The next adventure in Bretagne
Visa renewal, killing trees, and enjoying company
I’m very far away from being relieved. While I’m super happy that my internship is complete and I’ve been hired to stay on as a pastry cook for the season with the possibility of a permanent contract afterwards. But, to get there… is the administrative steps.
I’ve finally, I think, put together my visa renewal application package of all my “justification pieces,” a 46-page package, including documents that I didn’t know even existed. Bank statements, work contract, certificate of end of the internship, every page of my passport photocopied, my birth certificate, everything you might think of (and not think of) - it’s ridiculous! Today, the food and beverage operations director was a little annoyed with the never-ending list of documents required. Not only is the application package 46 pages long, but I also have to arrive with photocopies already printed, as the administrative staff won’t make photocopies for themselves. Living in France includes many trees being killed because it's useless if it’s not printed.
The big appointment is on Tuesday, in another city, that includes taking a train to arrive. That is if the train is running. Monday is a public holiday in France, so everything is already shut down. One of the largest unions in France has announced they will be holding a country-wide general strike on the same day to bring the country to a grinding halt, again for the retirement issue. I find this particularly funny because the country will already be at a grinding halt on a public holiday. Assuming my train is running as normal, I’ll arrive in Quimper Monday afternoon, just a few hours before I can check in to my Airbnb. If not, I have a private bus booked a few hours later than the train. If the bus is cancelled because there’s no way out, let’s just hope that doesn’t happen - because I need to make it to this appointment to keep my rights to stay in France. I’m looking forward to exploring Quimper a bit. It’s supposed to be a cool medieval city with many historic buildings. My coworker is from Quimper, and he tells me there’s not much to do besides hang out at cafes, which I won’t have any problem doing!
Aside from that, I’m starting to get a bit tired of Brest. There’s not much to do in Brest, and it’s quite a small city. In North American style, the city is spread out over a large land area, though it’s not easy to walk from one side of the city to another; it feels like I’m back in Canada! I feel like I’ve been to almost all the good cafes in Brest, and honestly, it’s too far to explore more. My favourite cafe in Brest is Écume Cafe, a small and cozy cafe that sells spiced hot chocolate and a CBD chai latte. They have weekly ‘pastries’ on rotation that are more like what you would find in an American cafe than a French one - apple cake, strawberry muffins, white chocolate pistachio cookies (so happy they aren’t the traditional macadamia nut ones). This is always my second stop in Brest after getting myself a morning viennoiserie after hopping off the bus.
Last week was also the sous chef’s first barbecue of the season. Since it was also my day off, she invited me to the barbecue, and it was quite nice. Seeing how the French have barbecues was quite funny to me as a North American because it’s what we consider just a normal weeknight dinner cooked on the barbecue, not what would even come close to being the first barbecue of the season in North America. There was about 10 kg of meat missing, no weird drinks, or odd summer-themed foods. That being said, some things were just like North America, like the oddly fluffy and soft grocery store baguette and the small amount of vegetables on the table (I really miss my mostly vegetarian diet from before moving to Le Conquet!). My only real complaint is that the barbecue was about five weeks before the May Two-Four, the real first weekend of summer, as we Canadians know. While I might be suffering from the lack of city-ness here, I’m really starting to feel part of the family and enjoying the company of those around me.
NEW Website! I’ve finally redesigned my website, take a look at it at ahmedjaffer.ca