Friday, May 3, 2013

IKEA Hunting

Sigh… the end of a packed week. In a program with rolling registration, you accept that the class composition will change constantly. Given that the course I’m enrolled in over here is done by the week, each Friday some of the class leaves, and new students arrive on Monday. In some ways it’s nice, you’re always meeting new people. That being said, this also means you have a limited amount of time to figure out who everyone in the class is, and how they interact with you (and the other students) in a classroom before they leave again. I can’t honestly say that I’m at all attached to any one person or group of people here, but it means that the classroom is constantly filled with ‘goodbye’, and that’s kind of sad.

The blue and yellow building in question.
That being said, the adventures I had today were far from sad. Unless you’re commenting on my ability find gigantic blue and yellow buildings, in which case the words ‘nearly non-existent’, ‘poor’ and ‘comic’ are also completely valid terms. After the truth came out about what I am and am not allowed to cook in Catherine’s Kitchen, she ceded that if I did not finish my dinner portion (I don’t get to dish that up myself, it is given to me) I may take the leftovers with me in a Tupperware container for lunch the next day. Well hey, that’s pretty awesome! The portions she dishes up for my dinner would put most major American restaurants to shame, which means I am forever guiltily staring at half a plate of food after dinner as it is whisked away to the garbage can. Now though, I don’t have to cook the food I’m bringing for my free lunch, and that means I can have a tart, or sorbet, or macarons, etc. etc. for an afternoon treat when I’m hungry again at 5:00pm. All in all, this is sounding like a fantastic deal.
Oh, wait… ok that means I need a Tupperware container. Sometimes two. ‘Hah’, I thought to myself, ‘like that’s the greatest obstacle I’ve faced since I got here’.
That was an incredibly foolish thing to think. 

This brings me to Ikea-hunting. Firstly, I’d like it noted that IKEA is where I was told I’d have to go to find a plastic lunch container after I spent all my free time yesterday scouting each and every grocery store that is near a transit line. Really? Really France? Grocery stores don’t carry lunch containers? How inefficient. Not the end of the world though, Alexandre gave me excellent directions for how to get to the large shopping complex at the edge of town. So, today after lunch I set off for IKEA. The directions to the shopping complex were bang on, and I arrived without a hitch. This is when things stopped working. Malls in France are large, outdoor complexes. This one happened to also house an aquarium, go-kart operation, bowling, Hollywood-themed restaurants, several playgrounds, a McDonalds, sports megaplex, movie theatre, parking towers and what I think was a major day-camp/childcare operation. Uh… where’s the IKEA?

It was like hunting for one, single store in West Edmonton Mall, without a directory in sight. Outgoing person that I am, I was not initially fazed by this; I did the most logical thing and asked for directions. First I was sent one way, then back another, then down the highway (?!), then through the sports megaplex – which was kind of like MEC and an indoor climbing center smashed together – then I caught sight of something dark blue! Nope, that was the aquarium. It took 45 minutes to find IKEA. I ended up walking back to the highway that circled the center, and followed the edge of the whole shopping complex until I ran into the IKEA.

Ok, at this point there was still underground parking and a vehicle bridge between IKEA and I, but I got there... creatively.
          I want it noted that if I’d just been told when I arrived to go up the escalator to my left and down the really long hallway, I would have gotten there much faster. I will forever think of it as a character-building experience.

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