Surviving a French Dorm 101

August 26, 2008 at 11:45 pm (French, Lille, Oops, Rants, Study Abroad) (, , , , )

Lesson 1: Laundry

My first adventure tonight was catalysed by my decision to search out the laundry.  I knew it had to be somewhere downstairs, so that’s where I started my search.  In one corner of the kitchen, I found a door that had a sign that looked like it said TV Room and Wash Room, so I opened it to discover another flight of stairs.  Descending these stairs I dicover a dark room at the bottom.  Grasping at the walls, hoping to find some sort of light switch, my hand finally hits something that happens to turn on the lights – miraculous!  I venture into the now-lit room and discover a foosball table that I would have crashed into had I gone into the room any further sans lights.  Turning left I see a big TV that seems to be facing a wall, and then two big couches in an adjoining room.  The room I am standing in is basically empty.

Then I catch sight of a dark hallway leading off in the distance.  I find the light switch for this hall and slowly walk towards the end.  On either side of me, there are doors that lead to who-knows-where.  I think I hear sound coming from somewhere, but can’t be sure.  At the end of the hall, I turn right and stumble into what turns out to be the laundry room.  Imagine an ugly basement with a concrete floor and huge concrete sink on one side, with splotches of stains in random places.  That is my laundry room.  And guess what?  There is only one washer and one dryer.

The moral of the story?  Laundry day is going to be a blast as I lug my laundry down 5 flights of stairs and through a small warren of rooms only to find that someone else is already using the machines.  Fabulous.

Lesson 2: Showers

My second adventure was catalysed by my need to be clean (surprise, surprise!).  Being on the 5th and top floor, we do not actually have showers, and so have to share the two showers on the floor below us.  I had scoped them out earlier and knew that each shower was in its own little room, so i didn’t have to parade down the hall and down the stairs in my towel, but rather could wear clothes there and change in the locked room.  Thus, I bring my pjs along with all my shower stuff.

Fortunately, there aren’t many people here yet, so both showers were free.  I chose the one with a bigger room.  Stepping into the shower, I notice that the shower head is one of those hand-held ones with no apparent place to hang it from.  An obstacle, but not insurmountable.  Knowing that the water will be cold as I try to figure out a good setting, I hold it close to the drain when I turn it on.  Unfortunately, no matter which way I turn the knob, it doesn’t seem to be getting any warmer.  In addition to this, I discover that if I don’t continually push the knob, the water turns off in about 10 seconds.  Frustrated to no end at this point, I finally leave it on what feels like the warmest setting (by maybe 2 degrees) and resign myself to taking a cold shower that night and testing out the others in the coming week while simultaneously swearing to myself that if I can’t get a hot shower, I am going to be on the next plane home.

As I try to wash my hair only with this cold water, I discover another reason to not like hand-held showers: my hair is too thick for the pressure to get through and therefore I need to contort everything to make sure that all my hair gets wet.  And then – miracles upon miracles – the water gets warm – and then hot!  The perfect temperature with a good pressure!  As I look up to thank the heavens for this, I notice a hook to hang the hand-held device!  Will the wonders never cease?  Finally I can take a wonderful hot shower to wash away the stress of the day.

The moral of the story?  Well, it could be a metaphor for this whole study abroad thing, in that everything may seem terrible at first, as soon as I resign myself to that fact, it will become better than I could image it.  But no, the moral of the story is that the French are too stingy with their water.

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4 Comments

  1. el-boyo said,

    The moral of the story? Well, it could be a metaphor for this whole study abroad thing, in that everything may seem terrible at first, as soon as I resign myself to that fact, it will become better than I could image it……hmmm I think that like normal you got the right answer the first time

  2. Kathleen said,

    Nope

  3. M-dawg said,

    Hi Kathleen! Lucky you have a shower! Italy is careful with there water too. I am not sure if I will have a shower or washing machine. There will definitely be a bath tub. Apparently washing machines are an endangered species in Italy and dryers do not exist. If you take clothes to a laundramat the ladies wash them by hand! Moral: don’t bring dry clean only….

  4. M-dawg said,

    P.S. there= their
    Sorry, exhausted still.

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