Aug 30 2008
We moved ourselves (partially) into our new apartment in Renens today. This was not a simple process. Here it is, in the form of a list!
- Step #0: last night, I attempted to do our laundry. Switzerland has a reputation things generally working. Trains run on time. The government regulates cocoa content in food products called chocolate. But this does not apply to washers and dryers. They were complicated and only labelled in German. After Googling laundry temperatures I was able to set the washer and it spun on its merry way. An hour later, I figured out which button opened the dryer and started it. 45 minutes after that, I figured out which button set the dryer to spin! This entire process only took 6 hours.
- Step #1: leave our chalet, take some of our stuff by suitcase and backpack and travel by train to Renens. Modes of travel: walking (uphill), slow train out of Alps, fast train around Lake Geneva, bus, walking (up and down an underpass–they love those in our neighborhood)
- Step #2: arrive in apartment, unpack backpack, head back to train to go to IKEA. Modes of travel: elevator, walking (up and down an underpass), train.
- Step #3: wander into an IKEA competitor, Casa, with a disappointing selection. Wander out of Casa. Mode of travel: walking through a parking lot.
- Step #4: trek across parking lots galore (maybe we should rent a car?) to IKEA. Modes of travel: lost in parking lots.
- Step #5: Jackie and I have never been to IKEA. Our French is not perfect. As a result, we spend 35 minutes wandering through their showcase (“exposition”), overwhelmed by the model children’s bedrooms and fully stocked kitchens, unclear on where we can find things for our kitchen. Modes of travel: wandering.
- Step #6: finally realize we’re in the wrong part of the store, go down a floor, and start picking out stuff. Lots of stuff. Silverware. Dishes. Towels. Sheets. Garbage cans. Knives. etc. This is particularly unfortunate because if we were in the United States we would be happy to use most of these second-hand. But we’re in Switzerland and we need a place to sleep and plates to eat off of–tonight. Mode of travel: slowly pushing cart loaded with goods while trying to avoid hitting adorable French-speaking children.
- Step #7: leave IKEA, lug stuff home, rest for 10 minutes, forget to eat an apple (later, we realized we both had really had meant to eat one) and then immediately head back out to a grocery store. Grocery stores close at 6pm and are not open on Sundays. Tomorrow is Sunday. Thus, we needed to stock up (eating out is expensive and not so easy). Modes of travel: pushing cart across parking lots, train, bus, no underpass this time (went a different way!), walking, underpass.
- Step #8: arrive at grocery store, begin shopping. Mode of travel: pushing a shopping cart.
- Step #9: one fifth of the way through our shopping trip, a few minutes after 5pm, a store employee gets our attention with a “MonsieurMadame” (this is a very common appelation for us, for some reason) and informs us that the store is closed.
- Step #10: foiled by an early closing time (Saturdays only, we hope) I head to the checkout while Jackie convinces the employee to let her get one more staple–olive oil–and is escorted to the aisle so she doesn’t sneak off and buy more things. Mode of travel: escorted by store employee.
- Step #11: return home with enough food to cook a dinner, maybe. Decide to go out to eat instead.
- Step #12: go to the Indian restaurant in town. That part wasn’t very hard. It was pretty tasty, but a bit pricey. Fortunately, local varieties of wine are very cheap here. Mode of travel: walking, uphill.
So we’re living in Renens, a suburb of Lausanne, 4 minutes by train and 15 minutes by bus to the center of Lausanne, and we’re hopefully going to be getting into pretty good shape. You can see our neighborhood from above. If you want our mailing address send one of us an e-mail (if you send us a postcard, we’ll send you one too!)