Sunday, 5 December 2010

Go slow and inevitable disappointments

I used to be a very busy and productive person. Now my days are so different and I don't feel as if I'm using my time well. Doing domestic things takes forever.

Claire drove me to Carrefour supermarket on Friday night and we did our shopping together. This gave me an opportunity to shop somewhere that provides more choice but it's big and takes ages to get around and there was much of it I didn't have time to look around. Well, I don't have any money so maybe that's just as well. I splashed out and bought a bottle of ruby Port from Portugal in case I am ever lucky enough to have guests in my little studio.

On Saturday I walked to Monoprix to buy a hammer so I could put some pictures up and feel more homey but when I tried to hammer the nail it it kept bending and eventually a thin slice of plaster fell off the wall. It appears that beneath the plaster surface there must be stone or other masonry. That makes it impossible for me to put any pictures up. I'd have to hire a 'bricoleur' (handyman )to use a special drill. I'd need him to put up a rod for a shower curtain too. Well that's all going to have to wait at least a month or until my car is sold.

I decided to spend a miserably cold Saturday night at the Laundromat and learn how to use the machines. Whoever had used it before had turned the place into a swimming pool. It took me a while to work out how to do it all because all instructions are in french and I don't know a lot of the terms. Really, my acquisition of French language is ridiculously slow, much slower than I would have expected. After an hour and a half there I had a small load done but I didn't trust the machines with my bras and delicate jersey so those I am doing in the sink at home.
Back in NZ I was busy but at least I had the gear to get multiple things done quickly. Washing and drying didn't need my constant presence.

I'm also concerned about my fitness levels which are plummeting. In NZ I had regular dance classes and sometimes dance gigs, especially at this time of year. I haven't danced for months and there are no teachers within 50 kms of me. To take up dance classes again I would have to travel to Paris after work- that's a LOT of time and expense on top of the cost of lessons. How do I make this happen? My choreographies are vanishing from my memory, my costumes are languishing in the cupboard, my French isn't good enough yet for me to start advertising myself and I can't drive anywhere safely at this point. Lots and lots of frustration here because my body is feeling even more stiff and sore than usual. What to do? I don't know-hibernate until spring? That's a very long way off.

At least my little efforts at trying to turn this cave into a home are starting to succeed. The curtains work OK (not perfectly)and they brighten up the place. My bits and bobs from NZ give me little luxuries such as DVDs and music and books to re-read. When you have less you can certainly appreciate what you do have.

Still to be done when money allows are: get some more sheets and towels. I have only one set- lucky I am a 'clean' person. Get some footwear for the snow, as my current stuff is being burned and stained by the snow. Get some warmer PJs, sometimes I must sleep in my dressing gown to to keep warm. Maybe I can splash out on an electric blanket one day-these are not commonly used in France. I don't understand that. France is even colder than NZ. Back in 2008 Nicolas was very surprised by my electric blanket in Auckland and soon became very keen to get one when he got back to Paris. He did that and thought it a good investment, but found it difficult to find a fitted one. Small differences between the countries pop up every day.

My diet is not very good at present as I lack some essentials for proper cooking - such as a decent-sized fridge, a food processor, a toaster, decent pots and bowls, a microwave, a real oven, a quiche pan. The smaller items can be acquired in time so I eat a lot of bread and try to boil up cans of veges. Meat is expensive here and I can't find my usual cuts of meat such as scotch fillet steak. To buy a leg of lamb (if I could even fit it into the silly little oven thing I've got), would cost the equivalent of nearly $60.

Things with shelf-lives here have ridiculously short lives. Often you only have a couple of days from purchase to expiry. No doubt there are ways around this but on my own with limited resources- I haven't found them yet.

Folks who change countries thanks to a work relocation have little challenge from my perspective- they have all their stuff at little expense to themselves and limited inconvenience. I was reminded of this when I saw the Christmas section at Carrefour. I really miss my beautiful Christmas tree and all the decorations I had carefully saved for many years. Each had a little story. No one wanted to pay a reasonable price for them but I couldn't bring them with me.

Little things like that tug at my heart. I can brush aside the furniture I liked that's gone but these little personal things- I remember them from time to time and it's surprisingly hard to accept they are gone. I didn't want to give them away but I had to in order to create new unknown possibilities.

Losing connection with past hobbies is beginning to bite. There is no possibility of me gardening for the forseeable future and there are no Toastmasters clubs within 50kms of home or work. They are all in Paris so that's probably not an option right now. The ladies at work suggested that Cafeolait is not a good place to make friends and develop a network. It's too small and 'narrow' in its interests. I was advised to move to Paris somehow, if my contract gets extended. Cafeolait is lovely in a semi-rural way and I don't want to deal with the hassles of Paris living but they may have a point.I'm just not logistically, financially or emotionally ready to contemplate that yet. And what if I only have 9 months left here? Horrifying thought.
Photos show my studio (with a WIDE-ANGLE lens folks) and some of the things I'm missing


Alison said...

At the risk of sounding like a cracked record.... it all sounds pretty familiar! I think that things will start picking up from.... NOW! x

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