Monthly Archives: September 2010

Abba dans le métro

Yesterday

Spent the morning à mon stage, mostly I observed the others as they worked. But I also got to help pass out papers for one of the classes, wrap 3 paintings up for transport (you put the bubble wrap on the outside, don’t want polka dotted paintings!), and put a painting on a machine which basically temporarily saran wraps it, then heats it up for a while. This squishes any peeling corners, and since you put glue there first, it drys it. Voila, pretty painting.

Then I headed to phonetics where we worked on the Nasal vowels, tricky little buggers. In my grammar class we worked on more opposition phrases and some other stuff I can’t remember.

Then I headed home, had dinner with Julia and Gregoire, and headed to a play with the Americans. We basically looked through Pariscope (a 40 centime book that lists all the plays in Paris for the week), looked at all the plays for 10 euros or less, and picked one that sounded good. We ended up seeing Nono, thinking it would be a romantic comedy. Turns out it was written in 1905, or something like that. So, it was a bit tricky to understand and the jokes that I could understand weren’t that great. Also, the last time I saw a play, somebody led us to our seats. So, when a lady went to do it this time I figured it was normal. Turns out this time we had to tip her, and she was very upfront about it, refusing to give us back our tickets until we tipped her. Next time, I’ll just find my seat on my own thank you very much. But, overall it was a good time and I definitely want to continue our weekly cheap plays, I gotta take advantage of the -26 discount while I can. 🙂

Today

I spent my stage by sitting in on an art history class. I’m a little confused by the pace of the class. I thought since the class lasts all year it would be very slow, but we went through two centuries today. I guess since the class is only once a week for two hours they have to move fast.

I was taking the metro to Raspail as usual, and somehow ended up going up a different staircase to switch lines. All the sudden I heard a pan flute, it took me a moment but all the sudden I realized he was playing Chiquitita from Mammamia, in the metro! There’s always pan flute players in the metro, selling CDs or just asking for money. However, not only was this one good, but he was playing Abba! Only in France can you walk through the metro and randomly hear Abba on a pan flute. It made my day, and makes me happy just thinking about it now.

In phonetics we worked on the difference between words like “bon” (nasal) and “bonne” (normal, and for us anglophones it’s important to remember to say bon-nuh, at least that’s how I think of it. In my grammaire class we went over verbs like mener/amener/ramener/emmener/apporter/rapporter/emporter and had mini debates in order to use specific phrases which basically mean “It is important to ……., but this is my opinion….”.

Then I headed home, did my laundry, had dinner, and did my homework. Now I’m headed for bed very early, because I’m starting to get headaches along with being tired throughout the day. Socializing all the time is catching up with me, and I need to sleep.

Bonne nuit!

Oggafloggafleegafloggaishkanishkanogganoggaoggafloggafleegafloggabbiiirrrdddyyy

Don’t worry, that title doesn’t mean anything in any language. It’s just the only thing I could say in English that Yoann didn’t understand. Which just proves even further how incredible France is at teaching English. Why was I born in the US?????

Today started by waking up wake and rushing to Theirry’s class, which was hard since I wasn’t really looking forward the class. The Paris-France-Paris class is a history class far too early in the morning. Luckily I got lots of sleep last night, so I only yawned for half the class. We talked about Hotel de Ville and how it was reconstructed in the Renaissance style, and then we went there and saw the real thing.

After that I had my phonetics class, where we worked on the Nasal vowels. I had no idea there were three of them. But, I feel like I should be able to get the hang of them soon, unlike that silly U and R.

In my grammaire class we worked on making phrases with oppositions, and all the different forms of that. And then we discussed TV. I really like when we finish the class with discussions or debates. It lets me relax and try out new forms, with the teacher there to correct and help me.

After class I headed home and took a nap. Then I headed to dinner. Got to talk about TV and films with the crew, try and understand the guys talking about pretty girls from different countries, might have been good that I didn’t understand all of that, and practiced English with Zipeng.

