Tag Archives: belleville

Presque le weekend

Today I did a little bit of everything, watched a visit, helped with busy work, translations, watched ateliers, and helped prepare supplies for next week. I didn’t spend as much time forcing myself to interact with the kids, but I still tried to do little things like asking them if they had fun while helping them wash their hands and stuff. Which was nice because I had less awkward moments and the kids still opened up.

I was a little thrown off during one of the last ateliers. I was helping with the clean up at the end when a little girl comes up to give me a thank you bisous. I was completely shocked, I’ve never bisoused a kid before and I’ve never thought of a bisous as anything other than hello or goodbye. It was the cutest thing in the world, but the poor girl had to wait a few seconds for me to register what was going on. So, update on bisouses: Bisouses can be used in place of thank you hugs for kids, it’s still awkward when people bisous you and in the process give you a new layer of foundation, and I’m finally getting used to initiating the bisous, sometimes.

After work I headed out to meet some friends for dinner in Belleville. It ended up being me, an Italian, and a Chinese; so it was really interesting to compare our countries and try to explain health insurance. We had all the differences covered on that subject, in Italy there’s no need because everyone’s covers and in China no ones covered and it’s just barely starting to exist.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to my stage because they asked for a hand since there’s going to be trop de monde au musée. It’ll give me a little bit of pocket-money, but I mostly agreed just for another chance to hear French all day and interact. Hopefully I won’t be too exhausted next week though. Luckily nothing’s open on Sunday so I can sleep in all day long and not feel like I’m missing anything.

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Don’t let the rain come down

I’m very glad that today is a national holiday, because not only did I finally get to sleep in, but now I get to write about my wonderful week. 🙂

Monday, I got to sit in on the wonderful restoration class at my stage, where we learned about “Oil painting technique from the 15th to the 18th centuries”. It’s possibly my favorite class because I always learn something new, and how many people really get to learn about art restoration? It’s also the only class where I generally take over 4 pages of notes, who wants to forget all the cool information and the fun facts like “If you wanted to buy one of Ruebens paintings, you could either pay an arm and a leg for a Ruebens by Ruebens, or pay less for a painting done by Ruebens and one of his students signed by Ruebens, or pay less for a painting done by a student, in the style of Ruebens”. The amazingness of Monday started during the “tea break” in the middle of class, when I got to talk to one of the students. All we talked about was how I was silly to doodle on my notes and where I’m from, but I actually got to practice my french! Then, after class I was asked by another student my opinion on “What’s happening to Obama right now”. I had to show that I’m a typical American and haven’t really paid attention and don’t really have an opinion, but it was really cool to finally be asked about that, because it’s a common question that most of the GPPers hear. Then I bought a nice cheap lunch of a supermarket sandwich with Nutella snack packs, and ate with the students. I had to leave before I was really finished, so I headed downstairs and got to eat with the actual restorers. I finally had a lunch where not only did I get to listen to French, but I got to participate a little in the conversation. After mon stage, I headed to my grammar class where we learned about common phrases using “en”. Then I had class with Marie at IFE where we learned about “Les Consonnes”, when to pronounce certain letters at the ends of words, and, finally, after 8 years of French, when to pronounce the “s” at the end of “plus”. I still don’t completely understand it, but I can finally stop making the common mistake of saying the “s” in “ne…plus”. We managed to have dinner at the foyer, and then Eliza and I worked on our exposés until late at night, when we went to a get together for one of our friend’s birthdays, and then headed to bed.

Tuesday

I woke up early so that I could put the finishing touches on my exposé, make sure it was in French and all that. Then I headed over to Belleville for class with Thierry. The idea was to walk around Belleville, learning the history of the area while looking at where it all actually took place. However, the rain just refused to stop, so we ended up spending class by sitting in a café and taking notes, walking around, finding another café, walking around, and then finding another café. It was a little ridiculous, except I got some free hot chocolate and pastries because of it, thank you Thierry! In the end I had to do my exposé in a café, which was a little awkward, but it would have probably been more awkward sitting in a park like I think Thierry had originally planned. In the end, I got a good grade but Thierry said I would have done much better if I had organized it the French way. Which, is to have an intro and conclusion, and before each section list out what you’re going to say. Basically, be extremely repetitive. We finished early because of the rain, so I headed to the foyer to do everything I didn’t have time to do while working on my exposé and just relax before class. In grammar class, we learned about the futur tense and how to conjugate it. I was suppose to have a make up class for Thierry in the evening, but he canceled it, so I headed home to get ready for the big night of….. Rabi’s birthday!

