Thursday, October 2, 2008

Week 4??

Hey everybody!
Sorry for being lame and not writing for a while. I came down with a nasty sinus infection last weekend. Normally I'm not the type of person to get sick very often but they warned us about this... all the germs of traveling. But whatever I'm on some strong antibiotics and there are way too many cool things to be doing to waste time being sick.
So last weekend was a little of a bust. Friday, afternoon Genna and I went to a BEAUTIFUL park in the ritzy/traditional wing of my arrondissement. It's called Le Parc Monceau. We wandered around for a good part of the afternoon, then returned to my apartment to dine with Brigitte. I really lucked out with the host family situation. Brigitte is charming and just mothering enough to make me feel looked after in the good way. Well anyways we had a long dinner together - it's so much easier to have an engaging conversation with another student there. Because if there's something I don't understand, or that I'm not sure how to form a response to, the other person usually can and vic versa. It has more flow.
After dinner we met up with a group of friends in the Oberkampf (lin 9). There are awesome bars/restaurants/clubs on that street if you walk down far enough - around the 60-200s. We found a great little spot and celebrated our friend Cody's 21st. But the night was very very young. We had long since planned to go to an Irish Pub to watch the debate that night - which unfortunately didn't air in France until THREE AM!! Of course we missed the last metro (which conveniently stop between 2 and 5:30 in the morning) which led to another adventure altogether involving the noctilien (french bus system that runs all night but rather haphazardly) and A LOT of walking. It was absolutely beautiful though. Who can say they strolled along the Seine, the entire length of the Louvre and through the Tuleries at three in the morning? It was eerily beautiful - so calm and deserted and yet you couldn't help but think of how those same streets filled up with people
from all over the world - just to see them - in the day time. The debate itself was a disappointing. But I'll leave politics aside. I've got to add a little note though - It is really interesting to be experiencing my first election from another country. It's like your a spectator who cares to much - or something? The French are very up on world politics/news which is sooo refreshing from Bloomington.
Saturday I attempted to go a cocktail party a French friend was throwing. There really is no better practice than to engage in conversations with locals. New vocabulary is thrown into the retort and its inevitable not to pick something up - along with the well-intentioned corrections to grammatical errors and pronunciation. And yes it's coming along but my god it is work. I wish I was one of those people that just absorbed languages. For me its a challenge - but a welcome ( invited more like ) one. That's why I'm here - well one reason but it really encompasses all the others. One thing I'm discovering - that I had never really considered beforehand - is the extent to which language and culture are intertwined. Context is soo important and you could never learn context with submerging into the culture in question. I ended up leaving the party pretty early though and have since spent the last five days cooped up recooping.
This week was the second of classes - which yes thank you are going well. Currently taking politics, sociology, grammar and 18th century literature -in french and from the french or european perspective. Today though, I had a rendez-vous with my advisor (who conveniently is also my grammar and culture teacher) and my advisor to be at the psycho-prat ( psychologie en practice WOHO!). I will soon be taking two classes there - and dropping my lit class - for which I have a strong aversion to the teaching *cough*teacher*cough* method. After my rendez-vous I met up with Genna and we went to see our very first film entirely in French without subtitles. I got the gist of it haha - I think that will be the final sign of fluency. Now the radio I can understand perfectly - why couldn't they just speak a little more clearly?? Stop that mumbling! But yeah its great practice because you really reallllly have to strain to understand a lot of it. The movie was
pretty strange - La Belle Personne - that is until Genna informed me (after the movie of course) that it was based on an old piece of literature - hence the dramatisism and strange song outbursts. Kind of like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet.
Well that brings us up to date I do believe. Will be adding more photos again soon - and keep in touch!

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