Week 13 (27 March–2 April 2023)
Spring! Weather here is getting reliably warmer (no more random sub-zero nights), beautiful white flowers of almost and plum trees (I think I mentioned these already?)
Lots of things happened last week, but first, a personal announcement:
This is the end, this is the beginning
It's official: I've decided to leave my job at SumUp (might share extra thoughts on this later). It's been a great ride over the last 4 years, but I'm also looking forward to the end of it! After my last day in May, I won't start another job (perks of (fin)tech) but will instead spend the next few months tending the garden (what a cliché), climbing hiking swimming, reading writing photographing, and trying to revive my sourdough starter1 (another cliché).
And after that: the Second Big Trip is finally due! For French speakers or fearless users of Google Translate among you, C and I will pick up our blog Eau de poisson for a long-awaited season 22.
Ardèche to Berlin to Sicily
Before all of that! C and I are traveling to Berlin in late May for a week, and then we'll take a few trains across Europe down to Sicily, where we'll spend a couple weeks with I and B from Switzerland.
Berlin: can't wait to boulder at BK, see a movie at Il Kino, cycle through Tempelhof, drink wine at La Vineria, eat a pain au chocolat and an almond croissant and two cannelés at La Maison, and SEE FRIENDS!
Sicily: completely new for me! I've never been south of Rome in Italy. I hear the food is good and so is the wine. We'll probably do some variation on the typical road-trip-around-the-island thing: send recs!
Bouldering, bouldering, lead climbing
- bouldering at the gym on Tuesday
- bouldering at the gym on Wednesday
- skipped Friday
- ...because on Sunday, we went lead climbing outdoors for the very first time!
We met people from the club at Mazet including F, our climbing instructor. He demonstrated how to se vacher at un relais (I'm won't even try to translate these), and everyone just ran off lead climbing while he was running up and down the wall (literally) to check if we were all tying knots properly.
It was super fun, I liked it even more than my first outdoor top-rope climb last month (think I also liked the Mazet crag better than Chaulet), it was easier than I thought (already knew how to lead climb and lead belay from indoor training, simply hadn't learned how to se vacher at un relais) and I want to do it again very very soon. I also had a completely unexpected fall on a slab (foot slipped), my worst fear, but C caught the fall perfectly, I landed feet against the wall a few meters down, and made it back to the ground with only a scratch.
I already have projects at Mazet (Complot de famille, 6A+, failed my lead attempt but climbed it top-rope) and can't wait to also discover other crags in the area!
Things I've been procrastinating and that I finally did
- I sent a lot of printed pages to the French Assurance Maladie to try to get my insurance sorted out!
- Since March 2019 I'd been maintaining a self-hosted Mattermost instance with exactly 7 users (4 MAUs if you really want to know). I don't like servers much, and even less when they're actually EC2 instances on AWS, so each upgrade was a pain, for few benefits (privacy was the main driver initially, plus channels are great, but not worth 20 EUR/mo and a headache every 3-6 months). So I backed up everything, shut it all down, and moved (back) to Telegram, where privacy isn't the worst and where channels are now a thing in groups (they call it "topics"). Satisfying.
...and a couple that I haven't procrastinated but that finally happened and that seem relevant in this section:
- After many letters and many 4-, or 5-, or 6-digit passcodes, I finally, finally have access to my bank account with La Banque Postale!
- C and I settled on a car! After we drove around visiting used car dealers a couple weeks ago, we made a spreadsheet, added a bunch of cars, tried to rank them using criteria we understood (car trunk size, not engine type) and called dealers for a shortlist of cars. In the end a single car stood out, a red Kia Rio that we took out for a test drive last week and decided to get.
Just the one classic this week (watched without C):
...and a couple of shorts (watched with C):
- Amélie: the real story (2023) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Yup, this is the real Amélie (2001) director twisting his original story to reinvent Amélie a KGB spy. Worth 6 minutes of your time: the short streams on YouTube.
- Thanh Công Village, Thanh Công Neighbourhood (2004) by Phan Thi Vàng Anh
We went back to the library on the weekend! This means a graphic novel refill. I've already finished:
- L'aimant by Lucas Harari, magical realism mystery in the Swiss Alps, classic Hergé-style ligne claire drawings but unique red-and-blue coloring
- Juliette: les fantômes reviennent au printemps by Camille Jourdy. The author might be from Geneva? I've read one of her early comics that were printed by a tiny tinyscreen printingg press at La Jonction. This was a much more developed story, about family and depression and love and and... a "slice of life" as they say. Tasty
- Sur les ailes du monde: Audubon by Fabien Grolleau and Jérémie Royer. Historical fiction based on the life of John James Audubon, an early 19th century naturalist and ornithologist who wrote and illustrated one of the first books about the birds of America. A story of passion and dedication bordering on obsession.
Not a lot of progress on my Camus in the meantime. it's pretty cold in here (16 degrees in the living room as I'm writing this at past midnight I need to go to bed), and my sourdough starter is not happy about it. Found an awesome-sounding tip on THE French-language reference blog about fermentation3: put the sourdough jar on top of the WiFi box for a bit of heat. I'll report back next week. ↩ season 1 was, of course, Southeast Asia 2017-2018. Whatever ended up on the blog since then is the Christmas Special. ↩ you just gotta love that French-language fermentation blogs are written by older ladies called names like Maria-Claire Frédéric, it's so much more trustworthy than hipster blogs or hipster company blogs or the like4. ↩ look at that, footnotes in footnotes! ↩
it's pretty cold in here (16 degrees in the living room as I'm writing this at past midnight I need to go to bed), and my sourdough starter is not happy about it. Found an awesome-sounding tip on THE French-language reference blog about fermentation3: put the sourdough jar on top of the WiFi box for a bit of heat. I'll report back next week. ↩
season 1 was, of course, Southeast Asia 2017-2018. Whatever ended up on the blog since then is the Christmas Special. ↩
you just gotta love that French-language fermentation blogs are written by older ladies called names like Maria-Claire Frédéric, it's so much more trustworthy than hipster blogs or hipster company blogs or the like4. ↩
look at that, footnotes in footnotes! ↩