Cinq jours pour m’installer

I arrived Monday lunchtime. Having met the famous Yvette, who is much more helpful in real life than via email (which Isabella – my voisine – believes is because they distrust it, it’s not the minitel you know), and been introduced to the sanitaryware in my bathroom, I was left to my own devices. Now ordinarily you potter about deciding where to put your collection of oddly-shaped cornflakes and sorting your books into height order, but I was in luck! Amy came and whisked me into Strasbourg with her mum and we had tarte flambée, which is creamy onion-y goodness and a diabolo (a concoction of lemonade and grenadine – délicieux).

The city itself is awe-striking, it’s so definitely French, but has a Germanic feeling and a friendliness you don’t always find in the French. That’s not to say everyone is the same. I have had some fairly poor service that in any job I’ve had would have lead to immediate dismissal. The woman in the post office shouted at me about her children (I wanted to know which counter to go to for La banque postale) and Didier at Crédit Mutuel told me that he was not interested in my custom because he wasn’t going to make any money out of me. I told him that I didn’t like French banks because free banking is the norm in England and I didn’t see why you had to pay for something so basic! Perhaps it gave him a Radio 4-esque thought for the day. It’s probably a good thing that I’m incapable of slagging people off in French.

The food is odd. I had pâtes alasciennes (Alsatian pasta) yesterday, which was a new experience, but not unpleasant. I have enjoyed everything I’ve eaten, but I don’t think it would be what I chose to eat myself necessarily.

I’ve been to IKEA more often than is needed this week, but I do have all the things I need, and it was all their basics – 0,50€ plates, mugs, glasses. I got a rug to brighten the place up, but everything seems to get quite dusty. Isabella has a vacuum on her end of the balcony, so I might ask her where that came from… I invested in a kettle, it’s very sad that Sainsbury’s basics don’t exist here, but I’m quite impressed by the one I have, it’s pretty quick to say it cost under 10€! Talking of electricals, I’m thinking about cheap inkjets. I might go find a Maison de Presse and pick up a PC mag of some description. I have nothing better to do en ce moment!

I think we’re planning a CAF party tomorrow and I’m providing brie and tomato sandwiches. We’re filling out our forms to get our tax back. I need to find out about registering with a doctor too… à plus!