December 24, 2008

Utah, you are cool.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 6:28 pm

I am really okay during the holidays alone and all, and then got real homesick, or Utah-sick when I saw this on gasbuddy.com:


(self-circled of course.) Not that I even drive here, but how I would love to just the sign that says $1.37!  And it’s just another reason to miss Utah.  Feel proud, people who live there.


December 22, 2008

i love nutella.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 6:19 pm

First of all, I love nutella, even the generic brand kind, and I can’t stop eating, making and buying crepes with nutella.

Second of all, it’s Christmastime, and here around Lille what they do for Christmas is they screw large pieces of felt into the ground.


Can you see the tree and city hall in the background?? Nice eh?  And the red-carpet effect is kind of nice too, because it’s red and all, but then you’re forced to walk on it and you realize you’re basically walking on a giant sponge. And since it rains like every day, this sponge is always wet so it’s splashing around all the dirty water from everyone’s shoes.  And then it gets dirtier and dirtier and you wonder why anyone thought this was a good idea.  And then there are a couple days without rain and the red felt isn’t SO bad to walk on, and then you remember that you’re in freaking France where people’s dogs poop on sidewalks is not a myth but is a screaming every day reality.  This last thought has not actually materialized into a real experience for me yet, but it’s just another reason that this red felted sidewalk is a really bad and weird idea.

December 20, 2008

i tried and tried to leave certain details out but it just doesn’t make for as good of a story.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 7:42 am

Ok so this past week I was really really sick.  I started off with normal achey-ness and then a headache and then the next day everything made me feel queasy and then the next day is when the real fun began and I was in the bathroom every 20 minutes.  Not puking… but you know, the other end.  (I’m sorry about the gory details, but I debated and debated about whether to put it in and it just can’t work without it.)  So anyway, it basically just wouldn’t go away.  For days. I mean I’d have a few good hours, but it’d keep coming back.  And so I decided that I needed some sort of drug to help me through the process.  I figured I could discreetly pick something up, come back and problem solved.

Well, not only are drugs not available in normal grocery stores, corner stores or gas stations, but they are ONLY available in the pharmacy.  I’m not talking prescription drugs, I’m talking just normal pain killers. Aspirin, tylenol, what have you, are only available here:

“Pharmacies.” Whatever that means. More like weird white buildings marked with green crosses and diet pill advertisements.  Ok so, no big deal. There are like 10 pharmacies within 2 blocks from me.  Only, upon walking in, I immediately realized the American comforts that I was inevitably going to miss.  In a Walgreens, a CVS, a Fay’s, the great part is that we can peruse the shelves at our leisure, compare the generic brand to the name brand, see if it’s worth paying $5 more for the 3% of phenozylene or necrolephinisium.  And even better, if we don’t want anyone to see we’re buying wart remover, or pinworm medication, we dont have to show ANYONE and just go to a self-checkout and hurry home with no one the wiser.  Well, France ruins all of this.  The only thing on the shelves is stuff like moisturizing cream and cuticle removers.  No no, you can’t look for whatever you need.  You have to ASK for it.  Even the Advil.  Cough drops, vitamin C supplements.  Same thing.  And of course, anti-diarrhea tablets.  And it’s not like you go in a room with just you and the pharmacist.  You’re in a line and there are people behind you, listening to what you’re saying, trying to figure out what is wrong with you.  So that’s what I had to do.  And the pharmacist looked at me and kind of gave me this reassuring/pitying look like, “I’ll find it quickly… I bet this is an emergency.”  But no, no no, she had to say out loud one more time why I was there while explaining what the instructions were.  They’re written down! I can manage! Let me out of here before everyone knows! And, not only did she explain, but she allowed me to learn the vocabulary for “liquid stool” which of course she kept on saying over and over while telling me how many pills to take and when.  Thank you.  Really.

December 10, 2008

smarter people should work at cash registers.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 6:37 pm

You know when you’re at the grocery store and they add up all the items and then the total comes to $13.27, and the guy asks, do you by any chance have 27 cents?  (This happens more in France because for some reason no one ever has change.)   And so you look, and you’re like, “Oh, I dont have 27, but I have 32.  Will that help you?” knowing very well that it will, because he can just give you a nickel back (is this when they got their name??  Bad experiences in supermarkets?  Well I hate them too).  And then the cashier looks at you like you’re crazy, and looks around, shoots a glance the people in line, like, “Did you just hear that? Why would she be trying to give me 32 cents instead of 27?!  Insane!”  And the almighty cashier kind of waves his hand rejecting your change and says, “It’s okay,” in a kind of pitying way, like, “I’m sorry you’re not smart enough to figure out that 32 does not equal 27.”  And you just take it, because you don’t want to prolong the in-the-line time, and because you don’t want to make the cashier look dumb.  And then when you’re walking out the door, you realize… that cashier thought I was an idiot!!  But really he should know that HE is the idiot.  And then you regret that you never said anything.  And then you decide that cashiers rejecting your change because they think it will make it more complicated, even though you know it will only make it easier is something you really really hate.

