Last week was mostly uneventful. I had to write an assigment for French class. They publish a little booklet every year, written by the students. Everyone who wants to can contribute a text. This year the topic is un pays, un objet (a country, an object). I thought a lot about things that are typically Austrian, but could only think of things that are decidedly un-object like, like grumpy waiters or the inability to put into practise and enforce non-smoking laws. The other things I though of were food. I enjoy the very occasional schnitzel but not enough to want to write about.
So instead I went for the most important object for me, since moving to France: my phone. It has a dictionary, a map, the public transport schedule, a camera and whatsapp, facebook, etc. to stay in touch with friends and family. I wonder if the text will be rejected, because it’s missing the point or if it will show up next to the bialetti coffee maker of my Italian colleague and the puppet of my Russian colleague.
On Thursday we went to a cocktail reception of Science Acueil, the organisation that helps foreign researchers with finding an apartment and dealing with other bureaucratic things. The reception was in a town called Gif-sur-Yvette. I took a photo of the train station, just so that I could make this joke:
I also went for tea at my usual café and they have new products with moustaches and a pun. And I got the pun! I mean jeu de mot, bien sûr.
Of the matching cups, called mous’tasse, I only got the first pun. I might have to ask someone to explain the others to me.
In other, fuzzy photo news, there are instructions on the post office door, what to do in case of a terrorist attack.
Apparently they made posters on how to react: flee, if that’s not possible hide, then alert the auhtorities. There’s a government website dedicated to the poster and corresponding information. I took the photo while walking out of the post office, trying to look as unsuspicious as is possible while taking a photo of counter terrorism measures. If you don’t hear from me for a while, I’ll be detained, answering questions about my camera roll.
On Saturday we went out to buy some soil and pots for the balcony. It’s south-east facing, I think, and I look forward to growing three leaves of rucola, some coriander and two tomatoes again. The DIY store / garden center is in the next town, Massy. And far from any civilisation as is usual with those places. To get there we had to take a bus, to cross under a railroad bridge, walk through a park and then walk past those derelict flat warehouses you find on the outskirts of most towns. You know, those areas called “Gewerbezentrum”. Finally there was a suspiciously empty mall parking lot to cross. The mall is mostly closed down for renovation. According to the Facebook page reviews it has been like that since 2013, and it was really depressing looking. It was almost as bad as Gasometer.
In the distance there was a colourful factory building, like a poor man’s version of the Hundertwasser power plant in Spittelau. We called it Siebzehnwasser, of course.
Once through the post apocalyptic commercial center of Massy, the garden center wasn’t bad at all. The parking lot was full and the place has a DIY corner. It’s free to use but nobody was there and it was suspiciously clean and tidy.
After the garden center I really wanted to check out the other large store. It said something about kitchen ware and linens and who doesn’t love to check out kitchenware?
Gergö is still sticking firmly to the no more stuff plan, so we left with only two small cutting boards that were actually on the shopping list, tongs for squeezing tea bags, because I obviously urgently needed them, wooden skewers to test if a cake is cooked and a mug with silicone lid for drinking tong-strained tea on the go.
Gergö spent this morning researching cocoa butter, because it was sold there as well and looked really intriguing, like it had been grated. Apparently cocoa butter is solid at up to 37 degrees. He decided we don’t need more grease until all the duck fat is used up. This might take a while.