I thought I was going to do Capoeira tonight, but my friend bailed on me, and I didn’t really really feel like doing it, especially alone. So, I didn’t do it, and it ended up not even happening because nobody wanted to do it. O well, it was good while it lasted.

And that was my O So Exciting day.

I’ve decided to go on a facebook hiatus. I’m only letting myself go on facebook during the weekend. Lately, I’ve spent way to much time on facebook talking with my friends. And while it’s great to keep in touch with everyone, it’d be better if I used that time to finish my homework, sleep, or hang out with some Frenchies downstairs.

But, we’ll see if I can actually stay off facebook for more than a day. 🙂

Alors, bonne soirée!

Louvring it

I’ve been horrible at updating my blog this week. So, I’ll try to remember everything that went on since my last update.

Wednesday I went to my internship (which in French is called un stage, so if I slip that’s why). The director was there so she actually gave me stuff to do. We cleaned out the classroom because classes will be starting this week and they needed somewhere for the professors to put their things. So I cleaned out cabinets and ran up and down the stairs with bags of garbage. She started adding paintings, photos, and drawings to the pile so I asked her if she really wanted to throw out the paintings, because they were beautiful. She said yes, but if I wanted to take some I could. So, I wound up with 2 paintings, 2 drawings, some watercolors, and a bunch of random photos. I put them up in my room and it finally feels like home, which is funny because I don’t exactly have oil paintings in my room at home. Guess it’s just the parisienne influence. After the massive clean out I took the subway, with all the paintings, to my class. Surprisingly nobody looked at me funny for carrying a pile of paintings in the subway. Maybe they made me look more artsy and parisienne :-P.  We continued to work on vowels in my phonetics class and the subjonctif in my grammaire class. Once classes were finished I headed to the foyer to eat dinner before going out for a play. During dinner I talked to one of my Frenchie friends about smoking. He said he had his first cigarette at 12, smoked occasionally at 13, and actually started smoking for real at 15. And he knows people who started at 8. It’s crazy. Anyway, that night I went to see the play “A deux lits du delit” with Lauren and Erin, friends from my Sorbonne class. It turned out to cost only 4 euros, although we could only see half the stage since we were in the cheap seats. It was a very funny play about 2 men who go to a hotel to meet their mistresses, who turn out to be the other man’s wife. I didn’t get all the jokes, but I understood the majority of it. We’re going to try and make Wednesday night play night, because it’s easy to get cheap tickets as young students in Paris.

Thursday I spent my internship scanning papers into the computer. Also, I got to help make some sort of resin for “fixing the paintings.” No clue what I actually did but it was cool. I left mon stage a little early since, guess what, another strike! Go France! This time it didn’t really affect my time in the metro at all, it was mostly on the outskirts of paris and RER lines. But, since I walk to the Bastille metro I got to see some of the manifestation, which basically consisted of a bunch of giant balloons which some name on it I didn’t recognize, and a bunch of people trying to hand out fliers or sell me stuff. So, I got to class fine and honestly can’t remember exactly what we learned Thursday. We might have started talking about questions and cinema in my Grammaire class. Thursday night we couldn’t eat at the foyer restaurant because of the strike, so one of the foyer boys was kind enough to cook for Eliza and me. We had something which involved putting slices of bread with ham, mozzarella cheese, chevre (i think) and tomatoes on it in the oven. It was really really good and filling. Then I just hung out with the foyer guys and did my homework.

Friday I spent the time at mon stage starting to translate the website. The girl before me did most of the work, but there’s still a lot to finish, and it’s tricky because there’s all the complicated art terms. It’s fun though because I really have to think about what I’m doing.  Then I headed to my class, again no problem with the strike even though it was still going on. In my phonetics class we continued with vowels, which are really tough for me. You have to think about where you put your tongue, when open your mouth, and where your lips should be. And it can change three times in one word, but you can’t talk all sing songy like we do in the US. In my grammaire class we continued to work on questions and discussed films. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be going to see one of the films we talked about for class. After class I went to a cafe to catch up with the GPPers and Jessica, and then rushed back to the foyer only to discover that the restaurant was closed because of the strike, so we ate kebabs instead. Then I rushed to the Louvre to meet up with Lauren and Erin because on Friday nights the Louvre is free to almost everyone, unless your old and not european. It was cool to just wander around with no worries even if it was only for half an hour.

