Riding Tessa

for 40 KM in tight jeans short was definitely a bad idea.  On Sunday I went for a bike ride with Fred to Vilandry. It is a beautiul ride along the river Cher and through different very old villages. I did not realise that we would actually be riding that far and since the weather was nice I decided to wear my jeans shorts. Ooh boy did I regret it after about 15 KM and it only  got worse. I was convinced I had blisters on my bottom and tried riding standing up but that was pretty hard. After about 35 KM I was numb and could ride normally again. Getting on my bike this morning did hurt though, but I made it in.  Decided that once I get  my new bank cards, I managed to lose my purse on Saturday, I will stop at the sports shop and pick up some bike shorts.

So the purse, I was being super careful with my keys since the keys to the lab are on the same key chain, I forgot to pay close enough attention to my purse… Saturday after returning home from the markets, I realised after unpacking all the lovely foods that my purse was missing! I rode back to the markets in the hope I had left it at the last stall I visited but no such luck, went to the police station to file a report.  Besides being there around lunch time and therefore having to wait a bit long that all went rather smoothly. I blocked my cards and now I have to wait for the new ones to arrive!

Saturday evening Elsa, Amelie and I went out for beers and Indian food it was really nice.  Had not had Indian food in ages and really enjoyed the curries. They do take away and  I am guessing I will be popping in rather frequently especially since they are very near to my house.

Still no new pics, I have been rather slack with the camera lately but will definitely try and take some soon!

Now back to boring reading of papers in my freezing office…

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French hangovers

are just as bad as Australian and Dutch ones! I was thinking that by drinking classy champagne, red wine and whiskey I would have a classy hang over, but the craving for fatty food, the headache and the nausea were the same as usual. It was Fred’s  birthday on Wednesday and what started as a nice get together with some food and champagne ended with 5 people dancing in the living room to Tina Turner at 4 AM. After that I really thought it was time to go home and while attempting to ride in a straight line I only fell of my bike once, but this was while I was trying to ride off with a little drying rack for clothes that I found on a street corner. Unlike Bondi the Tours  people really hold on to their stuff so there are not much treasures to be found!But the clothes rack was good since the laundrette while always entertaining does not really dry the clothes properly!

Will be doing more discovering of Tours on the weekend and will take pictures too!

And it has

finally arrived, the INTERNET in my house!!!!!! I can not describe the joy i felt when I connected the BOX and all the right lights started burning!!!! I realise that it is pretty sad to be so excited about the INTERNET, but as I said I had severe withdrawals and was considering moving into the lab just to have access. With no TV and just a radio, it is my only link to the outside world when I am at home.  While I was planning on doing some French exercises in my newly bought book I think that I will instead catch up on all the things that I have missed while being INTERNETLESS.

However I do have some pics to show you and will post these below:

TESSA

TESSA

My very beautiful new bike Tessa!!

Reading chair

Reading chair

My chair and lamp and bookshelves all from IKEA and put together with lots of love and a hammer.

Laundrette

Laundrette

And above the laundry where I go and wash my dirty clothes, unlike Sydney you actually have to do this yourself and it was quite an experience. It took me a while to work out the machines, you have to put money in a separate box on the wall after you have put in your laundry and chosen the program. I really don’t think there is a difference in any of the programs, your clothes basically get boiled for at least 45 minutes. So while I was trying to figure out how to work the machines a lady came in and saw me struggling  luckily she spoke only FRENCH and very RAPIDE.  We managed to get everything sorted out and the machine did its job while the lady kept talking to me about who knows what. It was pretty funny; next time however I am just going to put my stuff in machine and go for a coffee; I highly doubt people would want to steal my crappy clothes even if they are clean.

There is way more to tell but for now it is INTERNET time!!!

I would love to

introduce my new bike: TESSA however as you may have guessed, I still have no internet connection at home and there is just no way that I will connect my dear iphone ( with photo’s) to the dirty PC I have to use at uni. I am working on getting a mac, but according to everyone in the lab there is no way that will happen. No harm in trying though.  UPDATE: I just found out I am getting a new computer but it is no mac unfortunately.

Yesterday, Bruno invited me to his house for dinner, drinks and GUITAR HERO. Bruno is the technician in the lab and like everyone else alot of fun to be around! He also asked his GF to give me French lessons, so hopefully I will be fluent pretty soon!  I know the whole guitar hero hype was a while ago; but man it is such a fun game.  To be honest I was pretty bad, but after 4 songs I improved my score to 81 %.

