'I live like a monk in an abbey...'

My alarm went off at some point this morning, around 8 or 8:30. Whether it was because I've trained myself not to be woken by the alarm or whether it was because I was exhausted... for some reason, I didn't wake up for at least a half-hour after the alarm went, realized it had been going off for a while, felt guilty in regards to my roommates and turned it off. I went back to sleep and didn't wake up again until 11:45. So, having gone to bed at 10pm the night before, I managed to get myself fourteen hours of sleep, which did wonders for making up all of the sleep I didn't get this weekend.

I walked around the grounds a bit, but it was quite hot and I was overdressed. It's been so cool in Michigan lately, that I assumed when packing that it would be the same in France. Apparently it is the same in France, because last I heard, it got up to the 80s in Michigan as soon as I left. I think the next tank-top I see will have to become mine.

In the afternoon, after I finally had a shower and felt clean and rested, my roommate Caroline and I had our orientation meeting. We signed a million waivers so that if the Abbey falls on our head, we can't sue. :( So much for that plan to actually make some money...

The best part of the meeting was when we were talking about my job description and the tasks I would be taking on while here. Every time we talk about it, I understand my job a little better, so that's useful. But this time, my Detroit supervisor - who came over to France at the same time as me and was sitting in on the meeting - described Human-Computer Interaction and Information Architecture to the interns supervisor here. It was great because it saved me from explaining it yet again (something I've already spent plenty of time doing both here and at home), because I found out that she'd actually been paying attention and listened to my explanations that I am not IT and don't know anything about hardware or networks, and because she made what I can do sound so interesting and valuable and not the constant disappointment I seemed to be at the Detroit office. When she mentioned organizing the company's information structure (in terms of file storage, etc.) the office manager's ears perked up because it was a project she'd been meaning to take on but hadn't had time for. I actually feel like I will be useful to the company over here, in a way I never felt in Detroit...

At this point, I was starving and I still had no food because no one had made a trip to the grocery store the night before (and I didn't know the way myself). I tracked down Anca, who had been introducing me around yesterday and had mentioned something about such a trip. She said she was going to go at 4:30, so we rounded up Caroline and left. I had hoped to run down to our tiny local shop to get some iced tea or a candy bar or something to tide me over, but there wasn't time so I ended up going on a completely empty stomach.

One of the things I missed most about France was the food, so being let loose in a French grocery store on my first day here and on an empty stomach probably wasn't a good idea. I had to buy myself all of the things I missed, walking down every aisle and grabbing everything that caught my eye instead of being organized and buying only what I needed. It didn't help that I wasn't sure how often we would be going to the store so I felt like I had to stock up. As a result, I ended up buying things like tortilla chips and salsa - anticipating my longing for food from home before I had a chance to long for it.

I knew this was going to be a problem even before I left, but I ended up buying a cartful of groceries even though kitchen space is limited. We have one kitchen (with two refrigerators) that we share with any student groups in the abbey, a tiny kitchen of our own that also houses washers and dryers (so it's constantly hot) and an additional refrigerator in another laundry room. I have my own shelf in the interns' kitchen's refrigerator, but there is no storage space for non-perishables, so I ended up bringing them back and storing them in the display case in my room (which used to be part of the abbey's museum). It feels a little strange, as though I were trying to show off my soup mix packets and cereal, but it works.

By the time I did all of this shopping, I was too tired and hot to do anything special so I made a salad with carrots and mushrooms. The kitchen is a little understocked in terms of kitchen implements, so I had to peel carrots with a butter knife and make my salad in a tiny soup bowl. It was tasty but certainly small. I also had Petits Suisses (fromage blanc) for dessert. It was so nice to see my beloved again...

After dinner, my other roommate Becky and I took her recyclables to the recycling bins and went for a walk around town. We talked about travelling around France and I told her the latest Abbey gossip, which I'd heard at some earlier point in the day: last night had been the first night for a new student group and the last night for an outgoing one, so of course the stupid kids went out and got drunk. Then they got in a fight. In the morning, our properties manager had to clean up not only blood, but also a pile of - um... feces that someone had left behind. Ugh! How do you do that? If I had at all considered associating with students, I think this turned me off completely. I think I've told everyone the story of Rob's shoes now, though.

After we got back from our walk, I went to the computer lab and bothered everyone back in the US at the end of their work day. As the sun went down, the bugs started coming out in full force. They are numerous and various. There are some tiny little gnat-like flies that will just fly into you and stay on your shirt (but they're out all day long - not just at night), some larger, noisy horseflies, moths and I even had a dragonfly land on my computer monitor and sit there for a while. But I ain't never seen an elephantfly.

srah - Tuesday, 8 June 2004 - 5:35 PM
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Comments (4)

gravatar alfie - June 11, 2004 - 10:07 PM -

Nice 1776 reference.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2004 - 5:29 PM -

Thanks.

gravatar Court - June 14, 2004 - 11:42 AM -

Fromage blanc....the precious...we wants it...

gravatar katie - August 25, 2004 - 9:13 PM -

Soup and cereal on display! As a (possible) future archivist, I'm driven to ask if the temperature and humidity conditions of the display case were optimal for those particular nonperishable goods...

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