mercredi 2 mars 2011

Veuillez agréer l'expression de mes sentiments distingués

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= Please accept the expression of my distinguished sentiments. 
ie Yours Faithfully or Yours Sincerely to end a letter.

I just got my first job rejection letter. Of course I'm disappointed but I'm not overly upset. Afterall, it was only the first application I sent out. French letter writing is certainly an art. They use such complicated, long, old-fashioned and flowery language! ARGH

The worst thing is: I barely have anyone to ask to help me with my French since everyone's gone away for the holidays :(  I've tried asking friends through Skype but it just takes so long and I don't want to bother them that much. Hmm 

What I'm grateful for:

I was feeling kinda down yesterday and today (mostly due to the grey weather) but by this afternoon the clouds lifted and I saw the bright blue sky again and golden sunset. The sun is setting later and later now, about 6:30pm or so (as opposed to the 4:30-5pm during the dark depths of winter) and soon it will be daylight savings time (27 March, 2011 apparently). On Monday night it also snowed a great deal on the mountains and I can never get enough of seeing that beautiful white powder, especially as it cascades over the trees down the side of the mountain.

What else? I went to the laundromat today and I never realised that I would enjoy going there! At first I hated going there. I've never needed to go to one before in my entire life. You've seen them in movies right? They are such quaint and quirky places. Mine is actually really nice and clean and quiet. I'm usually the only person there when I go.

It's so nice to get out of the house to a different environment and just chill. Like being in a café, I can watch the people pass by and some even come in. They are always polite and I'm always greeted with a Bonjour even though those people don't even know me! I remember the first time I was there a young girl showed me how to use the machines because I had no clue. First of all I ran around the tiny shopping centre trying to find someone who could give me enough change for the machines (it's not something French shopkeepers do readily*). Then I came back and she showed me how to buy laundry powder from one machine and where to put it in the washing machine, etc etc. It sounds easy but given the instructions are all in French and I had never been to a laundromat before it was a little daunting at first. I even later had a mishap with the dryer when I had it on the super hot setting and it shrunk/ruined some things. Oops! Now I'm so paranoid I only wash clothes at 30°C and have the dryer at a lukewarm temperature.

It's actually quite relaxing being there watching and listening to the whirring and humming of the washing machines going round and round. I bring my laptop with web browser with dozens of tabs loaded up with various webpages so I have something to read and do, and listen to my mp3s. I realise I could do all that in my own place but it's just different. I feel more chilled and can concentrate more when I have no distractions tempting me at home.

It's a similar feeling I feel when I'm on a train. I feel so relaxed and calm I can fall asleep in just a few minutes if I'm tired enough. It's times like these I actually enjoy being alone so I can be lost in my thoughts. 

Even though it was absolutely freezing today I know that Spring (as in the proper Spring and not just the date 1 March) is just around the corner! 

* Yesterday when I was in Geneva I bought a 3.90 franc focaccia (yeah it was a total bargain if you know anything about the price of food there) and paid with a 100 franc note and I apologised that that was all I had (that was what the ATM gave me). He smiled and said, "Don't worry" and I thought to myself, "That would've NEVER happened in France. They would've gotten the shits if I had even paid with a 20 franc/euro note!" ha.

PS  Tonight one of my lovely friends from LiveMocha that I met ages ago (and since met in real life) spent about 1.5 hours helping me translate my CV into French. It's actually quite difficult (even for a French native speaker) because the words are all so technical. You'd need someone totally fluent in both languages to do a good job of it, I think. Still, I'm very grateful that he was kind enough to do that for me. And I have had others offer to help me translate my CV or cover letter too.


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