Daily Archives: 30 October 2010

Very busy and good week

I can’t believe how behind I’ve gotten with my blog posts. I’ll try and remember everything that happened, but as usual it’s never a good thing when I forget to update my blog.

Sunday

I forget what I did during the day, but I spent the night watching Love Actually dubbed in French with the group. It’s amazing how many people you can fit into those tiny rooms. 🙂

Monday

Had my stage in the morning. It’s vacation week, or possibly two weeks I’m not sure, for the students. So, it was eerily quiet with only 4 or 5 of us there. I worked on translating titles of a book about restoration into French. Then I went to my grammar class, and then Marie’s class. We worked on vowels I think… The “ou” sound is still impossible for me to do, but thanks to Marie I did it correctly once, which means it’s possible, just very very hard. Oh, we also worked on the Nasal sounds and how to tell the difference between them. Then I headed back for some diner au foyer. Afterwords, Eliza and I tried to figure out what to do with our lives and ended up just getting completely sidetracked. I’ve reached the point where I can’t keep going through my education with no goal other than to speak French. It’s not enough. You can get away with that a bit in the US, but I want to work in France after school, and they know what they want to do in High School and generally stick to it. It’s not exactly professional of me to go around saying “I have no clue what I want to do” and the longer I take to figure it out, the longer it takes until I actually get to do what I want to do. Silly American education system…

Tuesday

Very very crazy day. Started out by getting up early, taking my sweet time getting ready, and then realizing that I had to make it not the 20 minute walk to IFE, but the 30-40 minute metro ride across town. My Paris-France-Paris class was out in one of the banlieus and I had completely forgotten. Luckily, we made it to the train station before our train left, and if we had made it early we would have just been sitting around waiting for it to leave. We spent the day walking around the Cité-Jardin of Suresnes. A cité-jardin is basically a village built to house workers. The unique thing about it is, for the first time they didn’t just build housing, but schools, a dance hall, retirement home, and parks as well. The buildings were considered very modern and luxurious at the time, but the rent was reasonable so that workers could live there. Unfortunately, the Cité-Jardin of Suresnes is now a wealthy neighborhood, and most workers have to live in the crowded banlieus. But the idea was revolutionary and worked until the housing turned private. If only things like that happened more often.

After walking around for three hours, we trekked back to Saint-Michel where I grabbed some chevre pizza and headed to my grammar class. My grammar class continues to bug me because nobody really respects the professor or the class, and a lot of the homework is basically busy work. But, we also do Dictées (professor dictates part of a text and we have to write it out using correct grammar, agreement, and spelling) and other stuff that a French geek like me considers fun. 🙂 After class, it was time to run to IFE for another Paris-France-Paris class. Because our professor was sick one day, we decided the best way to make it up was to have some night classes. Good idea, but 4 hours of the same professor in one day is kinda rough. Especially this Tuesday because at night we had our first test! And what was it on? Everything! It was essay format and we basically had to write out everything we could remember and then try and prove some kind of point with it. Luckily, we all finished the test on time, and I was all ready to make it back to the foyer in time for dinner and relax with friends when our professor decides to finally explain what we need to do for our presentations. Not only did this take another half hour, but it stressed me out even more because it turns out my presentation has to be the most complicated 15 minutes I have ever heard of. Once we finally escaped, Eliza and I took the bus back to the foyer, bought some chicken from the Muslim boucher down the street so we didn’t have to cook, scrounged up some salad from the supermarket to at least try and be healthy, got all our supplies into the common room, were about to sit down and eat, annddd the fire alarm goes off. Everyone in the building has to evacuate and walk down the street, leaving out meal sitting on the table untouched. Once we got the word that we could return to the foyer, we all headed back inside and were corralled into the common room, where we were given a speech about fire safety. Very informative and good stuff, they even smoked up one of the side rooms so we could see how quickly the danger spreads, however this was around 9:30, and I was very hungry. Once that ended Eliza and I were finally able to eat our dinner, which thankfully was very very good. 🙂 We got to end the day by talking to friends and relaxing, but it was still by far my longest day in Paris. I just couldn’t catch a break.

