Tag Archives: strike



Got up and went to my internship, where after finishing my translations I basically just observed what everybody was doing for 2 hours, then ate lunch with them for 2 hours. I should have asked for something to do, but whenever the director isn’t there I know they don’t actually have any work for me to do. Which is something that frustrates me about my stage, I don’t often feel useful. But, I was actually kinda glad to just watch people work, because it’s incredible interesting to just watch them mixing colors and matching the painting completely. Back in high school I had trouble making the color for my painting of a light cover, here they know exactly which color combination to use and how much, I only saw the wrong color appear once, and she just added some more white or something like that and it was perfect. Everyday I see somebody eat lunch from this restaurant called “Parce Que”. Originally I’d try and find “Parce Que” as an excuse to explore the area. However, after many weeks it continues to escape my notice, so I finally decided to just ask somebody where it was. Turns out it was hiding on a corner right down the street, where I hadn’t explored because I thought there were only businesses. “Parce Que” is a little shop where they sell healthy salads, sandwiches, pastas, and soup. The food’s really good, but it’s a little pricey for my tastes. However, I might just have to treat myself every once and a while. Back at l’Atelier, for lunch I just sat there looking pretty and not really talking to anyone, but at least I got to eat lunch with them for once. Silly artists with their lack of schedule.

After my grammar class, I headed home and met up with John who had returned from Switzerland. We had dinner with some foyer friends and then watched The Big Bang Theory chez Zipeng. Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time watching movies or tv shows, but weirdly enough it’s through sitting around watching television that you can sometimes have the coolest conversations. Like after watching show, we got to have an actual conversation about what Zipeng wants to do with his life and all that, I miss actual conversations. After that, I had to be a lousy friend and work on my rapport du stage and call it a night.


Got up at walked with John to my stage, where I left him to use the MacDonalds wifi and wander around on his own before he left Paris after lunch to return to good ol Scotland. The students had finally returned from vacation, so I got to sit in on the Art History class again. I missed having the students at my stage sooo much. Not that I actually talk a lot with them, but they’re all really nice, the classes are really interesting, and there’s just so much more activity with them around. In class, we moved on to Italy, where we talked about art in the 14th and 15h centuries (pre-renaissance),with painters such as Trecento, Giotto, and Lorenzo Monaco. Don’t you just love those names? After class I grabbed some pasta from “Parce Que” with a strawberry something dessert. Turns out my pasta came with marinara sauce, which was heavenly since I have not eaten nearly enough Italian meals since coming here, and the dessert was basically the cool whip dip my mom makes with I believe some strawberry yogurt and jello, a very welcome reminder of home. I started eating with the students, but because the other class ran late, I had to move downstairs before their afternoon class started. I kinda awkwardly joined in with the actual workers. They all seem to be in a set group, so I just listened and enjoyed hearing french for an hour. In my grammar class, we learned how to use “Les pronouns neutres: le, y, en” which is basically another way to say “it”, one of the most important words in any language in my opinion. After class I headed to IFE for a make-up class with Marie since we didn’t have class on Monday. We learned about the differences between formal, normal, and informal ways of speaking. We got to watch this amazing comedian do a sketch making fun of teens today and how they pay too much attention to technology and use too many acronyms and all that. (Here’s a link of the first part of the sketch for any frenchies out there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XekUOqjq-lE) I love any chance I get to find little tidbits of French culture, especially since it’s so often hidden by all the Americanisms. After class, Eliza and I ate some wonderful Kebab and then headed to the Halloween Spooky Story event at the foyer. We were a tad too tired to get the full spooky effect, but after our friend explained what was going on later, we were sufficiently creeped out.


Worked on translating the website for my stage. Staring at a computer for almost four hours straight wasn’t the smartest thing to do. But since I don’t need a smoke break, I didn’t really think about stopping to stretch my legs of anything like that. It’s one of those American habits that’s really hard to get rid of. I misjudged when everybody was going to eat lunch, and ended up just heading out on my own because… No Grammar class today! My prof had a meeting, so I got to start my weekend early, a much needed break. I decided to use my extra time to check out an apartment the family might be staying in for Christmas (turns out its on a normal side-street, nothing special but nothing sketch) and to get some homework done. Then I went for a walk with a friend (we were going to try out the Velibs, but then realized that my American Credit Card wouldn’t work with the machine), had dinner, and then went to bed at 8:30. That’s right, 8:30, I didn’t actually fall asleep until 10:30 but it was still marvelous, I love living here but boy is it tiring, it was so nice to just lay in bed and let my eyes relax.


