Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Un Bel Appartement*
Despite my shame about spending more hours in Ikea than in Paris recently, I am somewhat proud of the effect on my flat, which is finally furnished and no longer full of cardboard boxes. In an effort to motivate myself to build the last of the furniture and in order to avoid spending the entire weekend without human contact, I took the ambitious decision to invite a colleague and her husband for dinner on Sunday night. (That was also when I resolved to buy the TV, because in my sad and lonely world, watching the 8 o'clock news while eating dinner also counts as human contact.)
I went to La Défense to buy the TV, and it turned out to be a good idea, because as well as Auchan, there is also a branch of The Phone House there, and their catalogue, which contains information about deals on all the major networks, allowed me to ascertain that using a mobile phone here is indeed a rip off (40-55 cents a minute seems to be normal – in the UK and Italy I could make international calls for those kinds of prices) but that not all companies are totally ridiculous about how long you have to use up your credit. On Orange and SFR, a 5 euro top up only lasts a week. Given that I will (eventually!) have a landline and unlimited calls, I'm not planning to use my mobile that much, so I was glad to find out that on Virgin, the credit lasts a lot longer. But I digress.
When I got home, I set up the TV, discovered that after all the excitement there was nothing worth watching on a Saturday afternoon, and went to the supermarket to buy food for the dinner party. There I found out that you can't buy golden syrup in France. How did it take me two years to notice that?
On Saturday afternoon, I made two chests of drawers (surprisingly simple) and then crashed out in front of the TV. On Sunday, I went to the market and stocked up on last minute things for dinner, feeling very integrated apart from the guilty feeling of having bought my cheese from the supermarket the day before instead of confronting the ripe, mouldy, smelly things on the cheese stall. In the afternoon, I built one more bookcase (this time it was me that was unsurprisingly simple, as I put 3 of the shelves on the wrong way round), tidied up and cleaned like a madwoman.
Then, sneakily trying to keep the old mattress and the remaining cardboard out of the shots, I took these pictures of my beautiful new home.
*My French teacher at school made us use this expression in every essay we ever wrote, regardless of th subject matter, purely to show off the fact that we knew how to modify the adjective beau when it preceded a masculine noun beginning with a vowel. She would be proud to see me today.