealand and was in the process of buying a property here, but hadn’t actually bought it yet. This was a problem because as well as my passport, he needed two forms of ID with my residential address, and therefore suggested I wait until I receive my first water or electricity bill. I told him I couldn’t get either of those accounts set up set up until I had a French phone number. He shrugged his shoulders and told me there was nothing he could do.
Luckily, on my way to the Orange store I’d stopped into the furniture shop to pay the balance for the beds I was buying and the invoice had the château’s address. He then went and spoke to his manager, who suggested the property sale contract could be used as the second form of ID. That’s fine, I replied, but my address shows my sister’s address in New Zealand (since I no longer had a home). After giving this some thought, he decided it would be fine because the address of the property was listed on the document, even though my name and the address were on different pages. This meant a return trip to the B&B to collect the sale purchase agreement, a process which took all afternoon by the time the paperwork was completed.
At least I had a phone number but getting water and electricity set up had to wait for another day.