Good news! The housing gods eventually granted some sweet generosity, shining their great light upon me and allowing the much-awaited farewell to a [not so] “homeless” Chelsea to follow in hot pursuit. In short, I have an apartment, which I am yet to move into.
Your prying inquisition may have spurred the thought “isn’t seeking the same as finding?”. Well technically… yes, but as it were “finding” can be translated into being the desired conclusion of “seeking”. Or, perhaps “The Founding” as a penultimate title to my series sounded unsettlingly bizarre for my taste- the world may never know. Unfortunately, my dear friends, the gags and ranting will be kept to a minimum: “finding” is indeed the most important stage of the entire accumulation process, this requires a said level of ma-tu-ri-ty.
The listing for this particular apartment was advertised on my good old pal Le Bon Coin where I was obliged to call the provided number for more enquiries. It is important to understand that during the week, the French spend their days at work to return home between six or seven in the evening; except Fridays when they prefer to lounge at nearby cafés post-work, chinking their wine glasses incessantly and toasting to having survived another long five days in a 35-hour employment contract. Saturdays, despite the exhaustive escapades of last night, French(wo)men are at their most animate, either fulfilling the most trivial of responsibilities or immersing into cultural activities, and Sundays they laze around eating home-cooked meals. So, this gives you a slight indication as to when they will be available/willing to answer your call… which is never (but in all seriousness, be strategic with the timing of your phone calls, especially during the weekday, otherwise you will be thoroughly disappointed and frustrated with the results).
The landlord needs to feel assured that you are a polished and reliable candidate perfect enough for their property, so preparation, politeness and professionalism is key:
So, let us whizz past the unnecessary in-betweens and skip to viewing day. You will find that wearing a suit and tie to the viewing is rather “extra”. Frankly, I turned up in a construction-chic inspired outfit; dungarees, scuffed Doc Martens, a green hoodie, and I was fine. As long as you do not turn up dressed as Pennywise’s estranged cousin then I think you will be quite alright. Landlords are likely to feel confident in a candidate who exudes inquisitive and positive charms, so if you are interested in the apartment ask a lot of questions, and put on your best theatrics, you know, the one you once had at the zealous age of fourteen. Oooooh-ing and ahhhhh-ing with marvel at the place, whether it resembles Shrek’s bungalow or not, is the most obvious indication of intrigue. Although, do keep in mind that you are not a resident of Albert Square, you are but a humble international student looking for decent accommodation in Paris. Mr M, our landlord, was very sweet but he also had an air of being an accomplished, no-nonsense type of man, so I chatted leisurely with him whilst asking relevant questions and… well… the rest is history.
Firstly, I do want to apologise because I feel like this post is firstly, very long, and secondly, more of an instructive recount rather than a rant, but I wanted to be a lot more informative this time round, especially since the “finding” stage is essentially the difference between you having a place to live or not. Succinctly, staying polite, professional and organised doesn’t guarantee you that, however it is, in my opinion, the effective approach towards apartment accumulation. And honestly, being pleasant and polished never really hurt anyone.
by Chelsea Bondzanga
My return to ULIP has not been as smooth sailing as it was the year before. Most of that lies down to the fact that I am homeless, though I don’t think living with my cousin technically counts as homelessness. Nevertheless, this is not how I envisioned the beginning of my penultimate year at 11 Rue de Constantine to go.
During the entirety of the holidays I was… wait for it… employed! Yes, the responsibilities of adulthood (and my overdraft) trapped me in its claws, and I was compelled to work for the whole summer. Therefore, the endless calls I made back in the Motherland to possible landlords were futile, since I could not even visit the apartments I was calling for. Eager to return to Paris and begin searching properly, I booked a ticket on trusty old Eurostar Snap and headed for Gard du Nord.
Update: it hasn’t gotten any easier.
Multitasking; a key skill which should naturally be ingrained in any human being over 18. Multitasking; a key skill in which I, a 19-year-old, do not possess. My point? Balance; it’s been very difficult finding the equilibrium between studying and apartment accumulating. Apartments let like a Supreme drop on an island inhabited by teenage boys. In other words, leasing is almost instantaneous. Therefore, you’re forced to tirelessly browse your newfound soulmates- les sites immobiliers- 24/7 in the hopes of finding promising listings that could help alleviate your already elevated stress levels; and… you know… find somewhere to live.
PAP.fr, SeLoger and Le Bon Coin have become my most trusted advisors; sending me daily emails on new listings catered to my requests. Posting your email on these sites have been a true god-send, as you are directly informed on apartments that accommodate your criteria the moment they are advertised. Essentially, it does the searching for you, leaving you much-needed time for when those devoirs sommatifs start piling up. I know I’ll need them.
Overall, I wouldn’t say “seeking” has been the desired epiphany of my transitional period into real adult life, but neither has it been the bane of my university experience so far. It’s just something we all must do eventually, willingly or unwillingly so. If you haven’t yet had the privilege to parade yourself on the internet witlessly, desperate for four walls, in the words of House Stark “Winter is Coming”. Take from that what you will.
What I learnt:
by Chelsea Bondzanga
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