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The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Settling in Strasbourg

Hello! Bonjour! Willkommen to another edition of Embrace Space! In today's post, we're taking a look at my apartment in Strasbourg, and talking about how well I'm settling in and embracing life in France.

It has been 3 months since I moved back to France (already?), and Juliette and I have been working hard to build a life here. While I've wanted to more regularly update you here on our progress, I didn't feel it right or necessary to do so until we had more to show. The process has been slow, but thankfully so as waiting often reaps its own rewards.

Let's take a look at our apartment. We live in the southern edge of downtown Strasbourg, in a community known as Neudorf. Our apartment is a 5-minute walk to a mall, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and movie theatre, and a 15-minute drive, maximum, to the nearest stores in Germany. I've never really been one to choose a location for convenience before; as a student, I rarely made that a priority. But, I must admit that it is really great to be close to centres of commerce, food, and entertainment.

Back to the apartment. We live on the...well, what floor we live on depends on your country of origin. In North America, it is customary to call the ground floor the "1st floor", whereas the first floor in France is labeled with a 0, or as our lovely elevator points out, "Rez-de-chaussée" (level with the ground). So, we live somewhere on the 4th or 5th floor.

When first you enter, you will be greeted not only by our smiling faces, but by a foyer, connecting all other rooms. Our foyer is a work in progress, like much of the apartment, but we already have a place for coats (or costumes), and a small greeting party.

Sidenote: Juliette is very allergic to pet hair but we both love animals. While we adjust to our new place, and work out a plan for incorporating pets into our life (that doesn't involve a rabbit or hairless cats), we have started collecting little pictures of animals. Juliette and I will leave them all over the apartment, pretending to pet them when we walk by, pretending they're getting into trouble by hiding in our bed, or behind the TV, that kind of thing. If you know me at all, you'll know this is exceptionally cute behaviour quite outside my normal operating parameters.

Meet Sassy and Chester
The kitchen is quite awesome, I must say. While the apartment is very old, it all looks brand new and nowhere better than the kitchen.

New appliances, a smooth, glass stovetop, dishwasher, and lovely double set of cupboards, the kitchen has been a haven, a room to look up to while we've acquired furniture for the other rooms.

I've never had a dishwasher before, I've always been the dishwasher, but I am finding it nice to not have to do them anymore. Knowing how energy and water efficient they now are really helped me to adopt the technology.

Now, the office is not really photogenic at the moment, as it has been one of the last rooms we have worked on, but it is spacious, and I have enjoyed working there.

The view from my chair faces some other apartment buildings where, sometimes, I am afforded a view of cats walking on rooftops. Juliette and I are very excited to get the office set up the way we want, with desks for us both, and at least one long table for her art, my crafts, and various hobbies. If you haven't checked out Juliette's work yet, you really should. And even if you have, there's new stuff there that you should see. Go ahead, I'll wait here.

Here and now, I must publicly commend Juliette on all her hard work. She has really worked hard to ensure we have the best life imaginable. Of course I have helped, but while I've been sitting at my desk working all day, she has been the one researching everything we've needed, finding the best prices, feeding me when I forget (which is often), and making our place a home. Settling in here has really taken a lot of her time and effort and I hope to balance those scales as we move forward and I hope our office space helps her focus on the tasks, projects, and commissioned work that she likes and deserves to accomplish.

Moving on, we have both a washroom and a toilet. Here in France, it is customary to separate the toilet from the washroom and while that seemed strange at first, I adjusted quickly. The washroom is pretty cool with its large shower, lights with adjustable brightness, and little pet tiles running through the room. 

Next, the living room! Still a work in progress, the living room is still very exciting for me. On one side of the room, Juliette's extensive music collection, including many vinyls and CDs, giant speakers and her vinyl player.

While music has always been a part of my life, it has never taken centre stage, until now. It is really cool to be able to flip on some electronics and listen to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon whenever I want to, with high-quality sound. Plus, with a collection like this, and one that is ever-growing, it is unlikely I'll ever get bored.

Next, the largest TV I have ever owned!

I told myself, and Juliette, that I wanted a giant TV for us. At first, she warned me that big TVs were not really that common here and would be quite expensive, but I told her that it didn't matter. I wanted to spoil us. Other than making the move to France, I had not done much previously to celebrate my job with NSR, and I wanted something big and momentous. Juliette and I both love TV and movies and plus, with my Xbox One, I can Skype and play games with people back home.

As you can see, I was very excited to unveil the TV. And it took quite a lot of searching, but Juliette managed to find this awesome TV stand with optionally glowing blue LEDs!

After that, the couch. We waited quite a while to get this couch, and it was one of the reasons I waited so long to post pictures of our apartment. For the longest time, we had nothing more than a spare mattress in our living room. We had found a great couch at IKEA but had no car large enough to bring it home. Delivery costs 79 euros and we both preferred to wait rather than pay that much.

Finally, it arrived, and it was worth the wait. Perfect colour, or shade if you prefer, large, and comfortable, it is also very practical. 

Storage space for blankets and such, even has a little vent so things never become too musty
Love this! Folds out easily, instant bed
Finally, the last piece of bragging rights concerning our apartment, our balcony. This 6 metre long beauty overlooks the tram and the street we live on, and it is quite lovely to just sit outside, except for the heat we've had this summer.

We have all sorts of plans for making this balcony super amazing including the green table and chairs you saw in the living room, some fake grass, and lots of plants. 

In the end, our apartment may not be that "awesome" to anyone else, a home is a home, but it is special to us. It has quickly grown from a new and empty place to one full of nerdy memorabilia, comfort, and fun. We are both very proud of our place and looking forward to continuing to make it the best possible place for us with something wondering and practical to see in every direction. 

Thank you for taking the time to check it out, hopefully you've enjoyed the tour. Thanks for reading, and I hope to update you again soon.

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