Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The long story

When I got home from school today, after doing some shopping on the way home (bathmat, school supplies, tub stopper, sandwich), I found the male half of the husband-wife landlord team at my apartment. I wasn't too surprised because the wife had told me yesterday that he might come over while I was in class to make a few repairs. The repairs were few and minor but time consuming.

After he finished, and we talked for a while, I ate my sandwich and read for a while. Then I watched tv and knit. I planned to go out later but was overcome with tiredness. I'd walked round trip to school, at least two miles, but maybe more. Still, that's not so much exercise as to completely exhaust me. Still, I decided to listen to the radio for a while and/or nap. I did rouse myself but I didn't quite feel like going to the movies, not to the Fritz Lang option or even "Sex & the City."

Staying in the for the rest of the evening seemed unreasonable, so I'm now sitting (inside) a café a mere block from my front door, "Café Acrobates & Funambules." I think that's acrobats and clowns. I probably won't eat here, certainly not tonight, because the prices are high-ish and the choices are boring. I am going to have a glass of wine and after that, figure out what's next. Supposedly they also have wifi--they do, the waiter just gave me the password: which was in English! I'd actually have guessed it correctly if it had been in French. Also, the wine came with olives and marshmallows. Everything comes with marshmallows here. Cute.

Ok, so I did some writing the other day, and here's what came out:

Walking home from the movies, third movie in the last three days, I thought I'd stop and pick up something to eat at home. I realized I haven't eaten a sit down meal once--except for one sandwich (the included meals at the hostel don't count). I kept thinking I'd stop for a drink or a meal. I kept postponing. I caught myself tonight. I thought, well, I can't meet people if I never go out in public (or only go to the movies!). I thought, well, I hate people. No, not hate, strongly dislike. Ok, not that either. Maybe I'm shy. I want to retreat. In fact, I'm on a retreat! I get to do just what I want, where and when I want. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't push myself. How much isolation is too much?
Today [Friday], I got into the apartment. Yes! Things were mostly ready. Linens clean but not completely dry (oddly familiar…). I knew it was small but I worried for a moment that my stuff wouldn't fit. It did.
The landlord talked to me on the way out and I started to get annoyed as he explained things to me and told me about things to do in Paris that he'd explained back when we first met in April. I wondered if he thought I forgot. But, no, of course not. In fact, he probably didn't remember telling me in the first place. I kept smiling and thanked him profusely. He's a good guy and we have a good relationship, which will make living here easier, especially if I need things fixed!
After he left, I put almost everything away. Entranced with full internet access, I immediately began downloading tv shows. I meant to go to lunch but didn't leave the house until after 2pm. Everything was closed--or had stopped serving. Whoops.
Instead of a restaurant meal, I bought a slice of quiche at the bakery and ate while sitting on a bench. Sufficiently Parisian. I kept walking and found a grocery store so I shopped: strawberries, peaches, scissors, crème fraiche and some biscuits. And a bottle of "limonade" which may or may not be sweet (it was sweet, but not too).

The above was written sitting at a bar, drinking a glass of red wine, a transaction managed entirely in French.

That was Friday. The next day, Saturday, I went to an art exhibit. Interesting but wordy--it would have been a richer experience if I knew French. Got back to my neighborhood in time for lunch and ate at the neighborhood tea room. Wasn't exactly sure what I'd ordered but I knew there was a salmon something and a salad. The salmon was wrapped in a pastry pocket and was quite tasty. I also had coffee (not tea--it was twice the price!).

When I got home, I called the woman subletting the apartment where I stayed in April to see when I could come retrieve the bag of stuff I'd left there. She was having a dinner party that night and invited me. Turns out she is a friend of Spesh's and he was trying to get us together anyway. I went over and had a good time talking to a woman from England. The hostess, Julia, and I will make plans another time. I have to call her.

When I got home, I talked to Spesh. He was concerned that I was lonely and told me to get rid of the computer (crazy talk!) and be more outgoing. I told him I was fine and said he and my dad seemed to have exactly the same attitude. I don't get it.

The next day, Sunday, I went to the local open air market. It's huge and overwhelming. On offer: fruit, produce, deli meats, raw meats, prepared food (Asian, roasted chickens, stewed rabbit, fried potatoes, and more!), cheese, cheese, cheese, a little bit of bread (the number of bakeries in this town is insane and the bread is all awesome), shoes, baskets, clothing, lingerie, and probably some more stuff I'm forgetting. I was a little overwhelmed and only bought six eggs, butter, a small piece of chevre and a spring roll. I did have a produce monger spot me as an American and say "I love you, baby!" as he walked past me on the way to the other side of his stand. I cracked up. He was cute. I should have said, "I love you too!"

I went back home and put the things away and did a little more organizing of the house. It's the papers, as always, trying to get out of control. I watched some tv, knitted and then got off my duff to go to the movies. I ended up at Indiana Jones. Shia Labeof? Ugh. Harrison Ford--looking eerily similar to my father in one scene where he's dressed in a suite and wearing a straw hat on a train platform. Yes, my dad is that handsome! The movie: entertaining to watch and best not dwelt on afterwards.

After the movie, I beat it to the free concert and barely made it on time. Good thing I went, though, because you know what happened there!

On the way home, I happened to recognize the female half of my husband-wife landlord team. We were getting off at the same metro stop and I thought I recognized the back of the husband's head. He stayed on the train with a baby. She got off the train with an older women, the mother of the husband. Anyway, I went up to her and asked, "Are you Kristen?" She was, we had a good talk, I spoke to her mother-in-law in Spanish, and we arranged for her to come by on Monday to collect the rent.

On Monday, I had the school orientation, which was absurdly French. Everyone met in a big, central lecture hall (auditorium). At least 100 students. A description of the course was given in French. The lists of students by class were put up via computer projector. Then we departed for class--in a relatively far away (20 minute walk) location. Lots of steps, it's the French way.

I do like my teacher, though. She speaks only French but she's patient and I understand almost everything she says. Our class is mostly younger, but we have about five people over 30 so I'm not completely alone. I went home to relax for a bit and then ventured out again to buy books and go to the movies (of course!). the books were (relatively) easy to find. The movie was "Ninotcka," which I've seen before but I remembered only the general plot outline so I was very entertained.

Kristen came over about 20 minutes after I got home. She tried to get the wifi working, but no luck. For now, I'm stuck in a corner but they're going to get me a longer cord--at least until we can figure out the wifi.

I cooked for the first time after she left: an omelet! No salt or pepper, though. Put those on the shopping list. Also, that's when I discovered my piece of chevre was filled with fig paste. Um, yum?

Grateful for: lots to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments will be rejected. You don't have to use your real name, just A name. No URL is required; enter your name and leave the 'url' line blank. Thank you.