To (temporarily) take my mind off the depressing job search, I tried to keep myself busy this past week. It just so happens that our neighbours from downstairs (ground floor) are moving up to the 2nd floor into a bigger apartment that was recently vacated. In police housing, when one person moves out (usually due to retirement), the remaining tenants in the housing unit can fight for the vacant apartment. Our neighbours downstairs had a small apartment, and they got to move into a much bigger one. Max and I actually have one of the biggest apartments in the unit, so we didn't bother to ask for this new one. My neighbours don't have kids, but they have a huge dog, so they could definitely use the extra space.
The new apartment needed a ton of work, though. The building we live in was built in the 70s, and most of the apartments have seen many people come through them over the years. We've had to patch holey walls, sand doors, rip up carpet, paint...Luckily for our neighbours, most of the other police officers and their spouses have come by at some point to help out. Max (being the tallest and strongest one) had the honour of lugging furniture and appliances up the 2 flights of stairs (no elevator!), and I got to the paint their bathroom.
Their bathroom is exactly the same as ours in size and layout. It's tiny and windowless, and the walls have seen better days. My bathroom was painted a light blue colour with white tiles when we moved in, and I haven't changed anything about it. My neighbours didn't like their white bathroom walls, and decided to paint it a "fun, vibrant" colour. I use quotation marks because when we gathered around to open up the paint pot for the bathroom, I was shocked at what they chose. My neighbour said she had picked a light purple colour. Well I don't know how bright fuchsia can be considered light purple, but her bathroom now looks like a discothèque from the 80s. The colour is way too dark on the walls (in my opinion), and it makes the bathroom look and feel a lot smaller than it already is. There are no windows (which made the paint fumes even stronger....), so there isn't any natural light to bounce off the colour and make it brighter. I painted the whole thing in about 2 hours, and while they loved the result, I don't think I can look at fuchsia ever again. Even though it's not what I would have chosen, they loved it, and that's really the only thing that matters.
(I had to take turpentine to my hands to get the paint out from under my nails, and the smell is still there today. The kitties won't even let me pet them.)
The apartment is coming along well, though, and it feels nice to be of service. I'm sure they are going to throw an awesome house-warming party to thank us all, and I'll be sure to let everyone know that the fuchsia eyesore of a bathroom is my doing ;)
A new police officer is moving into the vacant apartment on the ground floor this weekend. Apparently he's my age, divorced with no kids, and is coming along with his jack russell terrier. There is a jack russell terrier across the hall from me already, and he and Pinch do not get along. Pinch hates all dogs, but he especially hates hyperactive ones like jack russells. I can only hope this new canine edition to the building is a female, because all the others are males and that only makes things worse. And perhaps I'll invite the new guy over for a drink with Max, me, and our other divorced-with-no-children female neighbour....playing matchmaker could be fun! Though Max tells me that colleagues tend not to date each other because if things go south, you have to continue to live AND work with the person....
And just earlier today, I volunteered at the International Library in Grenoble to read a book in English to a group of school kids aged about 11 years old. It was actually a lot fun and I hope to go back regularly to do a similar thing. I did bring along my résumé, but the woman I spoke with said there are no jobs available. Something to do with budget cuts, she said. I'm not surprised, but it would have been an awesome place to work for!
As a thank you for my time (and voice!), the library offered me a yearly membership so I can go and check out books, dvds, magazines and CDs in English (or the 5 other languages they offer resources in). A yearly membership for an adult is 35€, so I'm definitely pleased with their gift! It was a nice way to spend my afternoon, and I like feeling helpful.
I also found out some amazing news this week. You might remember that back in June, I went to Koh Samui, Thailand to volunteer at the only animal shelter and free vet clinic on the island. It was a very emotional, but rewarding experience, and I think about it often. Since June, I've received monthly newsletters from the association keeping me updated on what's happening over there. The news hasn't been good; they didn't have enough money to keep all of their Thai workers on staff and had to let some of them go. Food and supplies were dwindling, and they weren't sure if they would be able to continue the free care they give to wounded and sick animals. But a few weeks ago, I saw on their Facebook page that the association (DCRS) was in the running to win an online contest for charitable animal organizations around the world. People could vote online for their favourite charity, and I received word this week that DCRS won first place! The association will receive a check for 5,000 British pounds. This is money they desperately needed for supplies and renovations to the 2 shelters they run on the island. I saw first-hand while I was there just how much they need donations to keep things running, and I know they'll put the money to very good use. 5,000 pounds is A LOT in Thai baht, and it will stretch a long way to buy bags of rice, tinned food, medication, flea treatment and medical supplies for the animals. I'm so pleased for them, and look forward to receiving more updates in the future about how the money has helped to revive the shelters and care for the dogs and cats of Samui.
So all in all, it was a good week and I'm looking forward to a cozy weekend at home with some books and movies. It's awfully cold, grey and dreary right now in the Alps, so I'm actually kind of glad I don't have anywhere to be at the moment if I don't want to!
|Fly knows how to spend a cold winter's afternoon!|