I got a lovely email from Mumsie as well saying how proud she was of me for being resilient and so forth. And you know what, it's true! Probably for every expat, there are moments where you can just crumble or you can take things on the chin and roll with the punches (hmm one too many boxing metaphors? Nah...) Apart from the recent housing debacle, a couple of moments in my travelling career that really stand out are turning up in France for the first time with 12 euros - as in 12 euros *total*, not 12 euros cash. And I promptly went and spent about 5 of it on a kebab because I didn't want to look poor in front of my new colleagues. (Annnnd, you know, maybe I wanted a kebab, it happens to the best of us, just no-one usually talks about it.)
Another biggie was when I moved to Russia. I was looking back over my blog for that time, and while I remembered the stress it all caused when my wallet was stolen just before I had to buy my Russian visa, I had sort of forgotten the time frame. I think it was something like wallet stolen on a Tuesday, and I had to organise picking up my letter of invitation, getting a visa, and booking flights (or, in the end, a train to Germany and then a flight), all with very little money and no credit cards and no idea how much the visa would cost or how long it would take, in order to start work within about a week. Looking back, I shudder at the concept of thinking "Ok you've got a week to move to Russia... GO!" even without the added complication of losing my wallet at the last minute!
Of course, it helps enormously that my family have always been there looking out for me with support, whether it's been ringing up banks in New Zealand, helping me out financially, or putting me up on couches etc. xxx
Anyway, I started the week on the right foot by going out to the cafe des langues last night. I don't know if I met any lifelong friends, but I chatted to a few people and promised I'd be back next week, so it's a start.
Then tonight, in what was not a friend-making activity but is at least more jolly hockey sticks than sitting around drinking gin and weeping or what-have-you, I cooked spaetzle - German egg noodles. I adored these when I had them in Strasbourg, then Starship blogged about them and made me want them again, so I thought I'd give them a whirl. The internet made them sound VERY EASY, but they sort of turned out like dough porridge :( Actually not that terrible tasting, but I do now feel a bit like I swallowed a ball of raw dough. The trickiest part was getting them to be noodley. The internet told me to squeeze the dough out of a plastic bag with a hole in it directly over the boiling water, cutting the dough into lengths as it went. Clearly, the dough they had in mind was significantly firmer than mine turned out to be, because as soon as I chopped the end off the plastic bag it just all started splooging out uncontrollably. I was scissoring away frantically, but with rather uneven results. Plus I got a little bit burnt from splash-back of the dough falling in the water. Oh and later I found the corner of the plastic bag in my meal, which had boiled happily away with the "noodles" for 10 minutes. So, perhaps not the world's best culinary masterpiece, but I suppose the internet has enough blogs written by people who make you jealous with their cordon bleu creations.
Oh and PS I have real live internet of my own! No more secretly squatting on the unreliable, slow hotspot of a friend's boyfriend! Huzzah! I gave up on getting fibre optic with Numericable when it emerged they would have to run a cable up the house and through the wall, and to get the landlord's agreement I would have to make a little drawing of how this cable would look and I didn't want the responsibility of translating a vague conversation I had with a technician back in August into a drawing that would doubtless come back to haunt me once the technicians came (probably sometime in November) and fecked up the whole front of the facade somehow. So I went with normal ADSL and thus will have to continue to only imagine the glories of super high speed internet.