December 7, 2008

yeah.. but.. it’s.. no.. ehh…

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 5:57 pm

I’m moving!  To a place actually IN Lille.  Right now I kind of live in the ghetto next to Lille, known as Roubaix.  When I tell people that they always gasp a little and say something like, “Ooh.. be careful at night,” or “We’re not allowed to go to Roubaix, it’s too dangerous,” or “My friend’s friend got shot there.” Stuff like that.  Honestly though, I haven’t been scared or felt like my life was going to end here.  It’s annoying though because it’s a 25 minute metro ride into Lille, and I HAD to take this place because at the time it was the only thing available, but I’ve been looking and finally found another place.  I told my landlord from the beginning that I was looking for another place. He said to me, “No problem, just tell me one month in advance.  No big deal.”  Here is the ridiculous and frustrating conversation that I had when I told him (there was so much more ridiculousness and yelling, but I cut it down to the essentials):

IJK: You know how I’ve been looking for another place to live? Well, I found one, so I’m letting you know one month in advance.

Landlord: One month? Wait, so when are you leaving?

IJK: I’ll be in the new place starting January.

LL: Oh. No. That’s not possible.

IJK: (Laughing at his joke) …(fearing that he was not joking) …What do you mean that’s not possible?

LL: Yeah. I need one month.

IJK: I’m giving you one month. Right now.

LL: It’s the 6th.

IJK: Uh huh. So one month from now is January 6th.

LL: If you move out the 6th of January, I can’t have anyone move in until the end of the month. You need to pay the month of January.

IJK: That makes no sense. Why couldn’t someone move in before the end of January?

LL: I told you I need ONE MONTH.


LL:  Listen, sorry, but one month is one month. And it’s written, right there in the contract. I need ONE MONTH.

IJK:  Oh my gosh.  I understand.  I get it.  I promise.  But what are you saying about me paying the whole month of January?  I am leaving on the 6th.  I’ll pay you for 6 days.

LL:  No, no. It doesn’t work like that. I need one month.

IJK:  So basically, if I move out and I pay you rent for January, someone could move in the next day and they’d pay you the month of January too.



Basically he tried to convince me that the law says I need to pay the month of January. He is one of those people that is really nice at the beginning and then turns into a crazy person that will not listen and makes no sense.  He kept telling me to “Look it up. Look it up. That’s how it works. Sorry. That’s how it works.” WHAT are you saying?? And THEN I found out that he’s so wrong!  My neighbor who went to real-estate school found THE LAW that says I only have to pay for however long I’m actually there for.

The end.

December 4, 2008

no, no. I’LL be.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 8:18 am

Even though ChaCha is continually declining in coolness, I have gotten used to the extra money so I answer any question I can. They are sometimes weird, like the time someone asked me why their great uncle puts lime peels on their body (…I didn’t know the answer), and sometimes dumb, like, “Does Rachel like me?” but sometimes they are perfect and hilarious and remind you of things long forgotten. The other night someone asked me for the lyrics to the one and only masterfully crafted “I’ll Be” by of course, Edwin McCain. YES! Not kidding. Sometimes I think people are in the middle of playing Trivial Pursuit and need an answer because WHY anyone would want these lyrics, I’m not sure. Then I found them and was immediately grateful.

First off, Edwin and I are pretty close. He was on TRL every day after school during the period that MTV was novel in my household because my parents finally decided cable was okay. (Not that I watched it every day, but reruns and the same songs over and over prove it hard to escape.) It was during the time of Ghetto Superstar and Wanna Be a VJ with Jesse and that show Undressed. (Don’t fact-check me on this. The years are blurry.)

And let me just say, I hated. haaated this song. I hated his long hair. I hated that awful saxophone in the beginning. I hated the line about rain falling angry on the tin rooof. It’s so bad. Yet, I found myself singing along when it was on. I never really thought about the lyrics because I was pretty sure I was making them up because they didn’t make any sense, but little did I know how right I was. I was making them up, but they still do not make sense. Ready?

The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath.

Ok, first of all, Edwin, hair has strands, not eyes. And ‘wonderful’ is NOT a color.

And emeralds from mountains thrust toward the sky
Never revealing their depth.

uhh.. what? what are you talking about?? Why are you all of a sudden implementing geology? And why are emeralds thrusting?

Tell me that we belong together,
Dress it up with the trappings of love.

Dress what up? What is a love trapping? I get a lot of images of tigers in cages with valentine hearts glued to their fur.

I’ll be captivated,
I’ll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above.

OK first of all, I always thought he was saying, I’ll hang from your roof. Lips actually make more sense, but wow. Could he have made a worse line to sing along to? Seriously. Try singing that last part without looking at it. It’s impossible to retain. the gallows of heartache? WHO IS EDWIN MCCAIN.

It’s so bad though that it’s really amazing. So I hope you enjoy also.

December 1, 2008

photos are in.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 8:04 pm

I finally borrowed a cord to put the pictures from my phone onto my computer! Meet: guy I was talking to about Michigan on the left, and on the right, Enzo. Read about my pickpocketing experience here. Or really you could just scroll down until you get to it, it’s only 2 away.


I look a little crazy with the weird neck tendons sticking out but I was really excited about the picture.

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