Posts Tagged 'la poste'

Birthday Time (and the best gift from you)

My feet (and the rest of me) in Dieppe on my first birthday in France

My feet in Dieppe on my first birthday in France (the rest of me is there, too)

Happy midterm elections, USA!

Ahem. Yeah. Doesn’t the world feel in such a sorry state these days?

You’ll forgive me if I’m focused more on the personal than the political today. Because…it’s BIRTHDAY TIME! Woot!

If I look a little dazed here, it's because I am. I'd only been in France for a month and a half at this point. Ah, so many years ahead of you, sweetcake! A lot is going to happen.

If I look a little dazed here, it’s because I am. I’d only been in France for a month and a half at this point. Ah, so many years ahead of you, sweetcake! A lot is going to happen.

I received a package from my mom last week with 3 wrapped presents and tried waiting to open them until today. (I’m like an impatient kid in this respect and could only last until the weekend before succumbing to my curiosity and peeking early).

Besides the thrill of gifts (thank you, mom!), this marks a triumph, too. It was the first package that has arrived safely from my mom IN YEARS.

Dipping way back in the archives, I once declared La Poste my number one nemesis. So many packages had gone missing (and I heard from a chorus of readers who experienced the same thing), that it seemed someone was sneaking away with the goods. And so I sacrificed the comfort of care packages from home forever (sniff!)

A 2014 portrait of me by Richard Beban. Looking a little more clear-eyed here :)

A 2014 portrait by Richard Beban.

My mom would heroically try again from time to time to no avail, but this time, holy miracle! It arrived. Let’s take this as a great sign for the year ahead.

I thought to do a little pampering for my birthday (France has taught me the value of self-care), but part of what I wanted was not to get bogged down planning anything.

So oops! Couldn’t get an appointment today for my little treats. That’s ok: I now have a salon appointment on Friday for a hair cut and a massage on Saturday. I’m more than happy to stretch the birthday out all week.

I’ll be seeing my beau soon, then have a little fete with my writing workshop tomorrow.

With any luck, I might even run into some colorful festivity such as this forró flashmob in Paris.

A simple celebration and I couldn’t be happier.

(Oh, actually I could! I love receiving your comments. Thank you for reading – it’s the best gift ever).

Update: wow, package from my dad just now arrived, too. 3 delivered packages from the post in a week? Amazing!

Pages or a Package?

Today I went to the post office to pick up my writing advisor’s latest critique on some manuscript pages.

You can imagine my surprise when instead of returning with a large envelope, the postal worker emerged with a large box he could barely carry.

Now, wish it were that I actually had a finished novel and this was a package containing several tens of copies of said book, but nay, I am far, far from such a day.

“Um, that’s not for me,” I said.

“Oh? But this is the number that corresponds to your delivery slip,” he said.

Well, needless to say, it wasn’t.

You’ve already heard my rant about the inefficiency of the post, so no need to point out yet another mistake (oops! I guess I already did!)

Only, this time, I wonder if it could have worked out in my favor. I noticed the package came from Spain, Espana, and something told me there might just be something very interesting inside. If only I weren’t a goody two-shoes, I might have fled with said box….

Continue reading ‘Pages or a Package?’

La Poste: Nemesis Numero Uno

Boîte aux lettres La Poste

Have I ever told you how much I hate La Poste? That it is the bane of my existence? (Well, that and laundry).

My virulent loathing of the institution might seem a bit overstated, but I think in some ways it’s a good solution for dealing with my frustrations living in France. I simply channel all my ill feelings into this one receptacle – no need to get upset about everything.

Sure, I suppose I could choose someplace with a bit more power – the prefecture, say- as the singular object of my wrath. (You’ve seen my absolute terror in facing the prefecture here).

However, the prefecture is not a place I have to deal with often (usually just the annual trial suffices).

La Poste, on the other hand, is a fact of daily life. Inefficiency, surly customer service, long lines – all of these traits find their way here. All of France’s woes in one convenient location, in other words.

What has set off this tirade?

Well, a small thing, really. (Isn’t it always?)

I went to make photocopies and then mail off my US taxes and some health forms to my Mutuelle (June 15 is the filing date for us folks abroad, for those of you who think I’ve woefully missed the April 15 tax deadline. A Mutuelle is a complimentary health insurance for you same US folks who might not know.)

Sounds like a simple task, right? Only in France, no small task goes unpunished.

Go to my nearest post office. Copier only takes exact change (10 centimes). Machine that makes changes is out of order. Postal workers will not give me change because, well, they don’t like giving change.

Exit post office and go to nearest photocopy place. Stand in line. My turn. First 2 pages copy. Then machine stops copying. The guy working there (very nice, I will say) tries to figure out the problem. To no avail. Woman behind me exclaims, “this place is worse than the post office!”

Ok, next post office. Great! Their change machine works! Many 10 cent coins in hand. Go to their photocopier. En panne. (Out of service).

Back to original post office. One of the copiers has managed to fall en panne, too, in the interceding time, but one still works. I make all of my copies. Hooray!

After I finish, the woman behind me tries the machine. “It doesn’t work!” she cries. Break out another en panne sign.

Not a huge deal, I know. Believe me, I still have perspective. But a quick errand (I had assumed – hah!) turned into half a day. While I’m pretty laid-back, sometimes you just want things to be straightforward. Like mailing an envelope could – in an ideal world – take about 30 seconds. (But then this blog post wouldn’t have happened).

I’m sure there were other ways. Should I have gone to corner café, ordered a glass of wine and gotten some change that way? Maybe. Might have been more fun.

But no harm done. So onto something more evil.

the kittening (crazy-eyes edition)

The post office steals my care packages. Yes. They steal.

It’s wrong to jump to conclusions, right? But after the third or fourth missing package, you start to wonder. Especially when you go inquiring after your missing package, witness their entirely haphazard tracking system (consisting of the postal worker scanning a crumpled sheet with names scrawled in horrible handwriting with no other identifying information) to then inform you that the package has never passed through. To also hear other people complaining of their missing packages. To also know this has happened at two of your Paris addresses already.

I’ve told friends and family back home to stop sending me care packages. Do you know how sad this is? Do any of you realize how vital small gifts from home are to the long-term expat? But I am a strong girl. No, it’s ok, I say, lips quivering. I’d rather you not send it. No need to waste your money, mom. It probably won’t get here.

So ok post office, you steal my stuff. Fine. Can you please at least install a working photocopier? Or give me change? Thanks.


This is how it should be:

Cartas de amor

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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