Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


A cell phone story

Cell 1 Samsung slideUntil recently, this Samsung E370 (right) was my phone. I bought it in December 2006 for 166€, which my Spanish and Catalan friends thought was an extraordinary sum. I know this because their general response was, “Pero, ¿eres una idiota?” I had researched for several weeks and thought it was a pretty good deal. The phone was unlocked so I could use it in any country I traveled to and it wasn’t under contract to any carrier so I could just add credit when I needed and not sign my soul over to the phone company.

In the end, it was an incredibly good investment. I used this phone in three countries over six years at a cost of 27,66€ a year (2,30€ a month) which is a price that can’t be beat.

But all good things come to an end. After those many years of use, the keys weren’t as responsive as they once had been, the sound quality had fallen from very good to garbled on the best days and voice mails were completely unintelligible. And the truth is, I wanted to have a more advanced calculator in my pocket because, and I cannot stress this enough, I am super bad at number things.

cell iphoneSo I got an iPhone 4 from a friend who upgraded to the 5 the week it came out. It took me a while to find a cell phone shop in Paris where I felt comfortable (many of them are really shady) and that would unlock the phone for a reasonable price. (It’s technically illegal to do so, but just go up and down Boulevard Voltaire and you’ll find a place.)

Shortly thereafter, my mother got a couple Samsungs in a promotional offer run by the newspaper she reads, so she sent me one.

cell samsung

My wallpaper is from here

After a few months of using both, I have to say that I basically hate the iPhone and can’t really figure out what people like about them. And I’m a person who’s been “a Mac” for over 15 years. As fellow globetrotters/expats, I’m posing the question to you all: what do you like about the iPhone? Have you tried other phones?

Learn something

In English, a phone that is not tied to a specific phone company is unlocked. In Spanish, it’s liberado [liberated] and in French, it’s désimbloque [unblocked SIM]. Of the three ways to express the same idea, I like the Spanish best because I anthropomorphize everything and I like the idea of a phone being all, “I’m free at last!

Next Week

I’m gonna spin you right round, baby, right round! Like a record baby… but in French!

And it’s Daylight Savings in Europe tomorrow (Saturday), so don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed!


Loot 4: This Time, It’s Personal

After the nightmare that was just getting this damn box into my grubby little paws, here’s what I’ve got to show for it

Loot 4

8 kiwis grown by my mom’s neighbor in Spain (??)
6 dish sponges from Mercadona (amazing Spanish grocery store)
2 bottles proteina de seda (I think this is glycerin in English)
2 bottles aceite de almendras (another moisturizer)
1 Samsung Galaxy Mini 2
1 case for Samsung Galaxy Mini 2
1 pack sticky-tabs (skinny Post-Its)
1 pack assorted sticky notes
1 French crossword book (which I will not be able to do)
assorted newspaper clippings and articles
safety pins

Here’s what the contents of this package reveal about me:

  • I take cleaning so seriously that I import my dish sponges. (They really are THE BEST I’ve ever used.)
  • I also take my moisturizing seriously.
  • I believe that you can never have enough big safety pins.
  • My mother (apparently) loves locally grown fruit a lot.
  • My mother never met a newspaper she couldn’t turn into clippings to send to her children.