It's off to the dole office I go. Or went, rather, this morning. I had to assemble a fearsome list of documents, only some of which were actually needed, but obviously one crucial document was a "work certificate" from the assistant job in Nice which I don't have, of course. I looked back through my emails to find the name of my contact person there and found one where she actually offered to send me one just before I left Nice. I was moving to Tours with no forwarding address, but she assured me it should get to me before I left. In short, it didn't, I forgot all about it, and now the lack of it has come back to bite me.
Anyway, other than that, the woman was really nice - I was expecting some sort of ritual humiliation or something - and the "interview" consisted mostly of her confirming the details I had filled in online (which took an age with her two-fingered typing, I wanted to mutiny and take control of the ship) and then a bit of desultory job searching. She gave me a reference for a job in Chartres which is not only far from here but I don't like the sound of at all (working for an agricultural centre), but I suppose if beggars can't be choosers then they can at least not try very hard with their application. One thing I learnt is that, in addition to getting financial help to attend interviews out of town (which I'd already heard about), if you actually get a job somewhere else they pay up to 2500€ moving costs! I expressed the view that that was a LOT of money and she somewhat defensively listed costs like moving vans and petrol and that it "added up quickly". All I can say is, if I do move somewhere, I'm doing it with style with professional movers in that case!!
I'm a bit confused as to the all-important question of getting some money honey - apparently they look at my dossier over the next 10 days (which will probably stretch on and on given all the holidays in May) and then decide whether it's the government or my old job that has to pay the dole for me (this is the confusing bit). Then, either way, I would get paid for May at the beginning of June and so on in arrears. I hope that it does actually work out like that - I was looking at my bank balance the other day and thinking "okay, I have about 400€ to the end of the month, that's doable" and then it struck me that "the end of the month" is currently a bit meaningless since there's not guaranteed to be any money coming in at that point!
The other big thing I did today was pop in to work. I hadn't been planning on doing so - it is just around the corner from the dole office but I had planned to skirt around by another route to avoid running in to anyone, but on the way there I was feeling okay and I decided to bite the bullet and go in to say hi. And wouldn't you know, turns out they don't all secretly hate me and think I'm a shirker (or if they do, they did a good job of hiding it). They even encouraged me to steal an external hard drive (not sure if I should put that on the blog!) - I was going to take it home to back my documents up and then return it, but everyone was all "what external hard drive? Was there an external hard drive on your desk before, because none of us saw one?" Ah, how easily we are led into temptation! I'll probably suffer some sort of attack of conscience and break in to sneak it back... Damn, talking of which, I should have given my keys back. Anyway, everyone was very nice although there was some of the stress-inducing chat about future plans and whether or not I want them to find work for me (which again, I realise makes me sound either like a crazy person or an ungrateful sod, but it makes me slightly hyperventally having to receive advice and make decisions and so on). But I feel very relieved that I went and talked to them and no longer have to fear that I'll run into them somewhere and have to scuttle away like a demented crab.
The other big news is that I just got a call from my wacky Texan friend Greg, who is in Paris and will soon be in Tours!! I haven't seen Greg since 2007, which as discussed in said phone call, makes me feel old and him like he's wasting his life. But, as also discussed, at least we haven't been sitting in our respective home towns for 5 years making babies (no disrespect to those who have been). He's been metaphorically whoring himself about on cruise ships and I have, as discussed with Mary Kay this week, NOT been spreading the Good News. Greg and I first met doing the CELTA teaching qualification in Prague in 2006. Amongst other things, I spent several of the most uncomfortable weeks of my life sleeping on top of a blanket on the freezing concrete floor in his basement flat that he was convinced was full of poisonous gases. So the least I can do is put him up for an unknown quantity of time...
Anyone who wants to see what I was up to 5+ years ago or see Greg with his shirt off (oh là là) can consult such past gems as our tour of Calais, our trip to Cesky Krumlov (warning, there's a lot of cleavage on show in this one, what else is new though?), us drinking absinthe, or visiting a cemetery. Good times!