Finally got a sofa and another chair from IKEA, I swear I will never ever buy from a place that makes you put together your own furniture again. Frederic and Bruno carried everything upstairs, Justine and I put everything together. By the way did I mention just how FANTASTIC everyone is around here!!

This morning Bruno and I went for a run together which was really nice, since I keep getting lost when I go by myself.  It was raining and pretty cold, but he made me run fast and up and down loads of steps so the rain was actually really pleasant.

Hopefully we will be able to keep it up since the food and alcohol that I consume here is turning me into a fatty.

Settling in

slowly. Well to be completely honest I am pretty muched settled. My two main problems, lack of internet and couch in my house… But will try and have both these things organised by the end of the week.

Arrived on Wednesday with mum and dad and a car full of crap. The drive was a bit longer than I expected, I somehow thought it would be just 5 hrs but instead it took us nearly 7 hrs. We checked into the hotel and I showed mum and dad to the nearest outdoor bar/restaurant so I could quickly run to the agency to make sure that I was still going to get the keys to my apartment the next day.

In the evening we had dinner with my new boss at a very lovely restaurant. The next day I first had to go to the bank and open an account, then I went to get the keys to my apartment and pay a ridiculous amount of money; but at least the place was and is still as lovely as when I first saw it. After getting all the paper work organized we were on our way to IKEA. Figuring that everything could be delivered within a day I was ready for some serious shopping. As it turns out deliveries take a week and I needed at least a bed immediately; so instead of getting everything delivered we decided to rent a van and pick everything up on Friday since then Frederic was coming over to give us a hand. I was ready to turn around and walk out of IKEA since we would not be doing any buying that day but mum insisted I walked through the shop and wrote down all the items I needed.  Instead of just writing everything down I did end up buying heaps of little things that we could take in the car (lamps, plates, pans etc.)

Friday morning was spent in IKEA since dad has trouble walking I made him sit in the restaurant while I went and picked up everything; must say that with 2 trolleys it is pretty hard manouvering through the shop but I managed to get to the check out without really hurting anyone but myself.

After loading the truck with all the stuff we drove to my new house where I proceeded to unload everything ( I don’t think I have worked that hard in my life) and then carrying it up to the 2nd floor.  The stairs really suck and are pretty narrow; but except for the mattress I managed to get everything upstairs before Frederic arrived.  The two us got the mattress up the stairs and then drove back to IKEA to drop off the van and look for a cooker and a fridge and a coffee maker. Since my loathing for shopping is on the same level as that of house hunting and visiting the dentist I was totally OVER IT!!  We entered the store and I when I saw a relatively cheap fridge + stove I decided to buy it and as a bonus the store also sold Nespresso machines and I bought one!  By the end of Friday I had managed to get most of my furniture for my apartment (No lounge since the el cheapo one was not available). Mum and Dad left on Saturday and I don’t think I have ever felt so bad for having them come all the way to Tours just to help me putting stuff together and go shopping… I went to my apartment and put the bed together and once again Frederic came over to give me a hand; installing the cooker and putting together a massive wardrobe. We finally finished at 5 PM and went into town for beers and food. We were at an Irish pub enjoying beers when another girl from the lab (Borreana?) joined us and invited us to her house for pizza.  By 10 PM I was knackered and ready to go bed.. it was weird sleeping in my new house for the first time but I was too tired to pay attention to any weird noises.  Sunday I put together the final two things (desk and coffee table) and cleaned everything!

Not having a couch is not too bad; not having the internet is nearly killing me! I hate not being able to be on-line; well I can check emails, FB, twitter etc through my phone but the costs in France are stupidly high when using the internet on the phone.

Things are good and I am pretty sure that I am going to have a really nice time in France!

Best.Party.Ever.

And that is saying something since I have been to quite a few parties in the past 15 years.  Yesterday to celebrate my final weekend in Holland Conny and I hopped on the train to Antwerp to go to Laundry day; a massive outdoor party with 20 different stages.  It was amazing, the music, the people and the weather.  Antwerp is in Belgium and we have decided that living there would be the best option for me if London falls through. It is a lovely town, lots and lots of pubs and restaurants,  big music and art scene and did I mention the people: the Flemish people are so very lovely!!

