Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011: Grenoble - French/English, Laundry, Post Office

This morning I went to Sweet Home Grenoble's coffee get-together. Today was the first time in a new cafe - opinion was divided on whether it was an improvement. Top of the list is the desire for good acoustics - we're all working so much harder than usual on trying to listen and understand each other.

In the afternoon I did the laundry again. This time I divided it into two smaller washes and two smaller dryer loads - it dried much more satisfactorily than last time (although it still took about 2 hours).

While the laundry was in the works I ran errands, including visiting the Post Office. This turned out to be my most involved French transaction thus far. I had three letters to mail, but I also needed stamps for two envelopes that I wasn't mailing yet - just submitting with our carte de séjour application to the Préfecture. I prepared a script for what I needed ("J'ai trois lettres à envoyer. Je voudrais aussi des timbres pour deux enveloppes que je dois donner à la préfecture."). It seemed straightforward, but when I went to the office down the street it turns out that it is closed on Mondays. I rushed home, pulled up the French Post Office website, and searched for a way to find another nearby location that was open - a function that I finally found buried several levels deep in an obscure link. When I found the new office, I was confronted with five different desks - French Post Offices also serve as basic service banks, and I had no idea what desk I needed to visit. Happily a woman stepped out from behind one to greet me. Unhappily she replied to each of my carefully worded requests with a barrage of options (I think) in French. All I could do was keep repeating what I needed, hoping she would select the appropriate solution for me, which she did eventually, after a great deal of one-sided conversation on her part. Phew - far more complex than buying train tickets, which I would not have expected!

For supper it was a quick supper of couscous with warmed chicken and arugula and tomato and caramelized onions (the caramelized onions wouldn't have been quick, but I'd made them a few days before, during a leisurely afternoon of cooking).

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