A summary of a series of odd events and circumstances that lead to 2017

There we go, another year that we can all cross off our calendars then try to describe as a whole as if there were any relevance to calendar years apart from the psychological idea of a new start.

But that’s what I too am doing on this cold January morning. For me 2016 seemed to rush by in a never-ending sequence of train windows and changes but somehow I appear to have landed in 2017 on my feet with signs pointing up (although we wouldn’t want to jinx anything so let’s say signs pointing at like 45 degrees from the horizontal just to be safe).

This is not to say that 2016 didn’t try to finish me off. Beady eyed observers will notice the flagrant absence of blog posts for most of November and December. This is linked to a farcically long series of events and circumstances that have sapped my energy and start with delays on a parquet floor that prompted two months of not being in my actual apartment.

It all started when I wanted to experiment with gluten-free flour and made myself a cake. The cake cooked slower than one would expect and so I had to check on it every few minutes. This involved the unreasonable act of walking across my floor. Now, I live in an old building. The floor was old and it made noise. We’d put rugs down but the noise was still very very annoying. This day I discovered that it was not only us that found this noise annoying. My downstairs neighbour appeared just as my cake was actually cooked to tell me to stop making noise. I explained that I was just walking but this seemed to be to no avail. I promised to be softer on my feet and I truly did make an effort.

Cut to a few weeks later and I have overslept my alarm for an 8AM class. I will freely admit that taking an 8AM class was a mistake in itself and I plan to never do it again. However, the situation was still that I had an 8AM class and it was 7:35. I live 15-20 minutes away from Uni depending on transport. I therefore was not paying a lot of attention to my footfall as I raced around trying desperately to find clothes and books in minutes I did not have. My neighbour did not appreciate this at all and appeared at my door banging and shouting, arguably making more noise than I considered any floor/ceiling could ever make.

After some soul-searching it was decided that the floor would have to be replaced. “It will just be four weeks and we’ll stay nearby so nothing changes”, said my mother. “ok”, said I. “Can’t believe she bought that pack of lies”, said the floor fitters to each other.

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“We don’t have the wood. There is a shortage of French pine at the moment.”

“We’ll have the wood by Tuesday then it’ll be done by the end of the week”

“Oh did we say it was a delivery problem? We meant supply problem. The wood has not been sourced yet.”

“It’ll be done by next Thursday/Wednesday/Saturday”

Four weeks quickly became five, which extended itself almost instantly to nine weeks. At one point they sent a workman over who did nothing but eat lunch then leave so they could say they’d had someone on the job. This meant that I moved into a hotel for the last two weeks of term. One of which was my finals week. I don’t know if I blocked all of this out of my memory or if my mind just stopped recording due to stress and lack of sleep. It’s about 50/50. (oh yeah, did I forget to mention the thing where I moved countries on my own at age 19 but also hate change. Yeah. Stay tuned it gets less self-aware later.)

During my exam week a pipe burst in the ceiling of the apartment where there was no floor and flooded half the building as well as knocking the lift out of action. Ok.

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Once I had finished my finals I (less than twelve hours later) went on a break to Berlin with a friend. This trip had been planned for a good while and although it fell at a time when I didn’t really feel like travelling I was glad as soon as I got there to be doing something new and different. There were two missions in our heads for this trip – bars and Christmas markets (both of us had previously been to Berlin and checked off the rather more worthy and sombre attractions). We did both, fortunately for us, we picked the evening when the Christmas market got attacked by a terrorist in a truck as the only evening we didn’t spend in said Christmas market. I think the moral of the story is not to travel with me I am clearly a bad omen.

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My next stop was to head to London for Christmas. Upon my first morning in my family home I awoke in a panic with no idea where I was. I put this down to the fact that this was the fourth or maybe fifth bed I had woken up in in the last month, none of which had been my actual bed. All official sources say I spent eight days in London. I do not believe them. Quite apart from three of those days being Christmas and therefore feeling like they were beamed from another dimension I just simply do not remember that time containing five normal days. As I packed myself off to return to Paris on the 30th of December I still did not feel like my feet had touched the ground since October.

