French Chores

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Rue Contrescarpe, Nantes

Mademoiselle? You can sit down. Oh, it’s funny, you have goosebumps… is it too cold in there?”

“… No, I’m just terrified. It’s okay, I’m ready,” I reply before closing my eyes, throwing my head back and opening my mouth.

Now that I’ve typed the sentence above I realize it sounds like a cheesy porn intro. Sorry for getting your hopes up, this was just my 11:30 a.m. yearly dentist appointment and I was fully clothed.

I’m a responsible adult. I can totally book an appointment for myself and go for my yearly recommended checkup/cleaning. I’m able to fight the urge to cancel the appointment because after all, dentists need to make a living and see victims—I mean, patients. I can go by myself without holding my mom’s hand. I won’t beg Feng to come for support and I won’t drag Mark along for distraction.

But I still go to the dentist like a lamb to the slaughter.

I can’t help it. I can handle blood tests, flu shots, pap tests and other routine health procedures just fine but the mere thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair makes me nervous. Go figure.

Yet, not going to the dentist makes me even more nervous in the long run so I try to be that responsible adult and go for a checkup when I’m in France. I’m biased. I trust French dentists more than Canadian dentists because the latter are obsessed with cosmetic procedures and I never know what’s optional and what’s important. French dentists leave my crooked European teeth alone, they do the job and they are less judgmental.

Fifty euro and half an hour later, I was done. Nothing to report, clean teeth, see you next year—don’t forget, next year.

For a short while, I feel like I’ve just conquered the world. “I went to the dentist,” I kept on mentioning casually. “Oh, no big deal, just a cleaning. You haven’t been in a while? You should! The key is to go regularly, otherwise you start feeling bad about it.”

Ir goes without saying that tomorrow, I’ll start fearing my next appointment.

I wasn’t quite done with the chores yet since this year, my goal was to open a bank account in France.

“I see you had an account with us between 1999 and 2004… may I ask why you closed it back then?”

“… I had no money.”

The account manager checked all the documents I was asked to bring—proof of address (my most recent Canadian tax assessment), my last three bank statement and a piece of French ID—, realized my Canadian address couldn’t be entered in the system and mistyped my name four times but I managed to open the damn bank account. Why do I want a French bank account again? For convenience, mostly. The euro is a strong currency, so why not?

Alright, I’m done with the chores for the day.

I’ll sleep better than last night, for sure.

Rue Voltaire, Nantes

Rue Voltaire, Nantes

Rue Voltaire, Nantes

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

4 Comments

  1. I’ve been trying to close my French bank account for about, oh, five months now. They take about a month to reply to each message I send them.

    That’s funny that you save your dentist appointment for France, but I’m not surprised– when I lived in France I did the same but in reverse– I made my dentist appointment in the States. Something about the comfort of knowing what to expect!

    • I can’t say I’m surprised, I found the whole process with the French bank fairly inefficient and I remember it was VERY hard to close my account back in 2004. I’m not complaining too much though, I’m happy I managed to open the account.

      Did you see doctors or healthcare providers in France? How did your experience compare to the US?

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