I didn't think I would succumb because yes, I'm a bit of a stubborn soul. I keep my guard up and I hold a soft spot for the familiar. I don't like to get too involved, too hooked in, too personal. After all, I arrived in France with the mindset of a single gal without no plans to stay here long term and little constraints. But you know what? It happened. It happened one sweet day. I've finally jumped on the bandwagon, let my guard down, opened myself up to possibility and well, the whole seems pretty promising.
Yes, ten months in and I finally opened a French Bank account.
It feels pretty good. I'm treated well. They call, but they don't call too often; just to see how I'm doing or invite me to an information session that offers student incentives. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but they're better than some of the other banks I've been with in the past. I'm being shown experiences that I haven't yet had until now in France--like being able to rent movies; like renting the city bikes; taking road trips with ease, because for most of the things here in France, your bank card needs that special chip; that chip that I didn't get in America; the carte bancaire.
I quite like my California credit union and despite the distance, we've made it work, which is probably why I stayed committed. Plus, you know, it's hard. It's hard once you've trusted other banks that looked good on paper, that your parents approved of, that promised not to disappoint, and then little by little, you start to notice that something's not right--a small fee here, a small fee there. And that's how it begins. It never ends well.
Sure, it's still difficult at times with a new relationship and of course, the language barrier can be a bit touchy, but there's patience; like the time they spent 17 minutes explaining to me how to deposit money into the machine versus how to deposit a check into the machine (because it's different than in the States). Or the fact that I wasn't belittled when I hopelessly admitted, "umm, I don't know how to check my account online. Did you realize your website is all in French?"
Yes, they did realize this.
I feel the way that I'm assuming my grandparents felt during the age of cell phones and email, but it's okay. I'm making progress, I'm making efforts and BNP and I, we have a basic communication. It's the foundation, right? Who knows what will happen when it's time to pack up and return to California, but for now, I know that I'm living in the moment. I'm happy….with my new bank.