Sunday, 1 August 2010

Return of the Troublesome Child

Hello I’m back. Yes it’s really me, not a virage. Yes, I know. It’s been about 3 months since I last made an entry.

Blogging can be a tough job. Many other bloggers encounter the same issues. It can drain your juices at times. So following the advice of the road safety organisation, I have taken a break from chronicling my long journey. Remember tiredness kills!

Not fooled? Okay. I just couldn’t be arsed. I was fed up spending hours preparing stuff that few people read. I put it on in the first place so that family, friends and former colleagues could see how I was progressing with my change of lifestyle and country.

Few had noted or mourned its passing and my father had saved a fortune in paper and ink because he prints the blog off for my mother to read.

Today is the first of the month, so perhaps with this new beginning I will manage another succession of posts.

Well a lot has happened since I last glogged (yes I know that is a spelling mistake but hopefully I have invented a new word which will make its way into the dictionary).

As you slowly try to integrate yourself into a new country and culture, it becomes increasingly difficult to write stuff which involves the people that you work for, or meet along the way. This means that some of the most frustrating observations have to be left on the cutting room floor.

So here we go.....

Healthy living.

Some may remember that my UK health care cover ran out on 1st January this year. My teaching jobs left me far short of the minimum 60 hours paid work per month, which would have got me in to the French Secu (Social security) system and its associated health cover.

When I quit my teaching English to primary kids job, and started work as a AVS (Assistant vie scolaire – School life assistant) I reached the dizzying heights of 80 hours per month.

I went down to the Secu with all the supporting paperwork that I could find. A nice lady looked at my paperwork, photocopied documents. “Where is your payslip?” she asked. Of course it wasn’t amongst the papers. “Come back when you find it” she said. She also called in a colleague (exhibit B, a real lemon-sucker)., who confirmed that yes, I would be one of theirs. I.e that my social security payments / healthcare would be co-ordinated by them.

I spent the next 4 hours ransacking my flat. It was nowhere to be found.

Some 20 days later I got a phone call from the high school that co-ordinates my contract. “Have you moved house?” she asked. “Your payslip has been returned to us as not know at this address”

So mystery solved. They had my address wrong on their files.

I received my payslip a few days later and went off down to the secu. A different woman saw me. I explained my situation again and she photocopied my payslip. “Don’t do anything until you hear from us” she said “I will telephone you to let you know when your carte vitale has been updated.

Several weeks passed, so I went back to the Secu with my latest payslip (just in case, because the French civil servants love documents). There was lemon-sucker. “I explained my situation again. “I remember you” she said, and poked about in some files “I told you that you would not be covered by us because you are on an AVS contract. You will be covered by MGEN”.

Now it doesn’t do to upset / argue with these people, as they can make you life very difficult. “no she didn’t know where their office was in town” she said helpfully.

Fortunately they were listed in the phone book.....

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