February 22, 2011

Mon Epouse Violente (Partie 2)

Check out Partie 1 here.

So after France’s nice gesture at the laundromat on Wednesday, I was feeling pretty good. I now had clean towels and clean socks. Work went smoothly on Thursday. I was naively enjoying France’s change of character.

Then Friday after school, the bus I needed to take to get to the train station on time showed up four minutes early, even though it never ever does. I walked out of the lycée at the same time I always do, only to see the bus take off down the street without me. I was devastated. I always stand out in the bitter cold for five minutes waiting for the bus, just to avoid this very problem. Now I would most likely not make the train home.

I still had an itty bitty slimmer of hope however, as the next scheduled bus gave me a three minute window to run as fast as I possibly could from the bus stop to the train station. If I could pull off this feet of physical fitness, which was more than likely impossible as I'm not a sprinter/marathoner/exerciser of any kind, this arrangement was still less than ideal, as I would have to buy my ticket on the train, meaning I would be paying double.

But this Bus came five minutes late, shattering any dreams of making it home on time. I was going to be stuck at the train station for two hours, at lunchtime, without any food. I hated France and her evil plans to ruin my life! Why did she always have to try to get me down?

Of course if the first bus were early, the second one would be late. Why couldn’t they both have come early and given me a chance of catching my train?

Somehow, France changed the space-time continuum, and that 5-minutes-late-bus dropped me off by the train station two minutes earlier than its normal arrival time. I had five minutes to run as fast as I could to catch my train. I ran for it.

I made it! With about 30 seconds to spare.

I sought out the conductor, ready to pay for my super expensive ticket (but totally worth it if it meant I got home at a reasonable lunch hour), when he said to me, “Euhh la machine n’a plus de batterie donc asseiez-vous,” (umm actually the machine is out of batteries so just take a seat). That’s right! A free trip home!

I huffed and puffed a “merci” in his direction, and plopped myself down in the first available seat I could find in awe of my good fortune.

But by the time my forty minute train ride was up, I realized that France’s gentillesse (niceness) was just more flowers to make up for her brutal treatment of me in the first place.

I'd say I need to find a new spouse, but I can't let France win!


  1. Hehe...never surrender to la France! I'm glad it worked out - you have a long commute to work that's for sure!

  2. Brenna: Thanks for the encouragement! And yes, the commute is really long by public transit. Train ride from Lille to Lens is 40 minutes, and then I have a bus ride from Lens to Lievin, which is about 25 minutes. Luckily I carpool in the mornings (by car it's only 40 mins)!

  3. These things happen to force you to appreciate them when they do. And *if* you were a marathoner you more than liekly would be too sore to charge for the train.

  4. I can't believe how many blogs there are about Americans living in France... So jealous. Although, maybe not so jealous of marathon sprints to get to the train...

    Andrea x

  5. Jenna: It's very true. Also I'll take your word for it on the marathoner bit! Congrats on running your marathon!!

    Andrea: Thanks for reading my blog! There are definitely a lot of us expats over here in France. You should take the leap yourself!

  6. The never ending swings and roundabouts of living in France - and dealing with its transportation system.

    Glad that this one was a success story!

  7. B: Thanks! It is definitely a roller coaster ride living over here..


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