Routine? So you wanted a routine?
Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.
Someday – soon, I shall explain the name of this blog, Infinite Paris. I believe I promised I would do that in the first blog. Oh well.
Back to routine. Thanks, Universe. I now have one. And I am not too excited about it. Well, I am, but I am not.
I must really study French.
I received too many comments from my conversation exchange partners this past week about my need to refresh the basics. Fine. Bien! I get it.
Albert used the word “articulate” but I don’t think he means that. He just means remember how to speak proper French. And Chantelle. And Virgine. And Camille.
OK I AM LISTENING.
Actually, my written French is not awful. It’s the thinking and speaking and being grammatically correct simultaneously that is hard. And I suppose if I do these exercises, it will help.
After the conversation with Albert this morning I went to the big bookstore and bought a couple books of grammar exercises. So yes – there’s a Routine starting. Study every morning after I do my physical exercises. Just fine.
And did I tell you I had discovered some hidden secrets in the RATP cell application? Tuesday while waiting for bus 82 – which seemed to be taking a long time – I played with the app and discovered that there was a – yup! – Manifestation going on somewhere so service on that line was interrupted. Instead of waiting for the bus and the manifestation to be over, I found the closest Metro which was actually a RER and got myself across the Seine to a stop where the 82 was still working fine. Photo is of a minor manifestation going on outside the Palais de Congress near me.
The RER is the suburban train line that run below ground in Paris. You can take them within the Paris boundaries just like a Metro –but they just look different. A regular train. For some reason I have avoided the RER – just not too experienced with it I guess. Today was my third time since I have been here this year and third time’s a charm as they said. Piece of cake. And it does open up more travel possibilities for me.
Studying. How ever did I finish school? And even get a master’s degree? I get so bored studying and doing exercises. I am quite the creative procrastinator. After a quick trip to Monoprix Wednesday morning to arrange a delivery, I had set aside the remaining time to complete exercises. I get through one batch of – wow! – a whopping 8 questions and I am looking for something to distract me. Actually I am on page 40 but there are a total of 215 pages. So I am simultaneously en- and dis- couraged.
Health care in France. Well, my toe went in the water yesterday. I have had continuing hip pain for 2 weeks now. It hurt when I walked and I would even wake up at night to a dull ache. So finally last Friday I decided to see a doctor. My friend who has lived here for 20 years had given me the name of her doctor. He’s Irish and has lived here 20 years himself. Making the appointment was simple. And then the pain disappeared. Totally. Gone. But I kept the appointment – never hurts to get to know your doc before you really need him or her.
First I learned that there isn’t a code for his building. Even though there is a keypad. I guess during the day they program the keypad off. There’s a button under the numerals and you just push that. However, I did not know that in advance. I was just starting to call when another person came by and gained entry that way. I followed them in.
No big intake form. Just a form for my name and address and birthdate. When it was my turn, he came to his office door and called me in. We sat in a large and very nicely appointed office. I would have thought he was a banker or general manager. After I related my hip story, he had me walk around a bookcase divider that hid a small exam table and cupboards. After manipulating my hips and knees, he pronounced me very flexible and non arthritic and so for potential muscle inflammation he prescribed Aleve. And yes, he prescribed Aleve – or the generic equivalent. It is not over the counter here. And then he read my list of prescriptions and said that they could all be filled here in France. (An acquaintance told me horror stories of unique meds that they don’t have in France!) And he would be happy to write me prescriptions. So if I only remember to take the script to the pharmacie here I may be better. Oh. Why better? You thought the pain went away? After all that manipulating, my hips and knees are both very sore this morning. Ah well.
And prescriptions – he word-processed it on his letterhead – but not really printed letterhead – just from Word. And signed it. I took that to the pharamcie. It was for 5 days of pills, twice a day. Could be refilled twice. In the states, the pharmacist would have counted out 10 pills, right? Here she went in the back, handed me a box of 16 pills in a blister pack and then handed me the prscription letter. She didn’t write on it. How will she know how many refills I am getting? Oh well. Cost me 3 euros.
Writing this blog entry has kept me from my French homework very effectively, but now I feel guilty.
Well, long homework pause as that was Wednesday and this is Friday. And the homework pause continued until this morning.
Yesterday was Giverny. This is where Monet had a home. And where he built himself – or probably had it built – a water lily pond. Instead of paying a motor coach company some $200 for a roundtrip bus ride plus lunch and entry fees, I went on my own. $2.50 for the Paris bus to get to the Gare St Lazare, $22 to get to Vernon, $8 to take the shuttle to Giverny, $12 fee, $18 lunch…. 61.50. Worked for me.
I have the train down pretty well now. Leaving early lets me take a morning bus, even before the commuters are going to work. And I always remember to composter the ticket before I get on the train. And I have my senior carte ready for the conductor. With the senior carte, I can take first class for the same as 2nd. And this time it was fascinating to see how many people had tried to sneak in the first class cabin. The conductors started there and shooed a lot of folks out. Sitting next to me was a gentleman from … well I am not sure where. He was very tall, very black, and was wearing a turban and a long flowing blue gown? Not a robe. Very classy, actually. But without a clue about train travel. He handed the conductor a Metro ticket. That didn’t go over too well. The conductor was very polite but the gentleman did not speak French. Or English. Somehow it was finally clear that he needed to pay for a real ticket. And move to second class.
As I as saying, I took the early train and shuttle so I was in the house and garden area about 9:45. By the time I came back from the water lily pond, there was a long line at the house. Good planning.
I envy Monet. What a beautiful retreat. And how inspiring. And his rooms were filled with paintings from his friends. These are reproductions, but it was still good to see what pictures he surrounded himself with. A Berthe Morrisot was there. And the view from his library window… gorgeous.
But that was in the early 1900s. Now it was crowded with tourists – there were 5 motor coaches in the parking lot when I first arrived. And more showed up later that morning. As I was navigating the paths to the water lilies and back through the gardens, I just thought about the rude French, no, the rude Japanese, no, the rude Chinese, no, the rude Germans. And yes, the rude Americans. On narrow paths, some people – from ALL nations – continued to walk two abreast. Which meant that the people going the other way – and it was a two way path! – were forced off the path or jostled or poked. Arrgh. I just wanted to shout – people, really! Pay attention! But I didn’t. I just admired the flowers, took a lot of photos and got out quickly.
When the shuttle dropped us of in Vernon at the train station, everyone else went to wait for the train.
I took a stroll about Vernon and had lunch. Nothing much to blog about. A nice medieval city center. Nice Romanesque… gothic church with modern stained glass windows (bombed out in the war).
The train was a short 45 minute return to Paris. The bus home during rush hour took just as long! I was home by 5 but exhausted and fell right into bed. Trains put me to sleep! So this can’t be construed as procrastination for studying – I was physically unable.
This morning, however, I did hit the books. And this is actually a good process. I had dinner tonight with Elizabeth and I caught myself at least 3 times realizing I was using pronouns correctly. And that would imply (correctly) that previously I was not.
We ate at Café Milou near the Gare Montparnasse. This area is a bit modern and therefore charmless. But Elizabeth had chosen well – Café Milou is right on a tiny square, Square Gaston Baty, and is a very charming old bistro. The brochette onglet provence style was tasty. Onglet threw me at first – the dictionary translates it as thumb. A brochette of beef thumbs??? Then I saw the entry for cuisine – skirt steak. Whew. We are meeting again next week and it is my turn to pick a restaurant. I shall be perusing Trip Advisor.
Another of Edith’s walks tomorrow – on the French Revolution this time. We start at the Bastille.