We arrived at our hotel around 2 PM dropped our bags off and hopped on the tram to go to the party; while walking along Conny turns to me and says: Hey this is the Zillion ( a club long closed that we used to visit 10 yrs ago) I did not believe her until I saw the actual zillion sign on the door, to us Very Funny.

IMG_0097At the party there was soo much going on that we sat down with a few beers first and looked at the iphone application that I downloaded with the play lists and map of the area, not that it helped much we ended up just walking along listening to the music and then heading to the stage that at the time was playing the best sets.

IMG_0098They had laundry hanging every where, hence the name Launry Day.   We just danced from 3 PM until 12 AM, it really was the best party ever!!  And we will definitely be returning next year.  Today I am slowly packing  and reading some papers for France, I am so very excited to get started!!

How I

hate hunting for an apartment.  Probably on the same level as my hate for dentists!  I was under the impression that when I got to Tours the international office would help, they had requested all kinds of information from me regarding where I wanted to live, how many rooms etc. When Catherine and I got the office the lady was not at all helpful. Turns out all she really does is get other people to do her job and she gives you a folder from the Tourist office regarding things to do in Tours; a total JOKE.

So on Friday early morning Catherine and I went to get a paper that has all the privately listed apartments for rent. They are described very briefly and have a phone number that you can call to arrange for a viewing. This is where for my the nightmare starts.  Catherine made the calls (since my French is really to crappy) and we managed to get an appointment for the first place we called. A 1 bedroom apartment in Les Halles (the very old part of town). After that it went downhill with either no answer or when the people found out that Catherine was calling for me (she does not tell lies very well) the place was suddenly already gone.. Besides these private adds in the news paper there are about a million agencies that  rent out places so we started visiting them.

IMG_0087

The first one only had one apartment that I was interested in (1 bedroom, near city centre). The agent had time to show me and it was AWFUL!  Such a depressing dirty shit hole on the 3rd floor of this house and it stank!  Immediately I turned around and said that it was not for me!  So on we went to the next agency, this girl said she had 3 apartments and that I could come on Saturday to visit them.  At 11 AM we had to go to Les Halles to visit the apartment from the paper, it was located in such a cute street that I was already very enthousiastic until I entered the place and saw that it basically had not changed since 1500. Once again very dirty and tiny and OLD! We visited about 7 other agencies none that had anything I was really interested in and I was getting a little upset. I really thought I would find an apartment very easily but it was turning into a little nightmare… In the afternoon I had another appointment with an agency that rented out furnished places. Catherine dropped me off and had to go to the lab. The place was completely furnished and really not that bad but it was soo expensive!! By this stage I was ready to just take it but decided to look around a bit more.  I walked into another agency armed with my dictionary and told the receptionist what I was looking for.  I then got to visit 3 more apartments but none were really what I was looking for! So I hopped on the bus to get back to the lab. My mood had improved since I was rather proud of myself for attempting to speak French and finding the way to the lab. Since Catherine had to leave for the weekend, Frederic offered to meet with me on Saturday to do some more apartment hunting. (All the people in the lab are really lovely).  I went home on Friday and had an early night. The next morning I hopped on the bus back to the city to visit more agencies! I must have entered 2376 places (or that is what it felt like) and visited 2 other apartments (CRAP). By 2 PM I was ready to give up, the only good thing was that I really got to walk around Tours and realise that it is a really lovely town!  When I met with Fredric I suggested we just go and have a beers and think about a plan…. I knew I had to go and see 3 more places at 4 PM and had already given up on the thought of really finding anything..The beers were good and by 4 PM we walked to the agency; the girl did not speak a word of English so Frederic came with me to the first place. It was MASSIVE, I could play soccer in the lounge room! It was the nicest place I had seen so far but just a little too big.  Frederic had to leave after that so the girl and I went together to the other 2 places.  And then I found it:  my new HOME!!! It was just perfect (except for the fact that I will have to buy everything; stove, fridge, washmachine) but it was exactly what I had been looking for. Floor boards, two small bedrooms a small lounge room a Kitchen and a tiny bathroom. Very light since it is south facing and very near to the centre!

IMG_0092So yesterday I managed to get most of the paperwork organised and on the 10th I will get the keys and can move in!!! I am so excited!! And since it has 2 bedrooms it will be easy to have you all come and stay there! Looking back I effectively only spent 1.5 day looking for a place but since I hate it so much spending more than 1 hr apartment hunting is already too much.