Thursday, April 16, 2009

Living in the Dark

Life seemed so perfect: we had finished our cross-town move into the new apartment, we correctly assembled our new Ikea furniture, we successfully cooked a meal in the mind-boggling tiny kitchen without burning the food or each other, and the apartment was transforming itself into notre maison. True, my laptop's hard drive crashed and died, taking my resumes, iTunes music, recordings of my performances, scanned sheet music, and past school work with it to its grave. Luckily for us, though, there is a Mac repair shop blocks away from us, so we were able to purchase a new hard drive. Wednesday morning, Bobby made us our pot of Irish tea and took a nice hot shower. I cut the previous night's leftover baguette to make toast, popped the bread into our new toaster, pushed down the lever and... nothing. It didn't work. I unplugged it, put in into a different socket, checked it over, but nothing I did made it work. I told Bobby, who proceeded to repeat all of my steps. Then he tried to turn the kitchen light on... again, nothing. It seemed as if our power had gone out. We went to the circuit breaker, switched everything off and on and off and on, and still no power. Thinking the whole building might be without power, I went to the outside hallway and tried the light switch. It worked just fine! So it seemed as if only our power was switched off.

Bobby had to leave for the lab; he had a paper submission due that evening and had a full day of writing and researching and whatever else it is he does ahead of him (this photo was taken around 10:30 pm, when he finally finished the paper). So I had to go to the electricity company, EDF, by myself to sort out the problem. No one spoke any English, so I used my limited French vocabulary to explain the problem. "J'ai besoin d'électricité pour mon nouveau appartement" (I have a need for electricity for my new apartment. I used the adjective nouveau incorrectly, though; should have used nouvel since it precedes a vowel). Somehow, I was able to communicate with the EDF worker and set up an account in the Sturm name and was informed that the electricity would be turned on on Friday.

Friday?! That means Bobby and I will go without electricity for 2 1/2 days! In our apartment, like many Parisian apartments, everything runs on electricity. The water is heated with an electric water heater and the two cooking burners are electric. Until Friday, we have to eat all of our meals out (such a shame in city with as bad a culinary reputation as Paris, I know), use candles at night, and take very cold showers. Luckily for us, the Spring sun stays out until 9pm and the weather is fair, so we have no need for heating.

Aside from a lack of hot water, we love the life we are creating in Paris. Bobby is finally getting in a lot of time at the lab now that we don't have to look for an apartment, my knowledge of French is sluggishly growing and will hopefully move closer to turtle pace once we are in formal language classes, we are discovering our new community and enjoying all it has to offer, and soon friends will be coming in soon to visit.

The best part of it all? The desserts!

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