Glossary of Terms: Part 2 (Now contains health-giving acronyms!)

The last week has been somewhat rocky, but my flatmate and I are beginning to get back on our feet after the deeply disappointing loss of our apartment, and have been diligently (read: desperately) flat-hunting. Given that the only two-month lease two random foreigners are likely to get is a holiday apartment, I think it’s particularly impressive that we’ve resisted the urge to take out a massive loan and spend several thousand euros a week on a luxury villa. My overall mood at the moment is fluctuating between all-encompassing hatred and slightly alarming hysteria, so I’m going to disperse my rage in manageable increments throughout the next instalment of my year abroad dictionary. Enjoy.

Onesie: The only reliable thing in a world full of uncertainty and strife.

Guarantees instant cosiness and, if not actual happiness, at least a deep sense that all may one day be well with the world.


REFF: Rude Even For France. This refers to those instances where someone’s behaviour is so outrageously inconsiderate or blunt that it generates sheer outrage even from the most mild-mannered of people. This is probably the opportune moment to explain that my current bitterness is due to an email I got the other day. In it, our landlord added insult to kicking-us-out-of-our-flat by kindly informing us, completely out of the blue, of numerous Terrible Things we’ve apparently done, in a long, threatening, chronologically-unsound (i.e. dating to before I moved in) rant which elicited more obscenities from me than I thought I even knew. He even had the gall to claim that most of his accusations came from a third party, who subsequently turned out to have said nothing at all.

ONRIF: Only Not Rude IFrance: Easily confused with the above; it turns out that the level of blatant nastiness considered acceptable here is much higher than I realised. After consulting with an Erasmus coordinator (see below), it seems that the email wasn’t quite as unbelievably aggressive as it seemed to us, although it was agreed by all parties to be deeply unreasonable.
Philippe Philloppe: What you call a) A french man in sandals and b) Our landlord, a small, inconsistent and unfairly powerful man who I really hope never finds this blog.

All similarity to real persons, places or events in this blog is entirely coincidental and should not be taken as the basis for a court case.


Tact: Foul-smelling word-slurry, to be shovelled by the hypocritical bucketload into emails to people you loathe, any time you want to bring to fruition the tiny seed of a possibility that something, anything, might miraculously work out. On an unrelated note, we just sent a very polite and apologetic response to the landlord…

Erasmus coordinators: I may slightly have called these lovely people demons in an earlier post. I would now like to wholeheartedly take that back, as one of them became our saviour when we got The Email, helping us not to ruin everything by sending a culturally-inappropriate reply. Mind you, the first sixteen bars of Ode to Joy played on repeat for the 40 minutes I waited in their corridor the other day, so apparently they aren’t quite perfect.
My perception of the Erasmus office.

Adversity: Something that crops up more often than is reasonable, but which is usually smaller from close to. An essential component in creating the invincible super-being I will be if I survive this year.

Le “Hand”: Otherwise known as Handball, this is something I very briefly considered taking up, until I discovered that the “beginners” class was not, in any sense, intended for my level of beginner-ship, and simultaneously remembered why I hate team sports. To my great embarrassment, I may have actually cried a little, due to too much pressure and being yelled at in a foreign language.

I was expecting to be told how to throw the ball, not how to do an inverted-funnelweb-spider formation (I may have taken a liberty with the name.)

Superbowl: Perhaps the only game for which the rules are more nonsensical than handball, this resembles a sort of interpretative dance created by people who’ve had sport explained to them but have never actually seen it. I watched about five minutes of it at a party, where I have to admit I enjoyed the pre-game meal a great deal more than the game itself…


La piscine Olympique: Somewhere I went for the first time last week. It’s very fancy, with jacuzzis and everything, and only 2.70€ to get in. However, it has three major downsides of being a) unfeasibly chilly, b) the home of the ridiculous compulsory swimming hat, and c) surrounded entirely by glass, which does not help the natural paranoia I feel due to a combination of being almost naked and not having my glasses on.

It turns out that glass walls + heating ≠ warmth

Orangina: Used to be one of my main sources of joy, until I accidentally sprayed an entire can of it over an unfortunate passenger when the tram I was on screeched to a halt.

Amazon France: Much the same as Amazon UK, except that they like to email me multiple times every time I buy something, e.g. an airbed, saying “you’ve recently bought this, would you like to buy another thing exactly the same?” Imagine if normal shops did this…

Assemblée genérale: I go to a lot of these now I’m involved in associations. During my choir’s committee elections, there were the same number of candidates as places. Of course, the vote occurred and was counted anyway…

Pedestrians: Although rarely malevolent, these docile, cow-like creatures are attracted to cycle paths like moths to a flame. This, combined with their inevitable headphones/texting/generic unawareness of surroundings, usually results in me having to swerve dramatically at the last minute like an enraged, foul-mouthed meteor.

Sometimes actual standoffs occur; I don’t know why it still surprises me that these moronic beings don’t realise it’s a fight nobody is going to win.
Betrand: Someone who I emailed about a one-line advert for a flat on le bon coin. I think he might have genuinely miss-spelled his own name, which may partially explain why he never got back to us.

That’s all for this fortnight (I’ve finally given up on doing this weekly, it was just never going to happen.) I don’t want to promise a less angry post next week, because seemingly that’s an excellent way of tempting fate. All I will say, therefore, is à bientôt. 

Bonus walking-group picture: A bridge which is not quite at right-angles to itself. Very odd, in much the same way as a badly made 3D film.
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