The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

La Quotidienne

An update for my many fans:

I didn't work at all this week, because the students were having exams and such. I've filled my time this week with housework, walking, ballet exercises, reading, and the occasional social excursion.

On Tuesday I went to Boulogne to go to the CAF office so I could get housing assistance. I had put this off for a long time because I was really nervous about it. I hate dealing with bureaucracy, especially in a foreign language, mostly because I'm always sure that someone is going to scold me for having the wrong form or inadequate documents. I try to avoid this by bringing with me each time I go to do something bureaucratic every single document I have pertaining to my existence. So far it has worked out well. In fact, my trip to the CAF office was surprisingly painless. I was nervous that my french would be inadequate and I'd be misunderstood, but in fact the man who helped me told me to slow down because I spoke French too quickly. I don't think it was meant as a compliment (he said all Americans talk too fast), but it made me feel all shiny anyway. . He was very nice and I got everything taken care of. Unfortunately, transport turned out to be more of a headache than the government agency. I took a bus to Boulogne because I thought it would be cheaper (it wasn't). Nevertheless, after my adventure in public assistance I went back to the bus depot to catch the return trip of the same line. I was there at the time the schedule stipulated, yet no bus came. And then no bus came. And then it still didn't come. So I had to consult a public map, locate the train station, and then walk there. It turned out to be rather farther away than I had expected, but I got there in the end and got a train back to where I wanted to be. The train was half the price and a third of the time it cost me to take the bus. I felt dumb.

I am reading Mrs. Dalloway. The other day I came across the word "antediluvian" somewhere in the middle, and had to look it up. This made me very happy; I love really specific words. In case you're wondering, it means "before the Flood," that's to say, ancient. In this case, the subject being described as antediluvian is "women's rights." This also made me smile. I'm finding Virginia Woolf difficult but extremely delightful. Dreamy.

I had a dream two nights ago that I met a prophet. He was a lanky, middle-aged African man with dreadlocks. He was lying on a pile of something uncomfortable-looking. It could have been clothes, boxes, or rubble. I didn't know if he was lounging or dying. I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine, and reality shifted, time peeled back, and we both stayed locked in amazement tinged with divine fear; he saw something powerful in me. I hadn't known it was there, and he seemed to understand its gravity more than I did. I could only see his small dark eyes and behind them there were trees.

I met some girls at the school who are about my age, Sophie and Aurore, and have been spending time with them. We go for coffee at my favorite café (Au 1900) and giggle over the waiter. Last night Aurore and I went to Sophie's apartment and made crêpes and cervoise (drink made from white wine, cider, and lemon syrup). I played the guitar and sang, and they thought it was just awesome. They also took video with their cell phones of me saying English tongue twisters. Still, they do much better at the English ones than I do at the French ones: Les chausettes de l'archi duchesse sont-elles sèches? Archi sèches!

I did my laundry today. It was extremely necessary, as I was experiencing a shortage of certain critical items. Things are better now.

I really hope I get paid this week.

I go to London on Tuesday night! Wheeee!!! I will take a train to Paris Tuesday morning and spend a few hours there before taking the Eurostar in the evening. I am extremely excited to get back to my favorite city in the world. A truncated list of the wonderful things that await me: sushi, Nando's, The British Museum, Foyles, Jalal, Camden Town, martinis, swing dancing, Portobello Road Market.... and on and on.

If the hostel I'm at has free internet, I may update mid-frolick. If not, you shall hear of my expedition when I return to Berck, which should be March 6. Cheers.

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