It’s the first day of “vacation” for me and Sheila. That’s not to say that we don’t have anything to do. It’s Paris, we can find plenty of things to go see, and we definitely have a lot of projects to think about. I ended up getting up around 9:30, we had breakfast at 10:30, which is a little later than we usually would have it on a Monday anyway. We did our laundry while we ate, then got ready leisurely. I attempted to clean up the rug in the bathroom a little bit. The old toothbrush I had helped a little, but I’ll have to do some research on what I kinds of soap can safely use on a sisal rug without damaging it since water wasn’t cutting it. We needed to go into Sweet Briar since Sheila was expecting a book, and Kyle wanted us to meet up with him after he had his class so we could go buy tickets to go to Euro Disney this Sunday. I had seen a Travelex office in the area over by the Panthéon on Saturday, so I wanted to try to exchange some traveler’s checks there since that was by Sweet Briar. We headed out around two after making a quick stop by an ATM so I could get enough cash to refill my Navigo for the week (and the month since we’ve only got a few days left in October).

I didn’t end up seeing the Travelex office when we were by the Panthéon, but I did see a different exchange office that said it accepted traveler’s checks, so I went inside. To refresh your memory, I’d made a mistake on ALL of the checks I have by putting my name in the “pay to the order of” box, but all of the offices I’ve been to so far have crossed out my name there, and put the name of their office next to it, which is what’s supposed to be done. This teller told me to sign my checks, so I did. When I passed them through the window, he looked at them, and asked me why I’d put my name in the “pay to the order of” box, so I explained to him that I’d made a mistake immediately after I’d bought the checks when I was at my bank, and every other office had crossed out my name, then put the name of the office in its place, which is okay to do. He said that he couldn’t take the check since I’d done something stupid. I was a little dumbfounded, and tried to explain again that I knew I’d made a mistake, but I’d cashed the checks with that error before, so he called his colleague over and told the colleague (in French), “This idiot girl is trying to tell me that we can take this check when she’s got her name on it where we’re supposed to put ours.” The colleague immediately started talking to me in English. “We can’t take it, you need to go talk to your bank now.” Excuse me, my bank is in another country. I tried to tell him in English (since he’d taken that language with me) what all the other offices had done before, but he cut me off and wouldn’t hear it, and he practically shoved the checks back into my hand. I left with two counter-signed travelers checks, and quite the chip on my shoulder. So this was the “French people are rude” stereotype that everyone thinks is true… Sheila had heard the whole thing. Being the “internalist” that I am, I assumed I’d made the mistake, but she assured me both of the men were incredibly mean, and I’d done nothing wrong. All I was concerned about was the fact that I’d already countersigned BOTH of the checks, and you’re supposed to do that in the presence of the teller that actually takes them. It’s not like I can countersign them twice…

We went up to Sweet Briar after that. The elevator is still broken. Denzel and Joel (among a handful of other people) were there. Sheila got her book, and Joel pulled out a bar of dark chocolate and offered some of it to us. Mme. Grée saw it and he gave some to her too. She mentioned that she’d read an article about how Switzerland happens to be the country that eats the most chocolate per capita, and also has the highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners. When she was helping Sheila with some homework and was making “discoveries,” I pointed out that the chocolate must be working, so that’s now become an inside joke. At least laughing cheered me up a little bit… Once Kyle and Joan got out of class, we headed over to Fnac and bought our Disney tickets, then headed home. I called American Express’ help line to ask what to do about my traveler’s checks, and they said that they were technically still valid and I had a couple of options. I could hang onto the checks until I went home and have my home bank (the one I bought them from) reimburse me, or if I tried to cash them again at one of the bureaus that I know accepts my checks by crossing out my name in the “pay to the order of” box, I can give them the help line number for France, the person helping me can call them and American Express will give them specific instructions with how to go about the transaction so that I get paid, and the bureau gets paid as well. Frankly, with all of the trouble I went through today… I’m a little too scared to attempt to cash my already-countersigned checks. I’ll probably save them until I go home, and I’ll cash the checks I was supposed to save for December at the bureau I used last month since I know they’ll take them. Maybe I’ll try cashing these “dud” checks in December when I let my courage repair itself a little…

Dinner was really good. Madame made a blanquette de veau (think veal stew with a white cream based sauce) with potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms and we had rice with it. She’s getting the hang of my whole gluten-free thing, she mentioned that it’s usually made with flour, but she used corn flour instead. We had a salad and some cheese after we had that course, then we had yogurt for dessert. I had to write a small composition to turn in for Atelier d’Écriture tomorrow, and it had to predominantly be in past tense. I ended up writing about losing my Navigo. It’s taken me forever to get around to doing my homework since I’ve been on such a “research graduate film programs” kick lately… and now I have all sorts of film treatments and ideas for short films running around my brain, it’s not even funny. I really need to get my priorities straight.

Sheila and I have our only class for the week tomorrow, then we’re all done. We should figure out some fun things to do past doing all sorts of other homework. I need to play “fashion police” to get some ideas for the costume part of my final project for my Sweet Briar theatre class, and I definitely have a lot of plays to read for my other theatre classes… but I know I don’t want to stay in all week, as cold as it’s starting to get…

Les hommes valeureux le sont du premier coup. Corneille: Le Cid

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