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14 November, 2008

Faux Pas at the Bank...or...My Most Embarassing French Moment


OK, if I am going to call this blog "Confessions..." I have to confess something, right? So here I go....
When you move to another country, there are a lot of things that you don't know that the natives take for granted. I could not even give you an American example because I know how to operate here. Well, except maybe for Starbucks, but that's another blog. You need money, that I know, so I went to the bank with a French friend to open an account. It was kind of like going to the jewelry store here...a door inside a door. My friend opened the outer door and showed me how to buzz in to get permission to enter. I'm not sure what they use as criteria to let you in. There's just a glass door and the teller takes a look at you and then buzzes you into the inner sanctum of the bank. We must not have looked like bank robbers because they let us in. I filled out all the forms and got my checking account. I was told to come back in a week or so and get my checks. I guess they don't mail them, but that's OK . I lived across the street from the bank above the driving school, remember?



I went back to get my checks...like a big girl, all alone. When I got to the bank and pulled on the handle, the door wouldn't open. Hmmmmm....today is Wednesday. It's afternoon. In my hometown when I was a little girl everything closed on Wednesday afternoon. That must be how it works here. I couldn't peer in the door...the glass was frosted. So I decided to come back tomorrow. Later my friend asked if I got my checks. "No," I replied, "the bank was closed. It's Wednesday afternoon. I pulled on the handle and the door was locked." He laughed. "You PUSH to go in! The only door in town that you pull is the Maison de la Presse and they have a sign saying "Tirez" so you'll know." I felt so stupid! Then I realized...most of the time in the US you pull to go in and push to go out. Think about it. We very kindly accommodate the shoppers who are laden down with packages. Maybe we should switch to the French system. I might spend less money.

16 comments:

  1. Oh that's soooo me!! Do you wonder if the people in the bank could see you, and were wondering what the heck is she doing? Lol!! I had a very silly thing happen to me in a cafe in Paris. I was having lunch with a friend and needed to go to the ladies room...Well you had to pay to use the bathroom....I didn't have any change with me, and the ladies room seemed to be a football field away from my table. There was someone in the bathroom....so I thought I'd be pretty sharp, and as soon as the person opened the door to leave (mind you at this point I'm nearly dancing from...well you know).... I sashayed on in, parked myself where I needed to....And the lights went out!! I had no idea where the TP was...so I was groping around in the dark...and frankly it became a little terrifying...Think Stephen King making horror out of the most mundane things. I wondered if the door would be locked so I wouldn't be able to leave.. Is this how the french find the criminals who don't pay for the potty? Well I worked myself up into quite a little dither. Finally found paper *Amen* and the door did open! Hooray, Freedom!! I'd never been so happy to get back to a table in my life! Lol!! Yep..those little things we take for granted *winks* Vanna

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  2. Vanna, you are sooo funny! Love your story!

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  3. You are so adorable and funny. :) Love it! For a minute I thought you were living in France now and wondering how I missed that and then I realized... See, I'm doing it too!

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  4. That's a cute story! I'm sure you're laughing about it now!!
    Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  5. Debbie, I love your stories and pictures. It's fabulous to be able to relate your experiences in a way that we can all go along with you for the ride. Fun reading. Can't wait for the next installment. Marty

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  6. Debbie...OMG, sounds like something I would have done. I was somewhere the other day and pulled on a door that plainly said PUSH...there was a guy right behind me...I know he thought I was a dummy! :-) Love your stories! Susan

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  7. This made me soooo laugh out loud. Remember I said I lived in Brussels, Belgium for 3 years. For me learning all the various words/languages did take some getting used to. My son's favorite foreign word to this day (he was 11-14) when we lived there, is German for "exit." Ausfarht. He used to say...(and I hope this doesn't offend anyone - sorry in advance) "I farht, you farht, we ausfarht." Still cracks me up and he is 24 yrs old. LOL
    Love ur stories! Hugs, Barbg

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  8. Debbie this was hysterical.. I can only imagine the feeling you had..You are such a delight to read.. I can imagine myself over seas with you...hugs ~lynne~

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  9. Debbie..that was too funny girl..I would be lost in France or for that matter I get lost in Calif and I lve here..its so great reading you girl..thanks for sharing...hugs and smiles Gloria

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  10. You gave me a smile and chuckle to start my day, and I thank you. I've "pushed" instead of "pulled" before, and I didn't have the reason of being "a stranger in a strange land" for a defense. Just in too big of a hurry to bother to read the sign on the door.

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  11. GM Deb, Oh my goodness, I don't think I can travel abroad because I do stuff like that all the time "Here" and I know what I am doing, well sort of. That was a great story, You are a great story-teller. Vanna's story gave me a good chuckle too.Your blog is intersting and entertaining, thanks for sharing,look forward to more, Hugs Kathysue

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  12. Great story. I have a hard time understanding people and customs when we visit the East coast, so I can just imagine the pickles I'd get into overseas! Love reading your stories, and all of your wonderful pictures. Can't wait for your next post. smiles Kathy (thanks to Marty for telling me how to post a comment - I guess I had a major duh moment this morning)

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  13. Thank you for sharing the hilarious Youtube clip! That was so funny! It does look like Chestnut. He sits like that too. ~Melissa

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  14. Too, too fun NEE! So glad to hear someone else has that kind of "adventure". The problem is I do it in the country where I live! laurie

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  15. That's a good one. I once got stuck in a gas station bathroom in Hungry!!!!

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  16. been there...feel for you. that was a cute story.

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Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie