After grabbing TGV tickets and such at the Gare de l’Est, we finally had 45 minutes to sit back and relax. I thought I was going to die. I mean literally; I thought my heart was going to stop beating out of exhaustion. But I was here - in France - going to my final destination, and that deserves a wow. I made it in more ways than one. The rest of our little voyage ended pretty well we found a taxi once we got to the Reims Gare and were off to the hostel. The hostel was one of the most well maintained hostels I have ever seen and thank the stars above that they had wifi (pronounced weefee, which makes me giggle every time I see or hear it) and so I have been connected sparingly. We had a goal to stay up the first night until at least 9:30 pm just so our jet lag wouldn’t be as difficult to overcome. My first dinner in France was a salad with hot goat cheese – delicious something I had been craving for... ummm...5 years. It has actually been the token meal for me as a vegetarian; something that grows more questionable everyday. It’s weird before when I was a vegetarian I didn’t even glance back when I started eating meat again, but now as I am wee bit older and perhaps more committed it seems awkward because I know more about being a vegetarian and more of what it means to me.
The next day (Friday) we woke up and had breakfast at the hostel and started our apartment search, a search that would not be easy. We started off very excited, almost giddy as we frolicked around the streets of Reims. Every once and awhile the Cathedral would sneak up on us and we would just stop and stare. The Cathedral is stunning and even a week later I’m not over how beautiful it is. As we went from realtors office to realtors office, we started to get discouraged. They wanted us to have someone cosign for us that was French and we tried to convince them that we could have our American parents do it, but they were not budging. Finally we came to a place that showed us an apartment and by apartment I mean a house. Aparently a three bedroom place is just too large and we would get 1-uped to a house or something gigantically large each time. Not that the place was that drastic the house that could have fit six people (4 actual bedrooms and two questionable rooms) was only a thousand euro. The location wasn’t what we wanted and so we moved on. At the near end of the day we had seen three apartments, but nothing seemed to be just right. We thought we could find a place that afternoon and move in the next day. That is how drunk we must have been when we thought up this plan.
Saturday was pretty much the same story except our jetlag was finally setting in and so it made everything infinitely worse. We ended up buying this list thing that enabled us to directly contact property owners that were in our size range and price range. Oh the French, the French who decided it would be a great idea for property owners to decide every person that lives in their apartments instead of leaving it up to a realtor. The French that think it’s an even better idea to let people show apartments to themselves . That’s right. We were handed keys to an apartment and told to find it and then look at it to see if it worked. It was pretty funny, but these apartments are like the island of misfit toys and so they tend to be slightly shabby, unloved, and decorated in moldy-ish carpet. I’m not going to lie. They were pretty awful. And then we couldn't find places to sit. At one point we were calling property owners whilst sitting on a pallet we did that until we found ho,ebase in some steps near the back of the Museum of Fine Art fondly dubbed We had to cut Saturday into a half day if only because we thought we were not going to be able to continue. We struggled back defeated as only one can feel defeated in France.
But eventually things did look up and we found a place. It isn't furnished and so we had to make a trip to place called Conforama, an ikea-esque place that housed many glorious things we bought everything, paid for it and then rented a truck for the next day. They loaded the truck up and we were ready to go. What followed would be ridiculous and needs its own post.