February: A Paris Update
I have a habit of carrying around a little journal with me. It's different from the one that's full of French words I learn in real-life and should probably get around to memorising. I tape in tickets and brochures, little maps and business cards – things that I accumulate during daily life here. I scrawl notes in here or there, and this little journal has become the only way to keep track of how much I've been doing... and serves as a reminder of how fast time has been flying.
Here are a few notes from that afore-mentioned journal:
I saw La La Land in French theatres on January 30th, and seriously - what a cinematic ciné! There's a reason that every first-year French student learns how to say "going to the cinéma." Between the sweet AND salty popcorn, Orangina, all the red velvet (calling all Westover girls!?), it definitely beats the American movie theatre experience.
On another note, I'm impressed by how much my control of the French language has changed. Day by day, it can often feel like a struggle, especially when I'm nervous and tired and the words just don't come. It's only side-by-side, subtitles in French and voices in English, I finally understood how much of the language I do know.
A week of a bit warmer weather - 40s/50s instead of 20s/30s - really makes Paris come to life. I opened the door from my home stay last week and heard a roar coming from the Saint-Sulpice fountain... guys, the fountain actually works, and it's pretty impressive!
Classes are finally in full swing. I'm taking a literature-heavy course-load, primarily at Paris 8/Saint-Denis. The closest thing I can compare it to is UK Skins: think lots of smoking and errant disrespect for faculty. Regardless, I'm enjoying my classes. I'm taking a masters class in poetry and painting, a class about a 17th century novel, and feminism/antifeminism in France, as well as a class about political science in contemporary France. I've learned very quickly that if you tune-out a professor for a split second, you'll come back to reality to find that you've missed tons of information – whoops!
Word on the street is that you're not a true Parisian until you cry on the metro: check.
We enjoyed a trip to Fountainebleu on Saturday, complete with historical costumes. In February, as the museum is delightfully uncrowded, it often felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.
Musée Rodin is wonderful, and how rare it is to find a museum that the artist designated as a museum before his death. I went with my tandem as our weekly "date" – her name is Angèle, and she's a French student that I've been paired with. We go to expositions, cafés, and oftentimes bars; she practices her English and I respond in French.