I'm Alive...

After three days and three trips to the airport, I finally got to Miami.  Every flight was oversold through last week, and I was trying to fly standby on one of my sister's passes.  I finally just bought a full fare ticket.  It put me in Florida two days later than I'd planned, but at least I got to spend extra time with my animals.

I spent the weekend in Florida, mostly relaxing.  The ducks in the photo are a mom and her ducklings (mom has the red face and the ducklings still make baby cheep sounds and not adult quack sounds).  My sister encountered them when the ducks were about half their current size.  The brood was attempting to cross a busy street when she was walking her chihuahuas.  My sister ran in front of traffic to make sure the ducks got across safely.  Every driver on the street honked and glared at her.

I left Miami Monday evening on my sister's flight (thankfully, they let all the standby passengers on that flight, because I was last on the list), and stayed in Paris Tuesday evening with my sister.  I spent the evening with her and a bunch of other flight attendants drinking wine, eating cheese and fruit and listening to airline shop talk.

I took the train to Metz Wednesday morning, dropped my bags at the hotel, bought a phone, grabbed a bunch of free papers, went back to the hotel, paid for the hotel's wifi service, and looked for studios in the city's center, or close to it and ended up visiting the two places I'd arranged before my arrival.  I was late to my first appointment, but that turned out to be okay, because it was way out in the boonies and the taxi driver refused to wait for me while I looked for the property manager!  I walked about 1.5km to my next appointment by the train station, a modern building -- clean, includes linens, laundry facilities in the building, cookware and serving pieces, a vacuum cleaner and they wash your bed linens and towels every two weeks!

Thursday, still not having much luck with the local real estate listings, I visited another place I'd arranged before arriving very close to the center (and a convenient 5 minute walk from the hotel, but in a pretty run-down building on a sort of run-down street.  On the way back to the hotel, I dished out €140 to pay a location service for what turned out to be a pretty useless list of leads, then finally reached someone from one of the free papers I'd picked up.  I walked the 1.5 km to the studio, also near the train station, and a block from the one I'd seen the day before.  It's in an older building, which I think would be beautiful, if not for the steel security windows!  The interior has the musty smell of an older building (which, oddly enough, I like), and quirky spaces created by remodeling efforts over a long period of time.  I walked back to the hotel, decided to take that last one, even though it didn't have any of the amenities of the new building, or the great location of the studio closer to the town center, just because I liked the building (and I wasn't thinking straight -- I hadn't eaten or had much water all day and had walked all over).  So... I walked back to the studio, and signed a 4 month lease -- that's the building in the photo at left.  My apartment is on the right side behind the front apartment.

I walked to the studio twice today to drop off two loads of junk from my hotel room, then ventured into the neighborhood to find the laundromat the landlady had said was "just a few blocks away."  It's actually .8km away, according to google maps, and a good 10 minute walk without a load of laundry in hand.  I took the long way back to the hotel, coming up the bank of the Moselle (Mosel in Germany, I think).  I have photos!  But am too tired to post them right now.  I'm even skipping dinner tonight, because I'm too tired to venture out.

I'm even too lazy to close my window even though I'm a bit chilled!  My hotel is in Metz centre.  There are 4 or 5 restaurants on this block, and they're all packed.  The cobbled street outside is narrow, and the sounds of the diners travel directly up and through my window, making me feel as though I am right there next to them, so I guess I can handle a little chill to soak up some of the atmosphere.

Unfortunately for me, all the stores in Metz are closed on Good Friday, as well as the Monday after Easter, because I need bed linens, bath and cleaning towels before I can actually move in!  I'm in the hotel until Monday.  If I can't find an open store tomorrow (Saturday, my only hope until Tuesday), I'll spend a night using my coat as a blanket and my bathrobe (glad I brought it) as a towel for one night.

I tried to get around to as many people as I could today, but I know I've missed some.  Please forgive me!  Things should slow down soon.  À bientôt!