I was so proud of myself for posting two days in a row and then I went and didn’t post for nine days. I’ll try to make up for it but honestly, there is not much to say right now! So I’ll try to fill in with a few stories and randoms that I’ve left out.
1) The American embassy in Paris
Some of my readers have already done this process so this may not be too interesting for them, but I got sort of a kick out of my brief, to-the-point visit to the American embassy in Paris over the October vacation. I got a super cheap Prem’s ticket (51 euros!) to Paris that allowed me enough time to be bored in Paris but not enough time to really do anything. I got many e-mails from the American embassy (okay, two) informing me that I could bring practically nothing into the embassy so please to not bring things with me. So I got up in the morning in my lonely Juju-less house, parked my car at the parcobus, and bussed it into town, with my work cartable in hand, full of 2e papers to grade. Once in Paris I checked said cartable (it’s red, trust me, it’s pretty) at the luggage check at Montparnasse, which I’d never been to before and which is very efficient though a little smelly, like much of Montparnasse and, let’s be honest, like much of Paris. I took the metro to the Marais to find my way to the As du Felafel where they served me and I ate in record time (about 15 minutes). Then I walked to Place de la Concorde, which took about an hour, and got me there a half hour before my 2 o’clock appointment. After handing over half of the contents of my purse and turning off and handing over my cell phone at security, I took my number from the machine and sat down in the middle of 20 different windows, under the watchful gaze of these two:
The whole thing took about an hour and fifteen minutes, with some confusion as to what language I should speak with the strangers sitting around me. I filled in and swore to my certificat de coutume and then was on my way to collect my cartable and grade papers in Starbucks until my train. I got back to Montparnasse with time to spare and wandered around until checking my quai number. I then walked promptly to the next quai over and got on the train, found my seat, pulled out my headphones, and settled in. Not even when the conductor announced the destination of the train did I get suspicious, since it was one of the trains to Rennes/Nantes that splits in the middle and has two destinations. “Oh, he must have just mispoken,” I thought to my deluded self, until, three or four minutes before the train was supposed to leave, and as the conductor was asking all the non-passengers to get off the train, another passenger told me I was in his seat. It was a mad dash to throw all my things together and get off the train before it left, and let’s just say I’m glad I’ll never see any of those people again.
2) I joined a band. Er, sort of. A friend of a friend knew a band that needed a new violinist to play with them, so, over the Toussaint vacation (like all of my stories—has anything really happened since then?), I went to practice with them and get to know the players. Improvisation and composition are not my strong points (I have, umm, never done either), so it’ll be interesting, and I’m hoping to get more information from their old violinist soon. But I’ve been looking for a way to play music since arriving in Poitiers (with one six-month foray into Irish violin lessons), and I think I’ve finally found something.
3) Juju got back last Saturday from India and brought me two (2) presents (clothes), told me lots of stories, and waited four days to get his luggage back. He had 15 minutes to change planes in Abu Dhabi so his luggage got stuck there, and though Etihad Airways seems in all other ways perfect, they waited a full 24 hours after its arrival in Paris (24 hours after J himself arrived, Saturday) to put it on a truck to come to Poitiers. The truck left another 24 hours after that (Tuesday). So it of course arrived when both of us were at work. It was then dropped of at the post office in our little town which of course closes at 5 pm, foiling J’s first effort to go collect it (Wednesday). Fortunately he managed to leave work early on Thursday and get his things, otherwise, with the holiday yesterday, I’m pretty sure we still wouldn’t have them yet. I told him to write a threatening letter to Etihad, and he wrote a threatening contact form to them, so now he’s fantasizing about getting 100 euros off his next ticket and, what else, returning to India (his visa is valid for 6 months).
Otherwise, life is pretty full with work right now, which I’m enjoying. I seem to be in sort of an up point in morale—trust me, I’ll probably come back down from it. The trip to Spain in February seems to be off, thanks to my two days of training at the beginning of the vacation. Hmf. But a trip with the school to Ireland seems to be in the works—I just hope, hope, hope that it doesn’t fall during one of my trainings which would prevent me from going.