Saturday, I woke up and headed to Cyberphone to buy some more minutes. The more people I meet the faster I use up my minutes. But at the same time I don’t want to not send texts because it’s really cool and important to text in French. Then I headed to the foyer brunch. I got there late so I didn’t really eat to much. But, apparently the French eat pancakes with caramel. It wasn’t bad but it just didn’t feel right. I had planned on going shopping and seeing a movie, but my friend bailed on me. So, I ended up playing pingpong most of the day and then going out dancing with the crew. We went out to a bar, which was nice because it meant an earlier night since the bar closed early.  I love dancing, but the bar was a little too crowded, so I honestly had a better time just walking back to the foyer afterword. We missed the metro, so it was a 40 minute walk or something like that. It’s nice just to talk to people and relax.

Sunday

My friend bailed on my again for the movies. So, thankfully Eliza was incredibly nice and went with me. We saw “Des Hommes et Des Dieux” which is about 7 monks who stayed in Algeria during the war. It was good but it was really heavy and deep. I think seeing it once was enough.

Today, because this post took about 4 days to finish, I started my stage by sitting in on part of the first class. Basically all the students introduced themselves, the heads of the atelier introduced themselves, and they said all the rules of l’atelier. After that the directrice showed me a painting that still had paper stuck to it from the packaging they put on it for transport. It was stuck to the border, and she had me make a solution to help take it off, and then use it on the painting and  peal the paper off. I’m not sure if that made any sense, but I was working on an actual painting, moving it around and everything and it was awesome.

Then I headed to my phonetics class and worked on open vowels, not fun. I love my phonetics class, but it makes me really mad that we didn’t do any exercises like this in High School or College. It feels like I didn’t really start learning French until now, and now I’m really behind. It’s not actually true, it’s just frustrating.

In my grammar class we worked on how to make phrases comparing things. Like, compared to his brother, paul is short. Which was kind of boring until we used it to have a very very animated conversation about whether TV is good or not. It was the first time we actually stayed in class to long, so hopefully we’ll do activities like that more often.

Then I headed to class with Marie at IFE. She started teaching us phonetics, which was good and confusing because she teaches it a little different than my prof at the Sorbonne. We had some fun doing French tongue twisters and just trying to pronounce these crazy French vowels.

For dinner at the foyer I ate tater tots and carrots because the meat did not look good today. It might be a bad habit to start skipping the meat, but I’d rather stick with my ham or chicken sandwiches at lunch and skip mystery fish for dinner.  I sat with the normal crew, and we had a heated discussion about films which was awesome. And then we got on the topic of pronunciation. I love when people correct my French because I want to speak well, but I’m so frustrated about all the different U forms. I wish I could magically wake up with the ability to say Cours correctly.

Now I’m exhausted for some reason. I think I’m just going to go to bed even though it’s only 10:20.

Bonne nuit!  Sorry if this post was written randomly or poorly, it took a couple days to finish.

Smexy is the new sexy.

9/22/2010 12:04 AM Some things just never change, like the fact that I really need sleep to function properly. I got around six hours of sleep last night, which isn’t ideal but I’ve done it before plenty of times. However, this morning I had to force my eyes to stay open, which caused my Prof to look at me very very funny, and made for an interesting three hours. So, I’m starting to figure out how I’m going to manage my sleep vs the night life of the foyer. Naps before dinner seem to be the key right now, although that also means I’ve had pillow marks on my face all week during dinner, but I think it’s worth it.

