They say Hupla in France! And other signs of progress…

07:20 -Chez Mrs. G
It’s early Thursday morning, and I am back on the buckwheat, baby! I’m slowly getting my act together, and the transition from Nutella to my Slimming World friendly buckwheat porridge has been quick and painless. I much prefer it, to be honest, and have lost a kilo since Tuesday! Go buckwheat. In fairness to it, it has regulated my eating completely. It’s true what they say, one Nutella leads to anutter (sorry) and things were getting out of control. It’s in hand now though, we can all rest easy.

8:20 -Tram stop
Ah unfamiliarity my old friend! It’s a strange phenomenon when you are in a new environment -you don’t realise it until something out of the ordinary happens, but you are always in a frame of mind in which you believe anything to be possible. Not in an inspirational Facebook quote kind of way, but more in an “if a tree gnome fell from the ceiling, I wouldn’t be in the slightest bit surprised” kind of way. So I was perhaps not surprised, but nonetheless petrified upon disembarking the tram just now, to see a man with a running chainsaw on the loose. (I knew there was a reason for last night’s clearly premonitory nightmare). Images of scary clowns and words like ‘Texas’ started popping uninvited into my terrified mind. Paaaaniiiicccc! Oh, no wait. Panic over. It was a leaf blower.

So prior to my near death experience, I passed yet another very pleasant half hour people-watching on the tram. I have noticed in my past that I have a tendency to stare at the parts of other women that are my own bug bears of the moment. For example, if I’m obsessing over my stomach, I stare at their stomachs, and compare theirs with mine. If it’s thighs are the source of despair, it’s their thighs I’m staring at. This was particularly unfortunate in secondary school, when I was consumed by the fact that I had no breasts.. As the men of the world will no doubt confirm, it is very difficult to stare at a woman’s breasts without coming across as an absolute creep. However, as my male counterparts will also attest to, once the impulse to look is there, it is impossible to ignore it. Over the years, the objects of my staring have included hips, noses, stomachs, the upper part of rib cages (a skinny upper mid section seems to be the reserve of very tall genetically blessed ladies, but is an insurmountable advantage when buying tight clothes), upper arms, bums and foreheads. (Please note that this list is not exhaustive). There was additionally a previous obsession with the perfect arches in my best friend’s feet -I can’t really explain this one, but she has enviably roundy arches. However, I am well past teenage insecurity at this stage and have accepted my breasts for who and what they are. At this stage in life, it is posture and injury (and ceaseless physiotherapy) that consume my thoughts and time. This morning on the tram, I found myself staring an attractive girl in the skinny jeans, thinking “what lovely turned out knees you have”. (All the better to climb stairs with you, my dear). However more socially appropriate knee staring is, I fear I am still a bog standard creep.


14:00 My Desk

Sure amn’t I only high as a kite. In the past three hours or so, the following fantastic things have happened:

  • I discovered that I was one of only three in the class to pass the listening test we had last week. This is a most marvellous boost to my Fronfidence, and I am caressing my 13.5 out of 20 as if it were a certificate of linguistic genius. I am not the dunce!! (Or ‘le cancre’, if you will, en français). (Yes that was parenthesised showing off). I am also gaining insight into why I can’t understand a lot of the Asians in the class -they literally cannot hear the difference between the /b/ and the /p/ sounds, and use them interchangeably. Oh, the fun we had today with our practicing. Best was when we clearly, loudly and repeatedly enunciated “boob”, “poop”, “boob”, “poop”. Chaos I tell you. Additionally, I have figured out why I can never understand our sole Chinese homme -it is because he makes no sense. He was supposed to present a simple anecdote, which went all over the world for sport and concluded in the translation of the lyrics of a Chinese song. Which none of the Chinese girls understood. Following which the teacher went on a lengthy rant about the importance of having a central idea and sticking to it. His presentation was entitled “Les perturbations”. Ironic, I says to myself.
  • I may have finally convinced the good people of Halfords in Navan that I never ordered a bike from them (although I have previously believed myself to have achieved this, only to receive further accusatory voicemails).
  • My pet Russian invited me to go to Lyon with her for a day some time in the near future, which is a much better outcome than I had hoped for when I made contact to invite her to an art/poetry exposition. She can’t come, but I have a plan B -see next point…
  • I have secured a means of procuring free wine with the Hungarian this evening. (See previous point).
  • I discovered that the French say ‘Hupla’!! Just like in South Kerry! (It sounds a bit sexier naturally, but it’s the same effect.)
  • I have finally programmed the word ‘amn’t’ into my iPad autocorrect.
  • And best of all, I just got a message telling me that my French bank account is OUVERT!! Success! I just have to go to the bureau tomorrow to sign the papers. Fingers crossed.

On the down side, I have physio to do. Boo.