Saturday, 22 November 2008

Language and technolgy

Blog – Saturday 22 Nov

We are coming to the end of a notable week for us in which two very significant things have happened. First, we have finished our twelve weeks at language school and secondly, we have received our “Freebox” (more about that later).

I ended up in a very small class at Alliance Francaise, one of whom was studying for fun (he is the deputy editor of the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica), one (a Brazilian) who is needing to attain a certain level before she can apply to take a masters course in Paris next year and another (an Austrian) who wants to teach Political Science at a university in Istanbul. She’s studying French as she is going to do a PhD here. I asked her how many languages she speaks and, unbelievably, she replied: “I don’t know”! In the circumstances, I think I must have brought the average ability level in the class down to a more realistic level!

It has been a very helpful twelve weeks for us both. We only got a little wet cycling to and from college on one occasion which is amazing.

I have mentioned a number of times that we had been waiting and waiting for a telephone line in the flat. Well after nine weeks the company Free eventually sent us their Freebox in response to our application in September. We opened it with great enthusiasm on our return from college on Wednesday. What we found was just under half a kilometre of different wires and cables, two magic plugs and two magic boxes, one for the phone/internet and one for the TV and, worse still, an instructions booklet all in French. I mean, really! Stage one was marked “required time: two minutes”. After 18 minutes I still hadn’t even found the end of the appropriate cable. Things were looking grim. I found myself looking ahead through the booklet and calculating that, if things continued at this rate, it would take a fraction over thirteen years to be fully up and running. By the end of a most frustrating evening, the internet, however, was working with a cable (no wifi), although the TV and the phone were proving much more stubborn.

Miracles do happen and suddenly, overnight, the wifi system started working (and still is!!) and we found that we could get a completely blue screen on the Portuguese TV our gardienne had given us. Following a piece of inspiration we tried our UK TV which had only ever given us blur and fuzz here before. Yippee, it worked. The problem then was deciding which of the 423 channels we wanted to watch. Yemeni TV looks rather dull by the way.

The phone still does not work. Sometimes it turns itself off when you switch the wall lights on. All rather strange really.

We had an excellent day last Sunday with David Pike from Cardiff who came over with Hazel and a couple from his leadership team. He and Hazel brought some very encouraging words to us as a church and we had a good number of people present and a great time of worship. I think that was our “best” Sunday so far.

We have next weekend with David Stroud from ChristChurch London which we are really looking forward to and are trusting that it will be an extremely significant time for us and for the church.

We have another agape meal all together after our meeting tomorrow morning as we are trying to make the most of Sundays in terms of building community as it is not easy to get together much during the week on account of time and distance.

All for now


At 24 November 2008 at 11:46 , Blogger G & R said...

We absolutely love getting these bite sized chunks of "Christmas letter" style updates, and it's even better to hear how well things are going,
love to you both
Garry and Rochelle

At 25 November 2008 at 00:51 , Blogger Clare said...

Must be a relief to finally get internet at home- I'm guessing its a bit cold to sit on park benches and write now! Lovely to discover your blog- will reply properly to Gill's letter soon!
lots of Love Clare and Tim

At 26 November 2008 at 12:36 , Blogger Steve said...

Helen and I havn't laughed so much in ages, thank you so much for your detailed account of the arrival of the Freebox. Have you managed to get Isle of Man TV yet? Could be a little more interesting then Yemeni TV. Maybe not. Seriously, it's good to hear that you are on the blower now. Loads of love to you both. Steve and Helen.


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