Wednesday, 10 November 2010

You Need Everyone's Eyes Just To Feel Seen (23/10/10)

So, writing blogs seems to be mon passe-temps préférée right now.

Friday, I gave you all a blog about how I still have no internet and apparently I work on Wednesdays now. After posting this, I went and fed myself ham and blue cheese petit pains before going to English club.
I had three kids! Who were all very apologetic for being late (by a whole 5 minutes) and then decided to speak French for the majority of the session.

One girl there speaks better English than French, but speaks seven languages to varying levels. Talk about shame the teacher. I’m gonna learn Italian. And something else. Yeah.

I asked them if they’d like to try some English food, they said yes, so there’s some Marmite coming their way after the holiday. I’ve set them some research to do on English foods, so hopefully we can have a discussion on what the hell English people like to eat, and why the “Grande Bretagne” section of “produits du monde” in Carrefour is full of Mexican and Italian products.

After that, I’m gonna set them some work to do every week on a certain subject so we can talk about it. And we’re going to play Snakes and Ladders, of course. I’m a genius. Really.

On Friday afternoon, I went and got changed before braving the big old hill to Villabé to go and beg some poor dude to help me with regards to my internet being a great big queer. Turns out, I’m not allowed to top up until I’ve sent my ID through the post (in France, to operate any sort of phone line you need to identify yourself – even on pay as you go, if you don’t post them a photocopy of your ID within two weeks they cut you off. Bureaucracy at its finest) so I just went looking for wine and vegetables instead. I also treated myself to a new shitbrick of a mobile phone – guess what brand it is?


You know, the guys who make biros? 

My day was made. But it is a really rubbish mobile.

Still, I have a number on Orange now, so if the website STILL won’t take my card payment after they’ve received my ID I’ll be able to top it up over the phone. So hopefully, I’ll be back online by the end of half term! Woo!

I’ve been accessing Facebook on my phone to amuse myself, but this is proving rather costly – as I found out when o2 refused to let me top up, saying I had exceeded my top up limit for this 30 day period.

I didn’t even know there was a top up limit!

So I had to spend a couple of nights painting pictures and ringing people to amuse myself, and getting so into the conversations that I spunked €50 in two nights – I’m so glad I don’t pay rent or bills of any variety here. Friday night, I got quite drunk before making my phone calls, which I’m sure amused the person on the other end of the line greatly. Once my credit ran out, I made myself go to bed; as if I stayed up being bored I would just keep eating until I died.

This morning (Saturday) I woke up, planning on going on a little exploration trip through Corbeil-Essonnes to find a photocopier, and then a new pair of headphones. You see, the charger for my new shitbrick fits my mp3 player so I can have my music back now. I found a photocopier in the Centre Commercial in Corbeil, where Atac is now Auchan – EXCITEMENT!

After this, I decided to go to the train station, 1) to buy more phone credit as there are only four shops in this whole town that sell top ups for Lebara Mobile and I do not live near any of them and 2) to get a train to Courcouronnes. I took the long way round to the station, so that I could grab a few photos of the less shite bits of this town that I discovered a few days previously whilst on the bus. I have decided that this town resembles Barking more than it does Dagenham, purely on the basis that Corbeil-Essonnes has a bandstand.

I had a while to wait for my train, so I cut my photocopies down and put them into the relevant envelopes in order to stick them in the post box, when a man approached me and asked me for some spare change.
I pretended not to understand as he looked quite intimidating, and scuttled off to the post box to put my letters in before going to the platform to wait for my train.

The shopping centre at Courcouronnes is rubbish.

I went in Carrefour to look at headphones, but they were all crap, so I went to look at bedding instead. That was also crap, so I went wandering through the centre until I found Fnac. I bought myself a new pair of skull candy headphones and, wait for it,


Not just any Spiderman clock radio, but one with a projector, so you can look at the wall for the time instead of the clock, if you so wish.

I was so proud of myself.

On my way out, I was stopped by a security guard who went through my bag and checked my receipt and everything, just to make sure I had paid for everything. He couldn’t see the headphones under the box with the clock in, and started eyeing me with suspicion.

What, because I’d paid for a pair of headphones and not taken them home?


This is a pretty standard practise in France, as well as having to have your carrier bags stapled shut before going into supermarkets, but it is proper annoying.

I went back into Carrefour to hunt for wine and some wraps for dinner, but I decided against the wine and just bought the wraps and a sandwich instead, as well as some guacamole flavour tortilla chips (bright green crisps! Lol!) and some grated cheese. Nachos for late afternoon snacks then. I was wandering through the produits du monde section where I found Heinz Baked Beans for, wait for it, £1.50. Shocker. Won’t be buying those.

I got back to Corbeil where it became apparent that there were NO trains to Villabé within the next hour or so, so I began to walk. Sore sore feet. I managed to take another couple of pictures though, which will find their way onto Facebook once my internet keys start working. 

On my travels, I spotted one of my students who became really excited and started speaking to me in English. Her mother looked bewildered. This would never happen in the UK. If I had ever seen my French Assistant out in public, I’d probably have thrown an egg at her.

Upon returning home, I made myself a plate of Nachos and set up my new radio, and sat down with a book. Huis Clos, to be precise. I studied this in first year and did pretty damn well indeed, but in actual fact I hadn’t read it. I thought to myself that maybe I should read it if I’m going to get “L’enfer c’est les Autres” tattooed across my collarbone upon my return to the UK in May. So I did. 

Not a bad book, in all honesty.

French radio plays a horrendous amount of English music. Well. Music in the English language. It’s pretty crap. But the French bits are going to help with my French language. And the actual English/American songs they do play in France aren’t subject to radio edits. (This is something I found out in Carrefour yesterday, when I was taking a leisurely stroll past the washing machines on my way to the mobile phones department and heard Akon announcing to someone in the supermarket that he wanted to fuck them. Apparently they already knew about this? Anyway, the staff couldn’t quite determine why I was laughing so much at a washing machine.)

Mind you, at least my flat has more options than silence or Franz Ferdinand now.

I found another reply slip that I had to send off with some ID in, so I headed out to the train station to stick it in the postbox. On my way back, it became very dark very quickly and started to rain. I was just casually walking without a care in the world, I was close to home anyway, when the biggest bolt of lightning that has ever flashed across the sky decided to flash pretty close. I was walking along a path that was covered in trees. I nearly hit the floor curled up in a ball – I might as well have been getting in a bath with my hair dryer.
O2 let me top up this evening, so I have been intermittently checking my Facebook and painting pictures of a tree getting struck by lightning. Exciting life.

Tomorrow I am going to clean my flat, as I haven’t done so in about a week and my kitchen is starting to remind me of when I lived in Ropery Street. 

Also, I really hope these grèves stop soon. There are currently no trains to Gare du Nord from Corbeil, which could make it difficult when my Dad and sister arrive next week. I’m pretty excited about that, by the way.

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