October 04, 2003

Welkomen in Rijsel...
(Welcome to Lille in Flemish, as Lille was the capital of Flanders)
Sorry for not writing more or sooner, but things have been busy here.
I visited one of my schools on Thursday, and the prof was really nice. I met the English teachers, and one of them lives in Lille, so he'll probably be able to drive me out at least one day a week. He actually drove me into Belgium (there's not even a sign saying that you've entered another country).
The other city that I'll be working in, Armentieres, was founded in 866, and no, I'm not missing a 1 at the front). It's got some amazing architecture, but there's not a lot else to do in the towns.
Lille is quite nice; that is if you discount the fact that there is no green space, and the there is dog poo literally everywhere (I haven't stepped in any yet!)
My place is OK. It's a little small, but it's better than the youth hostel (my room there smelled like barf and cologne, uck). There are at least 10 assistants living in the same building as I am. There are 3 British girls, a few Americans, and a Spanish assistant from Columbia. I met some cool people at the hostel. I met an assistant from Portugal, two from Italy, and two from Chile, as well as several British assistants.
Yesterday was the orientation in Lille, when all of the assistants got together for an info session. It was OK, but the ''Formation'' (read teacher training) is this Thursday, in Douai, which is another city about 20 away by train.
I tried to open up a bank account at La Poste on Thursday (after setting up an appointment the previous day, so that I could see a financial advisor). Anyway, he looks at the visa in my passport and tells me that it's not the right type of visa, and that because I don't have a carte de séjour yet (I need a bank account to get the carte de séjour, because I need proof that I'm being paid) he can't help me, goodbye, better luck next time. Yah, that was helpful.
I'm going to try another bank on Monday morning. I talked with some assistants yesterday to get the names of a few places that have worked for them.

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