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O Fim duma Viagem

Settling into normal

FRANCE | Saturday, 29 August 2015 | Views [221]

Thursday began with police from the eleventh arrondissement coming in to talk to us. Three of them showed up- two actual police officers and one volunteer. (A couple of years ago, to improve their public perception, the police started accepting volunteers. It's unclear what exactly the process for that is, or what the powers and limits of the volunteers are.) One of the officers was decently talkative and friendly, and he talked about crime and how to prevent it (step one: stop stealing other people's purses. Step two: don't put your own purse in a position where it can easily be stolen.) While the other two stood there and looked threatening in case anyone thought it would be a good idea to try and sneak out.

The police officer spoke very quickly, and apparently used a lot of slang. I wouldn't know, because I was only half paying attention to what he was saying. So I caught the gist of everything, but did not pay any attention to individual words until they were pointed out to me afterwards. But once they were singled out, I recognized a decent number of them. Turns out Isabel's years of trying to make us learn and use argot paid off, because it felt like I had a much higher comprehension of what was going on than the average Brown student did.

Once the police safety and impromptu argot lessons were done, I started walking to my last two homestays. It was drizzling, but I suspected it would stop at some point, and didn't pay much more attention to that than bringing an umbrella. It did not stop raining for most of the day.

I missed a turn that I was supposed to take for the directions I'd written down, and, in the process of finding a new route, noticed that one of the streets I was supposed to take and follow for a couple of meters was Rue de Juisseau. I switched roads when I reached Place de Juisseau. Which I recognized as being the location of UPMC. I got there and looked around a bit. There were tall, modern-ish buildings to my left, a fountain straight ahead of me, and a cafe with a sign saying "les sciences" to my right. I was at Paris 6. Which meant those tall, modern buildings would be where I'd be taking classes for the next semester.

I had to pause a moment and stare at those buildings to let that sink in. I was really here. Seeing the entrance to campus made that feel so much more real than visiting apartments had. Speaking of apartments, I did need to keep going. So I found the new street (the first store on that street sold Magic the Gathering and similar games, another clear sign I was near the math and science university) and kept going.

I had two homestays to visit in the same building, and I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be taking either of them. The location was pretty nice, (direct Metro to Place de Juisseau, and half an hour walk on a nice day. Or on a rainy day where you decide you don't care that you're sloshing through huge puddles.) but both were on the fourteenth floor. I didn't even bother asking if there was a staircase I could use. I was running late on both ends, (though the elevator was pretty slow, so it might have been faster to take the stairs down) and, although I like stairs, 14 flights (maybe only 13, because buildings can be superstitious like that) every time I want to enter or leave the building is not my idea of a good time. The homestays would need to be pretty much perfect to make up for that.

Both apartments were nice enough, but not perfect. The views were amazing, (even in the rain you could see the Eiffel Tower and much of Paris. On a clear day, you could see the Sacre Coeur and probably some of the surrounding area) but the apartments themselves were small. (I'm clustering them together because, layout wise, the two apartments were practically identical. The only difference was with the people.) I'd have a bedroom to myself, and share everything else.

The first woman was a singer associated with the chorale at Paris 6. Her apartment was neat enough and organized, with lots of books, including a lot of fiction. She was friendly enough, but our conversation was cut short because, at 14:30, I needed to go to her neighbor's, and she needed to pick up the student at her neighbor's.

I entered the apartment and immediately questioned why I couldn't take an apartment on the 14th floor. Because no sooner had I entered than a very cute cat appeared to ask me if I would pet it. The woman told me its name, then drew my attention to a plump cat on the other side of the room who did not like visitors nearly so much. Then to the rest of the apartment, which was supposed to have been my reason for coming.

The woman here was a journalist and traveller, and most of the decorations were international. There were Japanese screens, Moroccan tajines, and Chinese paintings. Also a lot of books, but most of them were about health, natural medicine, food, exercise, etc. And there was stuff on every surface. Which is what any room of mine would look like in short order anyway, but it made the apartment feel smaller. (Plus, every space that already had things on it was one less space for me to put things. Although she would give me space in a cupboard to put "whatever I wanted in." Which was definitely an invitation to put yarn there.)

Final impressions: nice apartments, would be worth serious consideration if it weren't on the 14th floor.

I caught the metro back to the office for the tutoring meeting, where we didn't do much of note. More work with idioms. Then back to the hotel, where the rain gave me a good excuse to curl up, drink tea, and read. Unfortunately, the reading was the first two acts of a play that needed to be read by class the next day. But reading French literature in a short period of time was another thing Carthage prepared me week for, so that wasn't too bad.

One more day, no more homestays, and only one more apartment to view. This week is feeling manageable, if only because it was almost over.

Tags: apartements, police, rain

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