Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Now that we have officially taken possession of our apartment, we are even busier than before, trying to make it feel like home. The first few days were taxing... with no electricity and no furniture, but we made do...
The furniture, including bed, couch, kitchen table, chairs and much more will be arriving Wednesday evening.
On Sundays everything closes (really...everything; except a handful of restaurants), so I took advantage of the sun and went for a long bike ride in the countryside surrounding Poitiers. There were lots of roads with very little traffic and enough hills to keep me entertained. The fall colors were also starting to show themselves. There are very few road signs per se, most of the signs mark the direction to the nearest town or simply the family farm that lies down the road. Most signs in the rural areas simply signify what might be called a rural neighborhood of one or two farmhouses.
The weather was lovely this weekend, and, aside from the extended bike ride, the best thing we got to do was to go to the Saturday market in la Place de Charles de Gaulle. At this enormous outdoor market, we purchased goat cheese, three different kinds of cured sausage, peaches, apples, a fancy "original" German can opener, cereal spoons, wooden spoons, and a delicious hot lunch of curried chicken and sautéed potatoes. Now that we have a functioning refrigerator, we have only begun to imagine the wonderful possibilities of the Saturday outdoor market...we'll be sure to buy way too much stuff for the first few weekends...
The paperwork battle is not quite over; we have yet to apply for our residence permits. Today, we did a lot of photocopying and got a few "tampons" (French for 'stamps') from local offices (and though this may seem irrelevant and/or ambiguous to the uninitiated, the importance of tampons is never to be underestimated when in France...). We also sat in line for Rebecca's bus passes for her commute to the University. Soon to come also, internet access at our apartment, which will afford us the convenience of not having to blog on a French keyboard--theymre qll screzy///)
Rebecca's classes are going well. This week will be her first week with the first year (freshman) students; the plan is to begin with Surrealism (an excerpt from Alice in Wonderland, the famous Magritte painting that Foucault loved so much, and a quote from William Gordon: "Trust things that are alien, and alienate things that are trusted.") How does communication function within the Surrealist framework, when nothing means what it says, or says what it means...? We'll see what they think...more soon.