Saturday, July 23, 2005

Living in an IKEA: I want a Burrito!

I put a counter on my blog last night! There will be no prize for the 100th visiter (except maybe a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride).

I am living in a house for Danish students, academic researchers, professeurs and their families. I am the only American. No, I don't speak Danish, but there is no need as all of them speak English and most of them speak French.
The house was built in the twenties in the Danish Modern style. Everything is Danish blue. My furniture all serves more than one purpose and is either on wheels and/or collapsible and very...well, Danish.

I have my own sink (which is hidden inside a tiny closet-type room), but share a WC and showers with the rest of the people on my floor. They are co-ed. Now, in theory, I have no problem with this. And even if I did, the toilet and shower stalls are all very modest. However, the first time I took a shower, I realized just how deeply ingrained I am with the North American idea that men and women should not share facilities. I was showering and heard someone come in. This was not strange, but then: a cough, a manly cough (yes, I am aware of how stupid that sounds). There was a man showering in the stall next to me. I could see his feet! I then looked up to make sure the sky hadn't begun to fall and down to avoid any fissures opening into hell. The world was not coming to an end, but what a strange sensation it was. It shouldn't have been. It shouldn't have been anything at all noteworthy, but for about one minute, I felt a bit out of place; panicking that I had gone into the wrong shower room, ect. One of the many cultural differences between Scandinavia and the US.

Since I arrived last May, there have been very few things I miss about the States. Actually, I am doing okay without everything, everything except Mexican food. You cannot find decent Mexican food here, at all. I am fine without bleach in my laundry detergent (I'm a bit of a germ freak), I can do without my car (although I do miss 'White Lightning' [a 1993 Pontiac Grand Am!), I don't need access to the grocery store 24/7, nor do I desperatley need a television or radio (I've got Wi-Fi in my room). But I do miss authentic tortilla chips, arroz con pollo and flan (well, the French have flan, but it's just not the same).

Now, there are a few Mexican establishments that I patronize at home, and I am not really a fan of any of the chains (although props to Chevy's mango salsa and steak quesedillas [I have no idea how to spell that). But, I would settle for greasy, reheated tacos from Taco Bell at this point, I have been to a couple Mexican food restaurants in Paris (no, not TEX-MEX), restaurants off the beaten-- filled with locals, who claim to be authentic, but in reality are just overpriced and disappointing.

Mexico has a house down the street with the same concept as mine. I wonder if I can get someone to make me a meal-- maybe if I promise them hard, manual labor for less-than-ethical-standard wages, ignore them and/or make jokes about how dirty they are-- then, we'll both feel at home (oh, wait, I guess that would only work for the Mexicans from the U.S. Nevermind).

And speaking of famous South American revolutionaries:

Every tourist stand, kiosk and boutique in this town is selling Che Guevera merchadise. Normally, the famous T-shirt we've all seen, but with "Paris" scrawled across it, or some idiotic tag line on it. Why? Anyone? Did he spend some time in France? Does he have some kind of cultural significance unique to France? Paris? Or, are these venders simply capitalizing on his now, very recognizable face? They do, afterall, sell 'Paris' thong underwear, novelty Penis cigarette lighters (everyone is getting one as a souvenir), and anything else you could never want.

So, in looking for an IKEA picture for this post, I ran across the following photos. Kinda funny.

Also, I am pretty sure this is photo shop, but so funny.

(In the best Stewie voice I can muster)
"Yes, yes, that's very original. Taking a photo and changing it to look like someone else as a joke. Oh, yes. That's very clever. Ha. Ha."

Okay, I miss "The Family Guy," too.


Post a Comment

<< Home