18 March 2011

Cry and you shall receive

Tuesday afternoon was a disaster. Okay, in comparison to recent activity in Japan, this is nothing. But in the scope of my life, Tuesday was a disaster. While on my computer, I heard a startling crackling noise and then my mouse disappeared from the screen. I tried shutting my computer and saw no change when I opened it. So I forced my Mac to shut down and when it restarted, I got a lovely grey screen with the image of a folder and a flashing question mark. Damn. You know that external hard drive my dad bought me a few years ago? Haven't used it since college... I know better than this. Luckily, my roommate let me use her computer that evening and my research led me to believe that it was a hard disk problem. What to do next? 

Panic, of course! Without my computer, I'm literally cut off from everyone at home except my dad, who has a land line that I can call for free and the only phone number I have memorized. I called in tears panicking about not wanting to but a French computer, refusing to own a computer other than a Mac, and terrified about losing all the photos on my computer... I'm sure he loved the phone call. Crying, insane daughters who are across the planet probably aren't fun to deal with in the morning. 

So on Wednesday I got to FNAC at 14h30 and described to Yannick at the Services Après Vente desk what happened. After trying several combinations of restarting my computer and pressing certain keys, he was able to run a diagnostic on it and determined that it was definitely an irréparable hard disk malfunction. In the process of all this, his varied facial expressions triggered my easily-triggered tear ducts... (just tears this time, it wasn't my kind of crying where I can't breath or talk, thank god!) "Pourquoi tu pleures?," he asked me, to which I responded that I was worried about losing all my photos and documents. He said (jokingly) that he'd stop working on my computer if I didn't stop crying. Somehow that worked. He brought me into their back room where he tried to get my documents and photos off le disque dur... to no avail - yet. 

Long story short: I had to buy a new hard disk (69€) and I was the one who told him he could stop trying to revive what clearly was lost. I felt like I was pulling the plug on a dying family member. Understanding the sadness I felt, Yannick explained that he's on vacation until the end of the month but will see what other resources he can try so that we can get my photos and data (like my resumé). So I'm going in on the 30th with a little hope that all isn't lost. In terms of payment for his services, he said "I apologize but I have to charge you 15€ for my time. It's the least I can charge you without getting in trouble." It's important to note that he worked with me right until he got off work at 18h00. Then, he said "I don't have the right to but I'm going to install the operating system Snow Leopard because I hate to see such a pretty girl cry." (I had the older operating system, Tiger!) I finally left with what feels like a brand new computer at 18h30... a steal at only 84€. 

This year in France isn't about teaching or traveling at all... It's a test to see how well I can handle life as an adult. Lessons learned this round: 1) Back your computer up more than every few years 2) Being cute, nice, and crying can still get you somewhere, even as an adult (I swear I didn't exploit it)


Services Après Vente - Customer Service (literally translates to service after sale)
Irréparable - irreparable (see, French is easy!)
"Pourquoi tu pleures?" - "Why are you crying?"
Le disque dur - the hard disk 


  1. UGH that happened to me when I was studying in Sweden!! I also didn't have my files backed up... I lost so many pictures and documents! But I kept my hard drive so that some day in the future, when I have an extra thousand $$ to throw around, I can pay some computer nerd to run a search to see if they can get anything out of it. Yeah, that's the quotes I've gotten. If you find someone in France willing to do it for less, LET ME KNOW. I will fly there and eat crepes while they find my pictures!! :) My advice- time and chocolate will mend your broken heart over this. Mostly chocolate, since I'm still waiting on the time thing...

  2. Proud of you, Kelse! Hopefully you'll be able to get your pictures back! If not in France, maybe when you get back to the US.

  3. This is my nightmare. I'll be backing up my computer today.

  4. Hope is not lost! I've seen places in the US where they can do data retrieval from hard drives that are totally broken. It is quite expensive, but all is not lost! At least you had a nice, sympathetic person to help you :)

  5. Bonjour,
    Je suis française,je vis à Lille,j'ai pas mal voyagé et j'ai eu le même problème avec mon ordinateur. As-tu récupéré tes photos ? Je connais un informaticien (un ami) qui a été capable de récupérer les miennes.
    Si ça t'intéresses contacte moi :