Rabi was our first friend in France, during Ramadan he fed us dinner, we’ve had parties up in his room, he’s just awesome so we knew we had to do something for his birthday. At first, we just figured we’d bake him brownies or something like that, but eventually it evolved to playing some sort of practical joke on him. We decided that since we always make such a big deal about his awesome afro, we’d all surprise him by wearing afro wigs ourselves. So, after dinner we made the brownies (very hard because not only did we have to switch the measurements, but we couldn’t find any brown sugar at the supermarket) (also, fyi the french do not differentiate between cookies, brownies, and cakes), and got everybody together. He was suppose to come around 11:00, so around then we all put on our wigs and hung around the common room playing games (we taught everyone how to play BS) and taking incredibly silly photos.  By twelve, we were all debating the best way to get him back to the foyer before it got to late when, guess who wandered in, Rabi! He was completely shocked and had no clue what was going on at first. We sung happy and just hung out and it was awesome. Basically, extreme birthday success! Joyeux Anniversaire encore Bert!

Wednesday

Went to my stage expecting to just work on translating the website all morning, only to discover that it was a special class on the  “materials of retouching”. So, I got to sit in on a class taught by the director, talk to some people, and eat lunch with everybody, where I learned important things like how Nutella is actually from Italy. Go Italians! Afterwords I headed to grammar class where I learned when to use the Futur Proche and when to use the Futur Simple, tricky business but it makes more sense now. Then I headed home expecting to just take a nap, eat dinner, and fall asleep early. Instead, I ended up going to a play (a futuristic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, very strange, even to the Frenchies) and eating dinner with the group. It’s funny, back in the U.S., I really don’t care about meals. I tend to eat alone and then actually go do something, the meal is just a necessary waste of time before the event. Here, the meal is the event, it’s where I socialize with people and really get to know everyone. Maybe it’s just because the food’s better lol.

Today

I got to sleep in this morning because…. National Holiday! So, after finally catching up on my sleep a bit, I headed to see a film with some friends. We were going to see Buried with Ryan Renolyds, but we ended up getting there to late, so we saw “L’homme qui voulait vivre sa vie” with Romain Duris as the star actor of course! It was a…. strange.. movie. It took a while to actually reach the plot, and then anytime anything happened, they’d basically just flip over the story to make it work. (Spoiler alert) Like, ok he accidentally killed a guy, so he’s going to fake his own death and take the other guys identity, and his life turns out great, until he has to meet someone who knew the guy before, so he fakes his death again and heads to Venezuela, but the ship is attacked! So he gets thrown off the boat with proof of the attack, gives the proof to someone else who becomes famous and walks off into the distance! Basically, the film was very french and very heavy, I walked away with a weird feeling that I’ve only just gotten rid of by watching big bang theory with Zipeng. As awesome as Romain Duris is, I would not recommend that film. We had a very diverse group movie taste wise, and none of us really had anything to say about it.

So, that was my super-awesome week! Which I guess technically isn’t over yet, but since I’m only going to my stage tomorrow morning and don’t have class, I’m saying the weekend has started.

I may have seen a really weird film and play, but this week was still incredible because I simultaneously had the awesome feeling of finishing my exposé and the incredible feeling of hanging out with friends. Success, I am ready for this weekend. 🙂

Hope everyone had a happy Veterans day! Bonne soirée!

Promod et Pimkie :-)

Right now I’m sitting in my room staring out the window, watching the end of my first Parisien thunderstorm, from my 8th story window. It wasn’t the best storm I’ve ever seen, no where close those Fire Island winds. But watching the lightning shoot across the sky behind the rooftops with smoke billowing out of old fashion chimneys, it just feels pretty darn poetic.

