Monday, February 28, 2011

The "Maskros" Lamp

Welp. So much for my future in interior design. Today I fought the French streets with a heavy shopping bag full of goodies from Ikea and an enormous, heavy, rug. Yes I am a warrior. But according to B I'm also an idiot.

I had drooled over this Ikea Maskros lamp ever since I saw it online weeks ago. I lay awake at night dreaming of where I would hang it and the amazing magic that would fill any space I put it. So, excited as humanly possible, I bought the thing and electrocuted myself pretty seriously trying to put it up.

And lo! The greatest eye soar ever to grace Dijon. IT LOOKS AWFUL. And I'm embarrassed. B hates it and I'm sure he's plenty worried for the fate of the rest of his apartment. *le sigh* guess I'm taking it down and taking it back tomorrow??

It's not really the sort of thing you can ignore

Sunday, February 27, 2011

French Family, French Broken Legs

If you don't take cheese seriously, you're doing it wrong.

So! I somehow agreed to going on a road trip and staying the night in the French town of Voujeaucourt. Comme habitude, I didn't know the details until I was all ready there. We were staying with B's sister, brother in law, and their new baby Eliza.

Lets get one thing straight here. I have NO PROBLEM with babies. As far as I can tell they're just innocent bystanders. It's the relentless cloud of high pitched nonsensical sounds and songs that surround said baby that leads me to pray for nuclear holocaust. That said, I suffered greatly throughout the afternoon and evening. Prolonged hours of the usual baby treatment compounded with a group of 5 adults speaking French at the speed of sound lead to sweating and serious headaches.

It didn't help that Stephane, B's brother in law, found it perfectly pertinent to inflate the air mattress for us with a hair dryer. Bien sur, the thing melted and developed holes. So while I was curled helplessly on a bean bag, freezing, stinky, and hung over after the day of eating and drinking, the boys scurried around trying to make us a bed out of sofa cushions, blankets, and yoga matts. OK, whatever. I was so scared of Aliens the night before I hadn't gotten to sleep till 5, so I was ready for anything.

But then! In the night! An enormous crash. Tout le monde (sans B of course, since you could wake the dead before you could wake him) jumped out of bed and bumped into each other frantically looking for the meteor or tree or whatever it was that had crashed through our ceiling. Turns out, it was a car in the street literally right outside the door.

I still don't get it; there was only one car, I couldn't figure out what it had hit. Regardless, the driver side was totally smashed. We called the police and watched as Stephane and some neighbors ran out and addressed the driver. At first I couldn't understand why they weren't pulling the poor guy out. Then I realised that you could see that the motor has been pushed through the front of the car and was smashed against his legs. I was dismayed to hear that he was a young kid and thought sympathetically for his mother who would at any time be receiving a terrible phone call.

It took the better part of an hour to get the guy out and I watched nervously through the window the whole time. I wanted to see that he was ok. They had to cut the top of the car completely off. When they finally lifted him out vertically, I was relieved to see he still had both legs, but they were both, obviously, very very broken in all sorts of unpleasant ways. Ugh. Poor guy.

This whole episode passed while B slept. It worried me because I got to thinking what would happen if, perhaps some time in the night here in Dijon, the ceiling of this old monk tower caved in on me or something. If B were sleeping downstairs I'd be without hope! Bombs could be dropping and you can't wake him up!

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Dream of Showers

Today I decided to take the apartment with the big French windows. Then decided not to. Then decided to do it again and had B call the agency. We can't go in with the paperwork till Tuesday though, so I'm still going feverishly between decisions. Not that you can really call them that. Seriously what would you do? I can't stay here! B and all that surrounds him smells bad! And his apartment is painful to every one of the the senses, especially the eyes. You can't take a shower here, you have to sit in a slimy tub and put yourself under the faucet, turning the water off while you try to wash your hair or a body part before you freeze to death because there's only [equal to or less than] 10 min of hot water.

But! I am a girl without a car, a salvation army, craigslist, or language facilities. Moving into an unfurnished apartment will be no picnic. But by God at least there's a sparkling clean shower. It's a really cute place, with high victorian style windows and a little porch over a cute French street. It's old but also bares a few marks of modernity; aka a functional kitchen and shower.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The French and Second Hand

France is certainly not a fan of second hand stores, Salvation Armys, and Good Wills, let me tell you. One of my greatest concerns about getting an apartment here is how the heck I’m gonna furnish the dang thing. I once thought, in those blissful days of ignorance some weeks ago, my biggest problem was fighting spiral staircases and narrow French streets sans a vehicle. Now I know that I face a greater terror. B has never heard of a second hand store. (I throw a minor fit in public)

“What do you do with your stuff when you don’t want it anymore?!”
“We iz throwing it away!”
“What do you do when you want to furnish a new apartment?!”
“We iz going to zee Ikea!”

I protest that this can’t be true. I explain in every French word I know how life can not exist without thrift stores; especially for college kids moving in and out of apartments. B merely shrugs and apologises.

“But buying new furniture is only for rich people! And not environmentally irresponsible!” I try. In English I shout that “I’m going to commit suicide all over the place.” B can’t understand and is by now accustomed to my drama, so he lights a cigarette.

In other news, B is more and more reluctant to let me move out. I'm surprised by this, especially since I’m refusing him physical intimacy, but he really wants me to stay here with him. I understand that he's prone to depression and living alone sucks for all normal people- and each night I dance for him and every day I tug him out the door for walks to make sure he gets sunshine and activity. Who wouldn't want me around? I’m a cozy personable person. But well, while he insisted that I stay with him, we were on a bus and he had just finished a cig. His breath was soooooooo painful. There was frankly no way I could hold a conversation with him and an apartment on the other side of town was looking pretty good.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Medieval Ghosts

B with pretty much the coolest French car I've ever seen

Things are for the most part peaceful at the close of my second week in France. B has been been incredibly helpful in the effort to find me an apartment; we've been popping in and out of places all over town for the last few days and I've found it to be amazingly fun. Everything is so old! I love wandering up the spiraling staircases to reach the front door, wondering what kind of romantic possible future home awaits me.

I've found a few wonderfully eclectic and charming old medieval mouse holes, but I'm being forced to face a rather serious problem: I'm terrified of the dark. Last night I suffered several night terrors in which I was convinced I was being abducted by aliens, tormented by medieval French ghosts, and possessed by demons all at the same time.

Does that ever happen to you where you wake up a few moments before you body does? Your eyes flick open and for a few terrible seconds you can't move your limbs? The first time this happened to me I was 100% convinced that I was being abducted by aliens and I since have never been able to sleep alone.

Last night, I had one such episode, and to make things ten billion times worse it happened at 3:33 am. I don't care who you are or what you believe but thats a dang creepy coincidence. So! I ran down the stairs and hopped on the couch with B, absolutely scared out of my wits. He ended up coming upstairs and sleeping with me. Cured my anguished fear but caused several other problems:

A) It makes me have second thoughts about seeking out an apartment to live alone in.

B) It may well complicate the just now becoming comfortably platonic relationship I've managed par extensive negotiations with B.

C) He stinks, snores, steals the blankets, can't be awakened no matter how I push, slap, shout or struggle, and, like some formidable French glacier, creeps every so slowly towards the edge of the bed throughout the night; pushing me like a doomed animal towards the edge of the continent.
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