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Archive for the ‘House-Hunting’ Category

The relentless drama that was my search for a roof and a bed has, I am proud to announce, officially come to a close. I am a proud lessee in a 2-bedroom apartment near Place Castellane, in quite a chic neighborhood of Marseille, if I do say so myself. I’ve been moved in for about five days now, but since I only signed the lease and paid the rent last night, I wanted to hold off on any celebratory blogging, lest something else go wrong, which, let’s face it, is not unheard of.

One of the other language assistants sent out a notice about two weeks ago, saying that a teacher at his school were looking to rent a second bedroom in an apartment where another English language assistant was already living. As this announcement came to me while I was deep within the throes of exhausting internet searches and telephone calls to real estate agents, looking for a place with Corey, this seemed like a rather handy solution for me, one in which I wouldn’t have to pay a finders’ fee, easy to get to the train station to commute to Marseille…seemed pretty sweet. So I visited, I thought about it for a few days, and I eventually decided that although this apartment wasn’t perfect, I preferred it to the agonizing uncertainty that would be continuing to look. So, without even having met the Liverpudlian roommate, I agreed to move in the following weekend. (more…)

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August 2010

8/15: After having sent a frantic email out to all the language assistants, I find two or three who are willing to room with me in Martigues. One of them says “I’m not racist but…” and one lives far away and wants to live in her town. The third is Austrian Christina. We agree to look for a place to live together.

September 2010

9/22: I arrive in France, and immediately begin looking for an apartment in Martigues. They are all old, unfurnished and overpriced.

9/23: I see a few more apartments, but not very many, because everyone is on strike.

9/24: I meet up with Austrian Christina, we walk around aimlessly looking for low-cost housing options. Everyone tells us we should go to the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs for an inexpensive option. We go, they are closed.

9/27: I go back to the Foyer, and they agree to rent me a room. I take a tour, and it is kind of crappy, but I’m okay with it, and agree to move in on Oct 1. I take the rest of the week off. (more…)

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In the continued saga that is my search for a home/living place/bed for the next seven months, there have been a lot of ups and downs and ridiculous encounters with various people who either want way too much money or who are trying to get rid of super crappy apartments. This is boring. I am not going to tell all those little stories because they are terrible and will make you never want to move to France, and above all they make me very very angry.

However, today was a first. While I searched frantically for accommodation in Martigues and also in neighboring Marseille, I was the intended victim of a fairly classic scam, and quite frankly it added a bit of spice to the supremely boring and frustrating task that is finding an apartment for such a short period of time. Thus I will share it with you.

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