I woke up later than I wanted, 9:30ish. I was still tired which just shows how much this city can take out of you, but I guess the same thing happens in college, no matter what I am really looking forward to next weekend. I tried to get myself motivated and working in my room, but new I couldn’t get anything really done unless I went to a library. So, Eliza and I decided to head to the 15th Arrondissement to scope out the only French public library open on Sunday! Turns out it’s beautiful, almost like Goucher’s library but probably not as green and possibly a little smaller. Of course all the tables were taken, so we somehow ended up sitting in the children’s section where it progressively got louder as the night went on. The library was a great place to get work done, only there are absolutely no plugs, so I was a little limited with how much time I could spend on my computer. I guess no plugs is the catch for freewifi. But, when my computer died I just took more notes, and when I couldn’t stand that anymore, I just went exploring and took out the French version of Spanish for Dummies. I’ve decided that while I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life, I want to speak multiple languages. I don’t have to be fluent but it’s gotta be more than French. And, since Goucher hasn’t been much help in that area, I need to take the initiative and start learning on my own. Hopefully I’ll find some local classes at a library or something for next semester, and maybe take some at a community college this summer back home, but either way I figure if I read the book at least the words will look more familiar to me. After the library, I had dinner with Emily, a Goucherite who’s currently during the program I’ll be doing next semester. We ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant by her foyer in the 15th Arrondissement, where I finally got to have some good Italian spaghetti, oh how I’ve missed you pasta. Emily lives in an all girls foyer, so I wasn’t able to see her room because they’re not allowed visitors, but I was able to see the common area and kitchen. It was huge and in good condition and all that, but everybody was in their own little group. At my foyer it’s hard to just hide in the corner, everybody hangs out together. I’m really glad I chose a co-ed foyer, I’ve met so many people just by hanging out in the common room and the whole foyer itself seems geared more towards meeting people. Emily said her foyer barely has events, and they don’t have a restaurant. My foyer has multiple events every week, and since most people eat in the restaurant, you always know there’s an easy way to meet people. After dinner, I headed back to my lovely foyer where I watched Man Vs Wild with the group. I never would have chosen to watch Bear Grylls trying to survive, doesn’t really sound that interesting, but I still had a fun time, and the episode was in Florida so we got to discuss how Eliza has alligators in her neighborhood and stuff. Important cultural knowledge.


I woke up later than I wanted, again. Got my laundry done, art some lunch, and headed to the library. I got there exactly when it opened, at 1 o’clock, was all ready to get working after lugging my laptop all over the metro when…. Guess what, library’s closed because of the strike! So, I trekked back to the foyer, and got to work in the common room. I’ve gotten a bit of work done, but I’m still really annoyed that I didn’t get to use the library. There’s something about a library atmosphere that actually makes me work. Here, well, I’m blogging aren’t I. Not exactly a productive environment. But, I’ll get all my work done, no worries.

Hope everybody had a wonderful weekend!

Bonne journée!


9/9/2010 6:51 PM

I’ve been really bad about updates. Partly because I had a bad day and wanted to reflect before I posted anything, and partly because yesterday was pretty good and I just felt like going to bed instead of updating.

So, here’s the going ons.

Tuesday: Got my results for the Sorbonne course. I’m still not completely clear about my feelings on the results. I’m in the intermediate level, all the other people in my group are advanced. I’ve been in average courses all my life, so it’s not the level that bugs me so much as for once I wanted to be challenged. Also, I’ve been doing well at Goucher, like the other people in my group. I shouldn’t have gotten an A in a 300 level French class if I’m in an intermediate level. So, I’m annoyed that I apparently didn’t do well on the test, and I’m annoyed about the whole system of French learning.

But now that I’m in the class I like the people. (Also, my friends in the advanced class say that it’s really easy too, so maybe the whole Sorbonne system is easy) And I really like the phonetics class. I’m finally learning how to speak French!

Tuesday was also my first French strike. Very important moment in my life. J

The metro was insane. It worked but there were a lot less trains, so each train was completely packed, there was a line just to get into the waiting area for the train. Then once you got there, there was only room for one person to squeeze onto each car. It was very crazy and stressful, but everybody was nice about it.

Wednesday: Had class with Marie in the morning. I was excited because it was on French food, and we went to one of the oldest markets in Paris. But, most of the stalls weren’t really open, and the class wasn’t that interesting. But it’s good to know where the market is. Then we hurried to our first phonetics class, which consists of “repeat after me” and “so what would you do in this case.” Which I really like because I can finally focus on how I’m speaking French and the reasons behind it. Then we ran to our Grammar class, we only have half an hour between classes and we have to take the metro to get there. I like that we’re learning grammar that I never learned properly, but since it’s all technically review it can be annoying. However, I like my classmates and my prof (Anne-Sophie), so it’s all good.

I also met another American through my class, Lauren, so we’ve been hanging out a bit and it’s really nice to branch out beyond Goucher and the Foyer.

Wednesday night was really fun, I got to relax with friends and have lots of good food and tea (if you’re reading this THANK YOU BERT!). I think the end of the day, hanging out at the foyer, is one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s the only time I can really relax and not worry about that fact that my French is nowhere near perfect. Like, last night, we ended up doing some Karate just for the heck of it. So, it wasn’t “Jen trying to socialize in French” it was just a bunch of friends having a good time, which is something I really miss.

Thursday: Had class with Marie at IFE, where we discussed French politics, which is not more interesting in another language. I don’t think I’ll ever like politics, no matter what language it’s in. Then we ran to buy lunch, ran to the metro, got to class on time, and learned about when to use liaisons in French (such as saying un autre amie as u-nau-tra-mi, or something like that). Then got back on the metro to my grammar class, where I learned how to make phrases starting with Ce qui, Ce que, Ce don’t, et Ce a quoi. This was all review except for Ce a quoi. Then I tried to find a notebook and binder so I can start organizing all the papers I’ve gotten. Turns out notebooks and binders in France are very different. Instead of just being lines a lot of the notebooks are like graph paper, and the size of the paper is different. And then they have binders like at home, but most of them don’t have pockets or are made out of different materials. I know it’s just paper, but I wish I had brought more 5 star notebooks. Also, pens are more expensive, or at least the good ones that I like are. You can still buy a pack of really cheap ones. I bought some supplies since I know I just need to get use to the French way, I also found a cheap copy of Frankenstein in French :-D, so now I finally have something to read besides tamora peirce and Fanfiction.

Then I headed home, had dinner with Eliza and my British neighbor, and now I’m here “doing my homework.”

So, I’ll try to be better at updating, especially since we have a special excursion this weekend, but until then.

Bonne Soiree!