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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Apartment Woes

I love hosting people, I truly do.  I loved hosting people in America, I love making dinner and talking about people's lives- I'm not such a fan of hosting people in a 27m squared apartment in the 7ème arrondissement in Lyon.

27m² translates to roughly 190 feet squared.  The average apartment I have lived in was between 300-400 square feet, and my parent's house where I grew up was more like 3,000 square feet.  Get the picture?

I think I read somewhere once that with 3-4 people, around 600 square feet is required.

Well.  Long story short, it felt very cramped and I felt very embarassed because there was literally no room to meander around or even a true table so I could offer a proper meal!

Worse, the location of our current apartment is all the way out in the 7ème... which is at least a 10 minute bike ride from Lyon Lumière 2, or even a 15 minute bike ride to the center.  Granted the little vegetable market across the street is a plus- the downside is still the fact that we are really not near fun things, and all our guests have to use the metro or bike passes to get around.

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The new apartment on the other hand is going to be 61 mwhich is much larger and comes in at around 650 feet squared.  Much better.

I just bought a "cuisinère au gaz" as well as a "grand frigo" which means my kitchen should be equipped and lovely within one year.  I'm very excited... because even better, it is located directly on my favorite street in Lyon, "Rue des Marrionniers" which is full of cheap authentic restaurants and has a wonderful history... and no cars can pass through.

The wait time is just full of anticipation because I am ready to move on...  There's one thing I am sad to leave...

Downstairs lives a very old woman named "Mme. Lebegue".  Mme Lebegue has lived in our building for over 60 years.  13 years were spent in our apartment, the rest in the apartment directly below us.  She is a kind old woman, smiles a lot (though she's missing her teeth) and has the unfortunate event of being unable to descend the stairs, so she is home ridden.  It's incredibly sad to me because her daughter seems to ave abandoned her, and rarely makes home visits.  The woman is living in filthy conditions- so much so even with my big heart I have a hard time standing in her place for more than 10 minutes.  The smell is this rank mix of a cheese called "coullimiers" and some cleaning product.

Walking into Mme Lebegue's apartment is like reverting back into the 1950's.  Furniture is obviously ancient, blacked with age.  Along the wall is a calendar from 1985.  In her kitchen lays her two companions- one a cage full of active noisy birds, the second a television set in the corner of the room.  It's scary of course, she- herself- is not frightening, but her surroundings make you feel uncomfortable.  Once in awhile she puts a little note on her door, I nab it, run some errands and pick up her groceries.  She seems so enamored with our willingness the list has slowly started to grow into some higher quality.

In the beginning Mme Lebegue only requested a single baguette and maybe some tea or jelly once in awhile.  The list for today is the following:
-6 ouefs
-Fromage: Vache/Chevre
-Salade Mixte
-Pommes de Terre
-2 Bananas
It makes me happy to be able to do her a service, and it makes me sad I feel I cannot spend more time in her company considering her history.  I tried to tell her the other day to let her door open to get some fresh air, and she just smiled and giggle and said, "I have to stand at the door if it's open".

If it weren't so pungent, I'd be bringing her meals and keeping her company.  It's a dilemma that I have no idea what to do about.

Well.  That's where I'm at..  things to do, people to see...


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