Vie [en]

Ce soir, le patriotisme s’écrit dans le ciel à  coups de feux d’artifice plus ou moins bruyants. Je n’ai jamais eu trop de goût ni pour le patriotisme ni pour les explosions sonores, mais j’aime bien les jolies lumières dans la nuit. Le balcon de mon frère offre une vue privilégiée sur le spectacle réjouissant de la transformation de l’argent des contribuables des communes voisines en nuages de fumée colorée.

Je suis rentrée chez moi à  pied. Ce chemin que j’ai fait maintes fois avec Cali ces derniers mois, je l’ai fait seule pour ce qui est peut-être la deuxième ou la troisième fois. C’est étrange de me retrouver dans ces lieux familiers sans elle. Elle était comme une extension de moi-même, que je guidais d’un mot ou d’un geste, qui connaissait mes promenades aussi bien que moi.

Comme toute absence, la sienne est pénible parce qu’elle touche ma vie quotidienne. Je dois me refaire à  tout. C’est étrange de quitter mon appartement sans Cali, sans pour autant devoir fermer la porte de ma chambre à  coucher, sous peine de trouver sur mon duvet l’empreinte encore chaude d’un corps de chien – chien qui bien entendu me regarderait la tête de côté, hausserait un sourcil avec un air de dire “qu’est-ce que t’as? regarde comme je suis restée sagement à  ma place pendant que tu étais loin!”

Mon appartement semble vide quand j’y rentre. Cali m’accueillait en remuant son arrière-train avec tant d’enthousiasme que cela lui valait souvent de s’étaler sur le parquet à  mes pieds, ne sachant plus où placer ses trois pattes pour garder son équilibre. Bagha bien sûr m’accueille aussi, mais on le sait bien, les chats sont plus discrets que les chiens dans ce genre d’exercice (et leur préoccupation première semble tout de même être le contenu de leur assiette).

Avec le temps, je vais m’habituer à  ce changement dans ma vie, re-baliser mon territoire en solitaire, retrouver un peu de liberté sacrifiée à  ma compagne de près d’une année. Et surtout, à  plus forte raison puisque ma meilleure amie s’y trouve à  présent, je vais retourner à  Birmingham cet automne.

Life without Cali [en]

Today is the night where patriotism is spellt with loud bangs and fire in the sky. I personally am not that enthusiastic about either the patriotism or the loud bangs, but I have to admit I appreciate the expensive fireworks which light up the sky.

I’ve just come home from my brother’s flat, whose balcony offers a splendid view of the neighbouring towns’ taxpayers’ money disappearing into a puff of smoke – though only after having offered a coloured show, and quite pleasing to the eye, too.

The reason this is notable enough to deserve mention in these pages is that today was my first day in Lausanne without Cali — and that during the last couple of months, I have walked back and forth numerous times with her between my brother’s flat and mine. It is so strange to be without her.

It’s strange to be home without her following me around or lurking in a corner. It’s strange to leave home “without the dog”, and not have to close the door to my bedroom (she’d take possession of my bed if I didn’t). It’s strange to arrive home without her greeting me. Bagha comes to greet me, of course, but we all know dogs are much more demonstrative than cats for this kind of thing. Cali, trying to make me believe I had been away for ever, would wag her tail with so much enthusiasm that her whole behind would sway to and fro, to the point where she would forget how to stay standing on my slippery wooden floor and end up on her belly, in my feet.

What makes her absence difficult is the way it impacts my life. It’s the same with any separation, by the way. All the places I would go to with her, all the things I used to do with her present, all our interactions, have all been chopped out of my life.

A dog, especially if well-trained and with a sweet character like Cali, becomes an extension of oneself. Cali knew my walks as well as I did; I could guide her with a word, a whistle or a sign of my hand. Everywhere I went, one of my eyes would be following her, and I would be giving out these little signals to her permanently. When I walk alone, it is no longer necessary. I don’t have to stop anymore before crossing roads to make her sit. No need to look out for nice green lawns she isn’t allowed on. No need to keep an eye open for the “dogs forbidden” signs.

These feelings will go away in a few weeks. I’ll get used to driving alone. I’ll get used to living with just Bagha. Of course, I’ll miss our walks around the university. I’ll miss encouraging her up the stairs, when she was tired or seemed to think it was a long way up (stairs aren’t easy when you have only one hind leg).

I’ll find a way to go to Birmingham in October. I will.

Life [en]

For any of you who were wondering, we made it home to Switzerland safely last night. Bagha was waiting for me, plump and hungry, and the temperature was so hot (even at 3:30 am!) that sleeping was near to impossible.

I’m deep in the Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and wondering how I managed to live so long without reading it.

Life [en]

I spent an hour or so chatting with the very nice couple who live just upstairs of me. They are going to “adopt” Bagha during my various trips this summer – which will not be a really big deal for him, as he already tends to “invade” their flat quite a lot.

Cali is getting ready for the big ride to the UK – she’s going back to live with Aleika, after having spent her quarantine time with me in Switzerland. I’ll miss her, but I’m also happy that she’ll be with Aleika again.

We’ll be driving there on Thursday, as the plane for Cali turned out to be prohibitely expensive (she has to travel as manifest freight to enter the UK).

I’ll be coming back to Switzerland around August 1, and leaving again – for India this time! – on the 13th (for six weeks). I’m starting to be excited about all this. After having Somak and Aleika on the phone last night, I realized how much I miss not having them around. I’m really looking forward to seeing them!