Because of my lack of sleep I didn’t really retain much until after dinner. I know that in Theirry’s class we talked about the division of the city again, and then walked to the Bastille, and to the metro to Republique and Nation to see those monuments. I like the monument at Nation the best because it’s more active and unique. It’s also mostly bronze which I find prettier than stone. Also, note to Lake Compounce workers, apparently the “international crossing sign” is also the “international sign for justice” because it’s on the monument at Nation representing Justice.

After that I had my phonetics class. It’s still the perfect amount of challenging and I’m really sad that’s it’s already almost done. I’m also getting better at noticing just how important the slight differences are. In my grammaire class we worked on subjonctif again, and then did a fun activity of trying to find all the things ending with N in a Christmas picture. It was just a silly activity, but it made me happy how many things we could find, and how creative we got.

After that I headed home to take a beautiful nap. But before that I checked my mail and found a package and a letter! Made my day! Thank you Brianna! Thank you family! Now I have a couple things from home to hang around my room and help with the never ending quest to make my room the opposite of a hotel. Eliza woke me up around 7:30 and we headed to dinner with the gang. Today we discussed the difference between Sexy and Smexy, and what silly bands are. Apparently silly bands haven’t crossed the pond yet. I hope I don’t start a trend *twitch* but one of my friends did request some, so if anyone has some extra dinosaurs around their wrist I would be forever grateful if it was slipped in a letter or something.

After dinner I did some Capoeira again. This time it was just four of us, including my pal Gregoire. It’s so hard but so much fun. I’ve honestly never seen or done anything like it. Today we worked on incorporating cartwheels into the fight. I’ve never been able to do a cartwheel, but it was really cool all the same. Then I headed upstairs, took a shower, did my homework, and here I am.

So, overall good evening, but I need to remember to sleep more. Just because it’s 6pm back home doesn’t mean I can stay up late here. 🙂 Bonne nuit

J’ai un Frigo, with strange frozen things living inside it.

I woke up this morning and headed to the first day of my internship. I made sure to get there early, and look nice and pretty and all that. It turns out though, that it’s pretty laid back except it’s all really chic women, who gossip while they work. Basically I went in, met Marine, who must be high up in the hierarchy because she told me what to do and had the key. She gave me the tour, which consisted of one room and telling me that the upstairs and downstairs existed. We had coffee (me tea), they had a smoke (could not for the life of me figure out the other woman’s name), and then they figured out an estimate for their latest client. It was cool watching them be so comfortable touching and working on the paintings. I even got to pick one up because they needed to take a picture and it was too big for one person to move, (whoohoo, I touched a painting that was probably centuries old or something! I know the other one in the set was 19th century, so who knows).  Then they kept talking, and more and more women kept appearing, and pretty soon I was sitting in a corner reading a book about art restoration while they all worked and gossiped.

Then, around 12:30 I headed out for my classes.

Phonetics is still my favorite class, but it is definitely a challenge. Right now were working on the difference between words like tu and deux. Which I thought was going to be really simple, but when you day a sentence where the vowels switch back and forth every other word, it’s quite a work out.

In my grammaire class we continued to work on the Subjonctif. It’s annoying because I already know it, but practice is always good and I should enjoy the calm before the storm.

Then I bought some falafel, my favorite treat here, and headed to IFE for Marie’s class. She taught us what we would need to do for our final paper. It has to be 15 pages about our internship. She gave us a very structured format so it shouldn’t be too tricky.

Luckily class finished early so I rushed back home for dinner. I ate with Eliza, Zi-peng, Yoann, Julia, Gabriel, Peter, et Gregoire. We tend to always sit with them, which I wouldn’t mind because they’re all really really cool and funny. Like today we taught each other weird phrases in our native languages. Such as Calm down and Simmer down, a way to say “I don’t care” in French that I forget but it involved an onion, and I believe how to say I’m lying in Chinese.

Apres ca, I ran up to my room to wait for Oscar to deliver my Frigo. He was kind enough to get some of his friends to bring it up to me room, so I didn’t life a finger. The fridge itself is a little messy, there’s some sort of pasta like substance in the freezer that won’t come out, but I didn’t have to do a thing, and I think it’ll work really well for my nine months. Also, it’s big enough that I can let other people leave some stuff, so now we can stop buying sandwiches all the time.

