Almost a full month down!! My last day chez Mrs. G.!! The weather is so beautiful today though, I couldn’t sacrifice the entire day to moving, and Mrs. G, her daughter and I all set out ensemble to walk up to the fort above the city. The walk was much less strenuous than either her daughter or I had anticipated, and I was very pleased with mounting many steps relatively pain free. Mrs. G. complained of palpitations most of the way up and needed a lie down on her return, but she made it. Her daughter and I hatched a plan to sound out Mrs. G. on parapenting -a very mild form of paragliding. Or maybe it’s just paragliding. I know what it is anyway, and so did Mrs. G. Her daughter has been thinking that this might be a good surprise for her mother for her upcoming 60th birthday in January. Given Mrs. G.’s somewhat nervous disposition -kettles, microwaves, out of season vegetables and the Internet featuring among her many terrors -I could only conclude that her daughter had lost her mind. However, I dutifully sidled up to Mrs. G. and started asking casual questions about it. Knowing full well that it wasn’t, I asked whether this was the mountain for doing the parapenting, because I had a bit of a yearning to try my hand at it. She immediately launched into a tirade listing the many risks that are associated with it, and told me that because of her two children (aged 28 and 31 I might add), she doesn’t take any risks with her life. It took quite some time and joint forces between her daughter and I to explain to her that you don’t just take off on your own like a mad thing, you are strapped on to a trained professional. At that she became better disposed towards the idea, and we were all delighted. Although she may not know it yet, it looks like Mrs. G. will be taking flight on the 20th of January! As for me, I was delighted to have conducted a covert operation en français. This is surely a positive sign -of my French if not of my nature.
Later in the afternoon, I commenced the moving process towards Northern Africa, also known as Apartment 1b. I spent many long moments reflecting on my gratitude towards the inventor of the wheel, without whom moving all of my things and 16kg of dumbbells would have been a considerably more painful affair. I should probably be more grateful to my mother’s partner, who lent me the bag adorned with said wheels.. He may also be slightly better disposed to receive a thank-you note.. However, two trips and 6 trams did the trick, and I installed myself in my new lodgings. Now it may just have been tiredness, but I will admit to experiencing some feelings of mild loss while leaving my first France home -and my first France host! I fact I think she had a similar moment of unexpected emotion, as when I was on the way out the door, she suddenly looked at me with a very forlorn expression on her face and tried to give me her breakfast bowls!! It was a bit odd but very nice, although I politely declined the offer. I will also grant that there were a few initial moments of loneliness and desolation, staring at the bare white walls in my new chambre. I briefly found myself longing for Mrs. G. and her warm family environment, with its brightly coloured bedspreads and clean kitchenware. (And her kettle and her microwave oven, which may have to be budgeted for..) But once I took a shower and cooked myself an omelette -under the grill, like a rebel -I soon began to feel at home. It was the moment when I was about to go to my room to watch Netflix (which has become my unhealthy habit in the evening, but the are only 86 episodes to go in my current series) and realised that I was allowed to do so in the sitting room, when the pleasure of having a proper rented apartment really set in. Okay so I did spend most of the night dreaming about my new housemate invading my room and assaulting me (but it was okay in the end because I murdered him), but in the five minutes I met him he seemed very amicable! I’m very pleased with the apartment though -it’s lovely and warm and the view from the window out on to the river and the mountains is really lovely. A good clean and a few essential purchases and I’ll be only delighted with life.