101 Goal Challenge: Week 6

Fountain in the Jardin du Palais Royal

My second full week of non-employment was fabulously productive for my 101 goals list.

On Tuesday, I went to the Préfecture, or police department, in my region, which is the first step towards applying for a French resident card (#86). While the process of applying for the card is not that complicated, going to the préfecture is a long and annoying process. Basically, I have to get up at 6 in the morning in order to snag a spot in line. This time, I was #115 after arriving at about 6:30 AM. Since it’s August and most of France is on vacation (especially government employees), there was only one window open at any given time. I ended up getting to the window at around 2:30 to make my appointment for October 31. Thankfully, despite my nightmares, I did not forget any important paperwork that would require me to go back a second time. And my appointment on the 31st should be quick, just dropping off papers.

I got some online quotes for term life and disability policies for me and Hamid (#13). French life insurance is vastly different from U.S. life insurance; French policies are designed to cover burial expenses and basic living expenses for a year or so, while U.S. policies seem to replace the lifetime earnings of the deceased person. Unfortunately, since we’re technically residents of France, I don’t think there’s any way we’d be able to sign up for a U.S. life insurance policy. The highest benefit French policy I found had a payout of €80.000, and the monthly premium for a 30 year term would be around €17. For U.S. policies, a monthly premium of around $25 would get us about $1 million in coverage, but again, I’m not sure we’re eligible to sign up for one. I made an appointment with a neighborhood insurance agent for Monday, so we’ll see what he says.

For my charitable giving goal of €1500 (#11), I already make a monthly donation of €20 the the French Red Cross, and €10 to Amnesty International. Since these are automatically deducted from my bank account every month since earlier this year, these two donations together put me on track to give €990 to charity during the term of my goal list (33 months). This week, I also signed up to give €5/week to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), or €21.66/month, and €10/month to Greffe de Vie (Transplants of Life), a French charity that supports organ donation. Since these two automatic withdrawals will start in September, they’ll run for 31 months during the list term, and result in €981.36 in donations, for a total of €1,971.46. For the price of a student loan payment or my cell phone bill, this puts me on track to hit the €1500 in charitable donations in September 2014, 6 months ahead of the goal’s end.

On the Paris Unraveled front, I wrote two blog posts for my own site and had two guest posts published, one on Hack College and the other on I Love Study Abroad. I never did hear back on the article idea I submitted to Gadling.

On Saturday, Hamid and I went into Paris and did a huge walking tour of the 1st arrondissement, in preparation for writing a Paris Unraveled guidebook for the neighborhood. Not only was it fun to be a tourist in the city for a day, I added a new park to my list: the Jardin du Palais Royal.

Finally, I noticed on the Opera de Paris website that tickets for this season’s performances are selling out fast (in spite of everyone being on vacation). I bought 2 tickets to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro for mid-September, and tickets to a musical performance of Mozart and Dvorak in June, 2013.

That’s all for this week!

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