– Why is it near impossible to speak with a proper French accent? Literally cannot get the ‘r’ sound down. My French friend Sarah makes fun of me all the time because one of the trains is called “RER” but I pronounce it “air-ee-air” when it should be “eehrrr-uhhh-eehrr.” Fail.
– What are you supposed to look at when you sit on the metro? In some of the trains, the seats are awkardly positioned so that you are literally knee-to-knee with other communters. Do you look out the window, stare down the other person’s shoes, fiddle with your ipod? It’s a mystery to me. Usually I creep on French people and check out their different fashion choices. NB: socially acceptable for men in Paris to wear scarves. Also acceptable: pointy leather shoes, man-purses. Not socially acceptable: laughing quietly/grinning when you see two people lurking trying to read articles from a newspaper that a woman is reading. A creepy guy will see you smiling and take it as an invitation to sit down next to you and give you his number. Don’t worry, Mom, I did NOT call him.
-WHERE IS THE PEANUT BUTTER? And how can I get my hands on some?!
– Why does my host brother think it is a good idea to spray me with a mini water gun at all hours of the day?? Quite the jokester. He also fooled me with a fake egg that he snuck into the carton in the fridge.
Anyway, weekly recap of notable-ish happenings:
Monday: Went to my first real-deal French class at Paris VII. Some friendly French people helped me find my way.. merci! Succeeded in finding the classroom. Everyone opened their little netbooks (they are very popular here) and “Ecritures de soi” (Writing of the self/biographies) began. The professor was very nice, goofy, and young. He went over a syllabus and we read an excerpt of a novel. I was proud that I could understand most of what was happening, but it was very intimidating to be one of only 16 students in a class!!! Yikes. Especially when the prof asked who had not previously done a dissertation (they are a common way of evaluation) and I was one of two people to raise my hand. Concentrating and listening to French for 3 hours made me very sleepy by the time the class was out at 9!
Wednesday: First meeting of my seminar on “Diversity.” Half Americans and half students from Sciences Po (prestigious French higher ed.) Great professor and talkative French students. Hopefully I will be brave enough to be more talkative throughout the semester.
Thursday: Midterm in my grammar class. Bleh. Afterwards I had a ‘mixer’ type of lunch with French students. Learned that the show “How I Met Your Mother” is very popular here! Also attended a mixer event at an Irish pub bar with some French engineers.
Friday: Fun filled day! Grabbed lunch at a famous falafel place called ‘L’as du falafel” in the jewish quarter. It really is worth the hype!! Then had a “galette de rois”, special puff pastry cake-thing eaten the twelfth night after Christmas. There’s a little trinket hidden inside and the finder gets to be ‘king’… and guess who found one. ME! Though there were like 8 cakes and 16 kings walking around, so I didn’t feel SO special.
Then went ice skating at Hotel de ville, THEN went to an exhibit on Sempé, a French artist who is often featured on the cover of The New Yorker. He also illustrated the famous “Petit Nicholas” series that is a children’s classic. He’s very talented, and is super funny.
I also had an interesting evening that involved sangria and a secret bar in Odéon!
Picture of Hotel de Ville and the outdoor skating rink! What a beautiful day (finally!)