Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chez moi

You might be thinking: Kelly, you've described the center of town, the north, south, and east ends, what is to the west?

I say: Now you're on MY turf. Life in the projex aint easy, but it sure is cheap.

Ok, that's pretty insulting. I have no idea what life in the projects is like, as my apartment is very clean, spacious, and safe. You have to admit, though, that it does look rather trasy, all askance like that.

Here's my room. I came here on my first day in town, already overwhelmed by the fact that I couldn't understand a word of french. Naturally, I had been harboring some outlandish fantasies of my own adorably ramshackle apartment, so I was disappointed when I signed the lease for this:

It really does look nicer now; I've rearranged the furniture, bought a few new things, generally made it more lived in and comfortable. But I can't show you a picture yet because my room is messy right now and I haven't folded all of the clothes I hung out to dry yesterday.

Pros: big space, my own sink.

Clean. I have the suite to myself, meaning there's no sharing of the kitchen and bathrooms (also currently untidy and thus no photos).

Cons: A guy who works on cars in the morning. Shutters bang around and night and sound all scary. Not that much furniture, so I have been borrowing and buying things to house my socks and coats. (This is the view directly out of my bedroom window)

Overall, I can't complain. Sure, there might be kids smoking outside the entrance at all hours, and I might have to hear middle eastern music played obscenely loudly from another building, but I'm living IN FRANCE. There's a grogery store directly next to me -- one that is even open during lunch AND on SUNDAY (morning only). Also, it's a five minute walk to just about every other place in town, 15 minutes to the train station. In the morning, there are always birds in those trees, chirping. For a while, I thought that there was an owl roosted nearby, but yesterday I found out those sounds were coming from a pidgeon.

While I've already reprimanded myself for using the 'projects' reference, this little cluster of apartments is inhabited exclusively by poor immigrants. Like me! Looking at a map, it's probably directly in the center of town, but there's a fair amount of land around us that's more or less unused. Well, used by weeds and garbage. And a car bumper is using the front lawn of my building. Farther west is a larger residential area, with mostly small, new [a relative term] houses. The train tracks and a small highway run north-south on the western edge of town -- beyond that is a small industrial area, including the large supermarket, a car dealership, and a small wood treatment factory. That area is about a mile from my place.

Really, the most valuable thing about living here is the gorgeous countryside. Jura (the southern area of the Franch-Comte) is a relatively unknown jewel in a largely-forgotten region. What people do know, and love, is the pastoral beauty. It's hard not to get all starry-eyed, when just outside of town looks like this:


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