Wednesday

Had my stage in the morning, where I had a meeting with the director and the head of my program to discuss how my stage is going so far. Basically, all seems well except I of course don’t talk enough :-). One frustrating point, the head of my program, Thomas, always stresses how we should try and eat lunch with the workers at our stage. Which I’m all for, but it’s always very hard because everybody eats late and a random times. Thomas asked the director about lunch at my stage, and she said that I’m welcome to eat with them and they always eat around 1. I thought, sweet, I’ve finally figured it out, I can start eating with them and practice more French and it’ll be good. However, that day nobody at at 1, the majority of the group left around 12, 1230 mysteriously, not to go buy lunch, and didn’t return until after I left at 1:30. So, to future GPPers, if you get frustrated by your stage, we’ve all been though it. Stages aren’t always the perfect experience where you become besties with your boss and have a job lined up for the future. A lot of the time they’re confusing and random, but as long as you get something out of the experience, it’s all good. And remember, always talk to the IFE group if you have any problems, they really are incredibly nice and there to help you with any problems.

After my stage I headed to grammar class and the back to the foyer for dinner. I honestly can’t remember if anything interesting happened that night.. Gotta work on that memory of mine.

Thursday

Went to my stage in the morning, where I translated a blurb about the Atlelier into English and a pamphlet about the Atelier into English. After that I headed to my Grammar class and then back to the foyer. For dinner, it was “Jazz night” with a New Orleans theme. Now, this doesn’t mean we had real Cajun food, but it does mean that we had a candlelight edible dinner with music. Very classy for the foyer. And it was the first time I cleaned my plate at a foyer dinner. My tummy was very happy. 🙂 After dinner, there was a live Jazz band in the common room. The music was good, but it felt a little off for us Americans since the french woman who was singing didn’t know how to move like most Jazz singers would. As much as she tried, she couldn’t get passed this all angles, barely moving French stereotype. But she had a very good voice. Then I had a wonderful skype session with the goucherites instead of doing my homework and went to bed. I still find it hard to balance keeping in touch with friends (which helps keep me sane), hanging out with foyer people (which keeps me happy), and all the things I have to do for my program (which keeps me graduating on time).

Friday

Another crazy day, but in a very good way. Started with my stage, which was incredibly empty since almost everybody is on vacation. I continued translating, but just spent most of the time being frustrated as I watched a very typical French workplace, they just sat and gossiped and smoked cigarettes until noon, while I actually did my work because I wanted to leave early. I know the concept behind how the French work, and it makes sense and everything, but it’s really hard to change my work habits and how I think. But, I got to leave early and run some errands, finally finding nuts in the grocery store, had to look next to the wine and party supplies, and buying stamps for all the birthday cards that are now a month behind. As I got in the metro to head to class, I could hear the cries of strikers heading to the manifestation and music from the guy who always plays bob marley songs in the metro, and it just hit me really hard that I’m really in France, I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it was just one of those moments. In my grammar class, we worked on using “en” to replace words with “de” and how to make the sentence flow instead of sounding incredibly awkward. After class I headed to a library to try and get some research done for my exposé. The french libraries are good and all, but they kinda remind me of the southington library before they renovated it. I checked out two books about Belleville and then headed home. There was a workshop going on to learn Japanese cooking, but I decided to head to an Italian restaurant with some friends instead. It turned out to be more a pizzaria than an Italian restaurant, but the food was still really good, and the company too. Afterwords, I chilled with some friends in the common room, and we somehow ended up watching The Patriot. I spent half the film trying to explain who the colonists were and why the british we attacking. Then I hung out with some Goucherites visiting Eliza and called it a night. All in all a very good night.

Saturday

I can’t believe I finally caught up to today, but here it is. So far, I woke up, did laundry, researched what libraries I should go to, and wrote this. It’s very frustrating because the libraries I need are closed Sunday and Monday. So I either go today, or rush there after class during the week. At this point, I think I’ll choose the later because I’m really tired and should probably look through the books I have now before getting more.

Tonight, my Goucher friend John is coming to visit from Scotland. But
I don’t actually know what time he’ll get here because the strikes have completely screwed up transportation.

Anyway, hope everybody has a wonderful weekend and a happy Halloween!

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