Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chez nous à Villeurbanne

Bienvenue chez nous

I must first admit that our petite maison is actually in a suburb of Lyon called Villeurbanne, not Lyon proper, BUT we are just 2 blocks north of the Lyon border. I think we're pretty well situated, suburban embarrassment notwithstanding, since we are 2 blocks from a supermarket and 3 blocks from the Charpennes metro station. (Which is only 4 stops away from the Hotel de Ville station, which is the heart of the city.) We decided to nickname it "the V-ban" as a rebranding effort so it sounds less like a suburb. Not sure if it impresses anyone else, but we like it!

We moved in on Monday, which was cold and rainy - the perfect weather for carrying one's worldly possessions into new accommodations - and have slowly been settling in. The new mattress we bought didn't seem to get too wet on the way inside, and since we had bigger fish to fry, I didn't bother using any brain power stressing about it.

In France, you buy your own appliances, even for a rental, so when we got here we had a sink and a water heater in the kitchen. And that's it. So please imagine my surprise when we unpacked our new stove/oven and I found this at the end of the electrical cord:

Guess it's not a plug-n-play situation. Please also note that I'm wearing gloves in my own kitchen because we didn't have heat yet - that first night with no heat was rather uncomfortable, as one might expect. We both slept in double socks, pants, two sweaters, and a scarf or hat. Good times.

On Tuesday, Alex had to go back to Grenoble for a dentist appointment, so I was left to my own devices. It was a productive day until I bought a bottle of wine, but I'll get to that later.

First the gas people came and turned on our service - whew! After that, I was able to figure out how to get the water heater going and the hot water flowing. The hot water is both for the faucets and the heating, so it was a pretty big deal. I first intuited that the thermostat needed new AAA batteries (which I luckily had in my backpack for some reason), before decoding the instructions for the water heater:

After a series of turning knobs and pressing buttons, voila! Heat!! I could strip down to just two layers of clothing instead if the three I had slept in! Major victory.

I assembled our IKEA kitchen table (victory) before heading to the supermarket, where I bought some basic provisions like bread, cheese, saucisson, and wine (victory). I also had a pleasant, if brief and extremely basic, conversation with the cashier (victory). Then I attempted to assemble the coffee table:
Yeah, it's not quite done. 3/4 victory. It was at this point last night - around 8 pm - that I pulled up a chair to the table, put a Community DVD on with my laptop, and poured myself a glass of wine. I felt like I earned a break for all the victories (partial or otherwise) I had racked up.

For the moment, I'm ignoring the pile of stuff that we don't have anywhere to put yet:

As well as the garden that needs some attention:

And I would be remiss not to mention the spider I encountered in the kitchen (bottle opener for perspective):

Alex did his part yesterday and returned with the rest of our clothes, some more provisions, and a French SIM card for me, so I finally have Internet on my phone again (major victory!). 

The next step is to open my own bank account. Apparently you need to bring proof of where you live, so that will have to wait until we get a utility bill or statement from our apartment agency. Cause who doesn't love the exchange of seemingly unnecessary paperwork to conduct basic personal business?

So, all in all, I feel like things are coming along. I have yet to attempt to shower though since I can't figure out how to expand the curtain rod we first to-do for today! Hopefully the productivity will continue!


  1. Love the update! This is good stuff. Glad you guys have hot water and guys are moving on up! Good luck with all the next steps!

  2. Hooray! Way to go, Lucy, figuring it all out as you go along. I am in awe that you figured out the water heater and heat - those "basic" things are the hardest for me to wrap my head around sometimes. Here's to more victories, both big and small!