Beki Grinter

Settling in

In European Union, France on August 12, 2009 at 5:50 am

Last night I slept the classic sleep of someone who is adjusting to a European timezone after living in the U.S. which is to sleep very hard for the first few hours, exhaustion after the really long travel day, and then to wake up and be unable to sleep for a while because you’re trying to sleep at 6pm US time. Then finally to sleep again, only to need to wake up because well it is gone 9am and if you don’t you won’t break that habit.

This has now finally abated but the fact that our house has shutters means that the room is very dark, so this morning I accidentially slept until 11am. I love the shutters. Not only do they keep the light out, they also really fend off the heat of the hot day, keeping our place cool even while it is warm outside. I wonder why we do not have shutters in Atlanta. The shutters are fairly modern, they are automatic, little switches (Arret and Marche and up and down arrows) control them. Seems to me that shutters would help me in Atlanta keeping my AC bills down, and if I could get them I probably would. But, …

The apartment is in an old house, well not that old by French standards, but old enough. We have the entire ground floor, which may not sound like much, but three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and several sitting rooms seems pretty good to me. I think that’s probably larger than some of the other faculty apartments in Metz. It’s also quiet which is nice. This could partially be because we suspect our neighbours and most of Metz has gone on holiday. It’s August, it’s France, and not surprisingly only the Americans (and those affiliated with them) are working. As we walked home yesterday evening from the city several notices on shop doors let us know that people were on holiday and their shop would reopen the last week of August. And some of the brasseries were shut. And I realised two things. First, that I’ve never spent any time in a French town that doesn’t have a substantial tourist industry (like, for example, Paris, Bayeux, Avignon), which might keep things open more systematically during a month like August. Second, because the French still have many family owned businesses (which in its own way is a treat) how do they take holiday if they don’t just shut, so the nice thing is that everyone shuts at the same time. There are still supermarkets to rely on, but everyone knows that this is the time when local businesses shut. So I think it’s quite nice even though I’m rather disappointed that the speciality butcher is shut, but perhaps that’s good for my waistline.

So, for those of you who know me, I’d like to think that you know that I’m pretty punctual. When it says 10 o’clock, I tend to show up roughly at 10 o’clock. I know where this comes from, and yet again, I do not. It comes from my parents, but fortunately I don’t have their version of punctuality. It began with their arrival, which they thought would be 11am. Of course not, it was closer to 10am. And this morning they told me that they would leave at 9am, of course they were out of the house by 8:06am. And I have the sneaking suspicion that if they didn’t need the gate opening key they might have not even woken me up to say goodbye. But they’ve told me that they’ll be back (I wish I’d written down the date), but like the French they are away on their two-three week holiday, so I’ll expect them back when the speciality butcher opens, and roughly an hour before they told us that they’d arrive.

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  1. My parents are punctual the way your parents are. Especially, it seems, in the morning. And when they knock on the door they sound like cops trying to bust in. Not really my favorite way to wake up.

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