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How many Americans studying math in Paris does it take to change a lightbulb?

FRANCE | Tuesday, 13 October 2015 | Views [195]

Friday before leaving for Dordogne, the lightbulb in the lamp nearest to the sofa (which happens to be my second-most used source of light. The most used is, of course, the sun.) went out. My bedside table lamp was too dim, and the kitchen light was too harsh, so I really wanted to replace it. Unfortunately, this only ever occurred to me when it was dark, and all of the stores were closed, so that took a while.

In my defense, I did need to leave early and Friday and not get back until late Sunday. So when I returned to my apartment Sunday night, tried to turn on the lamp, and realized that the bulb was still burnt out, it was not my fault.

When the same thing happened Monday, it was. Tuesday I at least had the excuse of classes in the afternoon and theater in the evening. In between I had enough time to come back to my apartment and eat, but not to go hunting lightbulbs.

Wednesday, I managed to remember that I needed to get a new lightbulb while there was still light outside. Unfortunately, I remembered at about the same time I needed to think about going to class, and while I played with the idea of finding a store on the way to pick up a lightbulb, (when walking, I do pass a lamp store) but the likelihood of dropping or losing it seemed too high.

Thursday, I told myself I had plenty of time between class and going to the ballet. This was true. By the time I made it back to my apartment around 15:00, I was starving. Basically any meal takes around 30 minutes to prepare, so by the time I ate it I’d once again lost my opportunity. Which was a shame, because being forced to use the kitchen light was starting to really bother me. It made it much harder to concentrate on a book or harp strings.

It was bothering me enough that, when I got back from the ballet, I decided to check to see if there were any lightbulb stores that were still open. Whereupon I realized I had a problem: “lightbulb store” isn’t a real thing. Or, if is, it’s not a thing that you can find in every quartier. And I wasn’t entirely sure what you would call a store where one could buy lightbulbs. Not for the first time, I wished that there was a Target right down the street from me.

I eventually figured out that “appliance store” was a good thing to search for, but I couldn’t find the one that Google claimed was near me. So I gave up and called it a day, knowing that I would not get around to it Friday. But on Saturday, it was a priority.

Turns out buying a lightbulb is really easy. It was a gentle walk to try and find the store I’d looked for on Thursday. I didn’t succeed, but that’s because on the way I found a much more promising store. So I went in, stared in blank confusion at all of the options for lightbulbs for a little bit, and finally chose one. On the way back, despite not getting a bag at checkout, getting disoriented and going the wrong way only to realize I couldn’t catch the Metro because I didn’t  have my pass Navigo, I did not break or lose my precious lightbulb. So success.

It is intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer that the lightbulb could be changed.

When I wasn’t trying to find a lightbulb, (especially on Monday and Thursday) I was spending time in bookstores. Mmm. Books.

At present, my largest issue problem with cooking is that it’s so hard to get motivated to try something new. Meaning my current knowledge of what I can make with just groceries (without cheating and buying a ready-made pizza or something) is limited to one dish. And I don’t want to make this too often, because it would be terrible to get sick of the only dish I can comfortably make.

I did get around to trying a different recipe. Quesadillas. It didn’t turn out terribly well. They were edible but, despite having all of the ingredient I need in my apartment to make them again, (and on occasion not having much else and being really hungry) it was not an experiment that I repeated. Which means I not only need to find another recipe to try, but I now need to ignore the voice that tells me “the last new recipe didn’t work out.” All while fighting the temptation to just let other people make all my meals, because let’s be honest: this is Paris, and they could do it much better (and much more expensively) than I could.

So, that was my week. Finding a lightbulb, trying to make dinner, and learning that I had three tests in the next ten days. Fun week.

Tags: bookstores, cooking, lightbulbs

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