Yesterday I worked on translating the titles of a book about different approaches to retouching paintings. It’s a lot easier than the last book I translated because it’s not some British guy trying to sound all intelligent. The authors are pretty to the point, and don’t add unneeded info to the titles. I worked late because I have an impossible time figuring out the lunch schedule at mon stage. Then I bought a salad and headed over to Saint Michel. I ate in the park, including a wonderful nutella crepe for dessert, finished my homework, and headed to Grammar class. We worked on plus-que-parfait and did a dictée. It’s weird but I love dictées, they’re like a puzzle that involves my favorite thing, French. I don’t know if that makes sense, it’s just my perfect kind of challenge.

After class I did some shopping with Lauren. We headed to Promod and Pimkie where I bought a sweater, a longsleeve shirt, and a pancho. So far my favorite cheap stores in Paris are Promod and Mim, although Pimkie is awesome too. Tati is pretty poor quality, you get what you pay for.

Then I headed back to the foyer for some dinner. Fun fact, apparently the French do science experiments in class just like we do, except they dissect cow’s hearts.

We tried to get a group together, but the foyer was pretty empty. The group ended up going to a café while I had second dinner with Eliza at the Kebab place. So, altogether not an uber exciting Friday night, but I had fun and that’s all that matters.

Today

Woke up a little later than I wanted. I needed to do some research for an exposé (presentation) I have to do on Immigration to Belleville, and the libraries in the area were all open 10-4 Saturday, closed Sunday, so I had planned to wake up early and use all of the little time available. I went to Bibliothèque Couronnes because it has a specialty of “Afrique noire et monde arabe” and it’s also in the Belleville area. I don’t think I actually taped into the specialty at all, because in the history-France-Paris section there were some books on Belleville. They actually had at least one book on every district, just something general, and then some more specialized books on Belleville.  I took a bunch of notes, but none of the books really gave me any reason to check them out. Which was annoying because I needed to check something out so I could show Theirry my library card come Tuesday. He’s always telling us to do stuff and then gets really sad when we don’t go to the museum or take the velib, so now finally I can show him I did something! It was really easy to get the library card. At first they were a little confused at my CT state drivers license, but once they got all my info they didn’t seem to care. I did have to explain that my name was “Jennifer” and now “Jennifer L” and that my birthday is the 11th of April and not the 4th of November.  So now I have access to all the Paris libraries, except certain specialized ones, and I think I can print some things out, but I have to read up on how that works. Also, I signed up for their mailing list so I’m excited to get so info on the local going-ons. After I finished up at the library, I bought some lunch at a local sandwich shop. It was a lot cheaper than even around me, it’s amazing how things change district to district. Also, the lady was really nice, which just my day that much more awesome. Later, I went with Julia to visit Eliza at her stage. The exposition was cool, but a bit too high modern art even for me. Some things just didn’t feel like real art, although others I just wanted to stare at for a while. After that Julia and I tried to do some shopping, but we were in a little too expensive of a district, so we headed home.

For dinner I went out with the group to a Chinese restaurant. I tried to get fried rice and failed, I’m not sure if it exists here because I even asked my Chinese friend to make sure I was ordering the right thing. But it was good anyway, although I miss being able to take food home, it would have made a good lunch for tomorrow. During dinner I got to fulfill a very bizarre lifelong (well, since survivor was around) dream of mine. I ate blood. Pigs blood I believe, processed like tofu into a little rectangle. Funny thing is, it kinda tasted like American cheese, no real taste but just a little something funky there.

After dinner we got back on the metro to go see the movie “The Social Network”. Along the way, I learned that we say masks very funny, and crisps as well, but nobody in the US actually says that. Mask-s. Once we got to the movie theater, I realized that I had no cash and my silly American credit card wouldn’t work with the machine. Basically anytime I have to stick my credit card into something instead of sliding it, it doesn’t work. Luckily Akrame saved me, so I was able to see the film.  The film had subtitles, which normally would bug me, but I don’t really care enough about a facebook movie to translate anything, so it was nice to hear English instead. It was an interesting story, but something you could wait to see. And yes, I agree with the general public, Justin Timberlake can act. After the film we headed home and that’s where I am now. 🙂

I think I just watered down a pretty awesome day. It was my first day where not only did I get multiple things done, but I ate 3 good meals and had dinner with people. Also, I didn’t speak any English at all, except maybe three words to Zipeng and of course repeating “masks”, “crisps”, and “nerd” for the frenchies. Je suis heurese. 😀