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Folle!

Post number 100! Whoohoo!

100 posts in 6 months, I’m pretty impressed with myself since all my childhood journals had the same entry, “Maybe this time I’ll actually keep writing….”

Keeping the blog going has been easier than I thought it would. Partly because I’m so happy here and I know I’ll forget things if I don’t write them down, it’s just how my brain works. And partly because I know my mom (Salut mommy!) and some other relatives read the blog, and I love being able to keep in touch with them, even if it’s in our funky 21st century way. Whether any future study abroaders have looked at the blog (another reason I thought of starting it), I have no clue, but you never know.

This week has been insane, and it’s not slowing down. Monday I had mon stage in the morning, where we continued to clean and clean for the inauguration, and carry lots of supplies all over the building, almost ran out of space. After that I had my class at IFE where we learned about Greece and the EU during a presentation and I believe the institutions… I’ve discovered I’ve had enough of the EU and need to find some way to keep myself interested in this class, we’ll see how that goes.

Tuesday went by fast. In the morning we cleaned all the paint stains of the floor in the exposition. After that we went over the exposition a bit as a group, got dressed in our Keith Haring gear, and got to work. I spent my night surveilling the artwork (Ne touchez pas s’il vous plait, c’est les vrais oeuvres, tres fragile, merci) and cleaning wine glasses, I believe we went through 40 sum odd bottles. All in all, opening night was a great success and I was exhausted by the time I got home.

Today, I woke up and headed up north to the Prefecture de la Police to renew my visa, which thanks to slowpoke bureaucracy and forms is expired (btws, legal to stay in france with an expired visa for 2 months). I got there a half hour early, went though security, and got my number. Everything moved pretty fast, the lady was nice, everything was well until, dun dun dun, I didn’t have my numero d’agreement! What is that? No clue! And whatever it is, IFE doesn’t have it. So, I get to go back on friday and give them a very pretty letter from IFE explaining that we don’t have said numero but here is all the information you could possibly need. I was just a tad bit frustrated after going up north, missing work for the morning, and not getting what I needed, so I grabbed some MacDo and headed to the museum. There I got to observe one of the visits while guarding the artwork, a new task now that there’s real art work at stake. It was interesting to watch since we really are in the process of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Keeping the kids from touching the work was a whole other story. They understand that paintings are not to be touched, that’s easy basic knowledge. However, there’s a kids size yellow race car which just calls to them. You can see it in their eyes, every kid who passes wants to touch it, heck I want to, it’s freaking cool. It’s really tricky to figure out which kid will just be tempted and which kid will actually act on it. I’m hoping we put up some actual barriers, because it sucks to keep a kid at a distance and have to act like the security guard with everybody who comes in. After work, I attempted to do some shopping because during the beautiful 18 degree C weather we had today, I realize that jeans and a pea-coat aren’t going to be comfortable for long on the metro. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck, but hopefully more skirts will be out before the real heat waves. Tonight, one of our Goucher friends came for a visit, so Zipeng cooked us all a big dinner. It was nice to catch up, and just not eat cantine food.

Post 100, fini, je doit dormir. But I’ll leave you with a very important video for learning French.

or alternatively, because I am a vrai connecticutian

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Oh Jeudi

Today was exhausting, but not because I did all that much. I finally figured out when I need to leave for my stage, which means unless my hours change I can wake up later. Today was the first day I didn’t observe any visits, but instead helped with workshops, the parent workshop, translations, and busywork such as putting labels on the invitations for the opening.

The parent workshop was really interesting because I got to practice my French with real “adults” who see my experience from a much more mature angle. They we’re making little pastries, and luckily I got to eat whatever they didn’t use. I think I’ll try to help out with this workshop more often.

The busywork was actually interesting because I got to see the invitations for the new exhibit and I got to see everyone who’s invited. There’s a lot of invites who surely won’t come, but they’re sent out anyway just because. It felt fun putting Carla Bruni’s address on the envelope, and discovering that Nickelodeon has at least two offices in France.

After work I went to Centre Pompidou to see the Mondrian exhibit with some of the other interns. It was really cool to see how his work progressed throughout the years, but everyone agreed that two hours of basic colors and lines is a lot. But it gave us plenty of time to talk about N’importe quoi.

After that I took the metro home, stopped at my favorite Kebab place, and flopped into bed. Good night everyone.

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.

Fatigué

I haven’t been getting enough sleep the last couple days, and it’s finally caught up to me. But even though I was sleepy all day today, it was still a really cool day.

We started class at 9h30 with Jerome. He’s a really good teacher because everything he said was interesting. He talked about art, culture, and politics. It was cool because he connected a bunch of things I had learned about but never fully understood. I felt bad because I kept yawning even though I was really interested in the subject. But I found out there’s black tea at IFE, so next time I’ll be prepared.

Then we ate lunch in a park, tried to buy navigos, and I took a nap.

Then at 15h30, we headed to the Senat with IFE.

The Senat is really cool because its full of art, history, and shiney things (aka gold and mirrors).

Because the tour guide decided we were a smart group of kids, he got us into the actual Senat chamber thingy. It was B-E-A-utiful. We got to sit where all the senators sit, in these really comfy red velvet chairs. Then after he explained how all the politics work there, he let us take photos in the ministers chair. So basically, I sat where the second most powerful man in the French government sits. Tres chouette.

I might have gotten some of those facts and names wrong, but I’ve never been good with politics or vocab, the main idea is that it was really really cool.

After that I took the metro back to the foyer, bought un sandwhich and un eclair chocolate, got on the internet, and here I am.

Seems to me like a good time for bed… Je suis vraiment fatigué 🙂

Bisous