Right now I need to go finish my homework so I can fall asleep and dream of the ice cream I’m going to buy tomorrow and put in my noodley freezer. 🙂

After

Mains d’Œuvres

As part of my study abroad program, each of us is required to take classes at the Sorbonne and do a mini-internship (petit stage). Eliza’s internship is at this awesome cultural center called Mains d’œuvres. This weekend is les jours de patrimoine, so not only are all the monuments, museums, and various government buildings open, but random places throughout France also have open houses. So, today I went to the open house for Mains d’oeuvres.

I spent most of my morning procrastinating and trying to find someone to go with. However, everybody either had homework to do, or just wasn’t available. Eventually I decided, hey this is something I really want to do, and that I needed to go even if it was just by myself. I got into the elevator and decided to check Eliza’s room just to make sure she hadn’t gotten back yet and the open house was still going on. As the door opened to Eliza’s floor, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a frenchie! Turns out one of my friends was heading out for a walk. I invited him to join me and ended up having a great time just talking about all the differences between French and American culture. It also helped because when we got to the center he understood all the thick French accents.

The center was amazing. We started by walking through a modern art exposition. I haven’t read the explanation yet, but it seemed to be about America in some way. It was creepy, but in a good way. Like, there was a video of a mouth moving, and in the mouth there were various things that I forget, money, buildings, stuff like that. Then, BAM, Michael Jackson!

Then saw this exposition where I think they were describing how they make educational toys.

After that we ended up in a room for an automatic writing workshop, where you just write whatever you think of without reflecting. It was fun to do, except it wasn’t really automatic for me since I wanted to write in French and ya gotta think to write  in French. Then they had everybody read theirs and comment on it. I couldn’t understand a thing, and I really didn’t want to read mine. So I awkwardly said “je… ne… veux… pas… le… lire…? de..solée?” and then we shuffled out of there. I felt really awkward, but at the same time I really liked the exercise, so I might do it again just for the heck of it. Without worrying about the real poets sitting right next to me.

Mains d’oeuvres is really cool, and I’m kinda thinking of asking for an internship at a center like that next semester. First I want to see how my internship goes tomorrow though.

Note: I know I said I would never ever not in a billion-kajillion years use twitter, buuuuuttt I made an account. I’m using it because I don’t always have time or the need to write a full blog post. But sometimes there are just little phrases or things that I need to say. So, if you look to your right, there is a spot for my twitter posts on this blog. Such as the most recent one, which was on my friends t-shirt. Fumer tue, peter pue = smoking kills, farting smells. Very distinguished french eh?

FFFRRRIIIIIGGGGOOOOO

I basically spent my Saturday in my room being a bum after the big night out.

My big accomplishment for Saturday was that I found a Fridge! There’s a bulletin board in the foyer where people can leave notices like “need a babysitter” or “selling my tv”, and recently somebody put up “Frigo, 80 euros, 1.4 meters”. So, I knocked on the guys door, checked out the fridge, and he said he’d sell it to me. He even said he’d get some friends to help bring it to my room :-D. Also, one of the best parts if that it’s not just a fridge, but it also has a freezer!

For dinner Eliza and I decided to explore and see what we could find. We ended up at Café Leopard by the Charonne metro stop. It had these amazing burgers, which was exactly what I needed after all the french sandwiches I’ve been eating. The only weird thing was they put “cheddar” cheese on every burger, even if there was already another cheese. And the cheddar cheese here is really nasty american cheese.

After that Eliza, Rabi, and I attempted to meet up with Lauren and some friends. We ended up in an Irish pub by Saint-Michel. Everything was overpriced because it’s Saint Michel, but it was nice to meet Lauren’s roommates and just hang out.

So, that was my Saturday.

I’M GETTING A FRIDGE!