A day in my life [en]

Before going for my last French exam this afternoon, I half-heartedly revised a few texts in the company of an over-excited cat (hungry and kept inside so I could monitor his tummy troubles).

I arrived at university early. My pre-exam nightmares usually have to do with having forgotten to prepare for the exam, or turning up late. So I usually arrive rather in advance. I waited in the sofas of the French department for an hour, feeling adrenalin accumulate in my body and my heart rate going steadily up.

My teacher greeted me with a sly grin: “So, we’ve picked a difficult subject for you – because if we give you a normal one, you’re going to be bored during the preparation time…” I winced and groaned of course, but in the same time felt quite relieved. She wouldn’t be doing that if there was the slightest chance of me failing my exams – and she had most certainly already had a look at Monday’s written performance (which, of course, I wasn’t happy about at all, as always).

After eating out with my brother to rejoice about the “end” of my exams, I went to listen to Eve Angeli’s free concert near the lake. The supporting act was a very young girl, eleven or twelve years old, with a very beautiful voice. At the end of the show, I went to buy Eve Angeli’s CD (it was on my “to buy” list, anyway, and I’ve finished my exams, haven’t I?) and queued for an autograph.

I was really astonished at how aggressive some people can become for a name on a postcard or a CD. I waited patiently while the crowd around me got more and more compact, and ended up carrying the weight of a fair amount of people on my right side. One woman was encouraging her children to push and squeeze to get in front. I finally gave my bag and umbrella to the mother next to me while I kept an eye on her young daughter and she left the crowd which was becoming frankly oppressing.

I got my autograph rather easily, as it was on a CD. Young Joanna was not so lucky, and I found myself doing something that makes me want to shrink into the earth in embarrassment when I think of it now.

I noticed that one of the bodyguards had picked up a dropped poster and told the owner he would get it back after. My misinterpretation of the situation made a bright idea flash through my head. I grabbed my protégée‘s poster and prodded the bodyguard: “Er, could you get this signed for Joanna, please?” The look he gave me as he answered “no” made me want to vanish on the spot and wish I hadn’t opened my mouth. My only consolation is that I would never have made such an inconsiderate request for myself, or anybody else than the nine-year-old girl whose head barely made it above the safety barrier, and who was desperately clutching a poster of her idol as she was trying to make her voice heard above the din.

I took the bus home. I usually go around by car, but tonight was an exception. I used to take the bus a lot before going to India, and I hadn’t realized how estranged I had got from the public transport system in my own town. A year ago already, when I had just landed home after a year abroad, little plastic cards had made their appearance in people’s wallets. You could use them to pay at the ticket machine instead of cash.

So this evening, I learnt that ticket machines do not return change anymore. I learnt that bus drivers no longer can sell you a ticket if you do not have change for the machine. And I chatted with the bus driver all the way home. About his job, about India and the strange time that country lives in. About being on time and buying tickets before getting on the bus. About 40-hour train journeys. About getting chastized for being one minute late on his schedule.

I got off the bus, took off my chappal (indian sandals, made of leather, do not like pouring rain) and walked home barefoot, to be greeted by a phone call from my brother telling me that the long-awaited contract from orange had arrived in his mailbox. Good news!

Life [en]

I hope that finding a parking ticket under your wiper and cat poop in your bed the day before an exam means that you’re going to be lucky with the subject.

Mars and Venus [en]

After a long and fruitful phone call with my sister, we have reached the following conclusions:

  • we both are “John Grayish” in our way of viewing relationships
  • most women who think John Gray is a backwards machist keen on bringing relationships back to the previous century have enough anger stocked up against men to last them a rather long time; the same phenomenon can be observed for a certain type of “man-hating feminism”
  • most men who think John Gray is a brutish machist with no sensitivity have enough wagons of anger against women at their disposal to last them a rather long time; they also seem to have a healthy load of anger against men, too, and to have dismissed a good part of their masculinity
  • inspired by the previous observation, we notice that the women stated above tend to have a troubled relationship with their “inner woman”
  • all this brings us to believe that the healthy development of one’s inner man is dependant on one’s overall relationship with women, and vice-versa

The observations above are generalities based on our personal experience. There are (and will always be) exceptions. Please do not feel free to flame if you disagree.

; )

Life [en]

Here is some dull boring stuff if you are wondering why I am so

I’ve just finished preparing my last presentation which will take place
tomorrow morning, 8 am. During the last weeks, I’ve twice repeated the
feat of cramming a month’s worth exam preparation into four or five days.
Rather happy about myself, but there still is a little to do before next
Monday (written exam) and Wednesday (oral exam).

No, you don’t want to know what my subjects are. Please.

I guess I’ll catch up on online life a bit once I’m done with this big

Studies [en]

I found it somewhat heartening to learn that Steven Champeon, the venerable list mom of webdesign-L had a degree in philosophy and religious studies (I’m never sure what “religious studies” means abroad though – is it “theology” or “Religionswissenschaft”?)

When people who’ve met me through my activity online ask what I’m studying, probably expecting an answer like “computer science”, and then react with the “whee! religions and philosophy? that doesn’t have much to do with HTML and PHP, does it?” – I’ll be able to point and say “well, that’s what he studied too, look!”, and feel a little less alone in this soul-less and mechanized world.

; )