I opened my apartment front door, having taken the lift (now repaired, but still flashes up that it’s passing floor 96 in between floors 1 and 2) half expecting it to vanish into thin air as soon as I opened it. It did not. I breathed, I sat down. I slowly felt myself relax and actually be able to see and appreciate the things around me. I even did some walking around. It was the most chilled hour of my life. Then I heard a knock on the door. I ignored it, not wishing to restart the cycle of wishing I could have a flying carpet just to become less acquainted with my neighbour. The knocking came back much louder accompanied by the shout “It’s the firemen”.

You can’t really ignore firemen. If you don’t answer they break your door down and having locked myself out once I know how much those doors cost and it’s not pretty. “Do you know your downstairs neighbour? He’s not been heard from.” (we very quickly established that they were talking about my other downstairs neighbour, not the one who disliked the floor) “can we use your balcony to see how we can get into his apartment?” The firemen looked from my balcony, wished me a good evening and ten minutes later a firetruck with one of those huge ladders like you see on TV appeared in my road. The firemen kicked in the window just below me and then left without telling me anything of what happened. The next day I heard the piano music that neighbour always listens to floating up to my apartment. I really don’t know what to make of the whole scenario.

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wat?

That’s it. There’s no real conclusion to this. It was bizarre. Life’s looking less bizarre and stressful but who knows really? See you around more often in 2017 blog readers!

Rentrée #3

Hellooooo…oooo…oooo…..oooooo

Is there anybody thereee…..ereee…..eeee

Helloooo……oo……..oooo

Is it an impression of a man in a valley, this blog and its readers or Paris in August? The world may never know.

rentrée scolaire
Before moving to France I thought images like this were half-jokes. Nope, turns out French people actually write like this and still use blackboards in the 21st century.

Be that as it may the strange phenomenon of the french rentrée has now kicked in and while the whole country is nigh on uncontactable and silent on August 31st at 9AM on 1st September everyone clicked back into action as if the holidays had never happened. Somehow I too have internalised this “life truth” that everything must start on September 1st. I realised this when a friend told me she was had not yet properly moved back to Paris for the school year on September 5th. This is, quite clearly, insane since not a single university actually starts back until the 19th.

So where am I in all this? Well, in age-old style, I, who greatly dislike change and disruption, have moved house and am starting a new course (again) this September. So far my review for my university’s admin procedures is “better than my last university”. But then again we all remember how well the quest for my student card went last year. Although one must never speak too soon. I have had to redirect my post and since my student card is meant to arrive by post it’s all too possible that it just won’t. Because post, because France, because there is no way I could actually arrive somewhere with all paperwork completed.

But all that aside I am now preparing for my rentrée in a cinema course. This shouldn’t be such huge news, especially since I’ve sort of known it was what I wanted to study since I was 17. Somehow, however the winds of fate made it so that I am only beginning my official studies at the age of 21. Looking back, I don’t really know how this happened. I mean, I have two and a half years of blog and four years of diaries that ought to explain it but and it really really seemed to make sense at the time. I think we can all take a moment to have a deep breath and hope this one lasts more than a year. Either the home or the school, I’ll take anything at this point. At least I have my student association that I joined last year and am still a part of. Let us celebrate the small amount of consistency in the things I do.

There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes over this summer that will all come out in later posts I hope. My posting schedule has been held up by the general impression that August is not a real month and that anything I wrote during it would never be read. Also I was travelling and couldn’t fix my laptop which currently has an issue where it sounds like a small aircraft at all times which makes it surprisingly difficult to concentrate on writing anything.

So, talk soon, sooner than October by any rate.

PS: while writing the title of this post I realised with shock that this really is my third French rentrée which really ought to mean I’m better prepared….