Temps bipolaire

I slept a little bit better tonight, but I could have done without having to get up at 7:30. I have a feeling I’m not going to like Wednesdays and Thursdays for the duration of my stay in France… Bof. Sheila and I had breakfast, and she headed out before I did. I handed her my copy of L’École des femmes since she can’t take notes in her Kindle copy. I knew I was going to miss part if not all of my theatre class, so she was going to take notes for me, and I wanted her to jot notes in the margins of my book if necessary (since that’s something I like to do). I finished getting ready, and threw together something for lunch after Madame left for the day. Since my American preference of tossing whatever I can find in the fridge into the same container and mixing it seems to be a little off-putting… I’m trying to keep my lunches under wraps for the time being. I found the sautéed carrots and onions from a couple nights ago in the fridge, so I heated some of that with the gluten-free pasta (so it was easier to mix up), then added some shredded cheese to pack for lunch. I headed off to sign up for my classes at Paris III shortly after 9 AM.

I couldn’t help but be a little worried while I sat on the train as the minute hand on my watch ticked closer and closer to 10, which is when I was supposed to be outside Paris III to meet either Mme. Grée or Mme. Hervier to complete the registration. The building itself is really close to the metro, so that wasn’t much of an issue. I ended up finding Mme. Hervier three minutes to 10. She was happy to see me, and told me I was right on time. The other two students she was told to expect had told her they couldn’t make it because they had class at Sweet Briar, and she asked if I knew them… I did… both of them are in the class I was missing to do the registration myself! I told her I had talked to Mme. Hersant (the professor) last week and explained that I’d be missing part of the class (if not all of it) for registration, and she said that was okay since Sheila’s taking the class with me, and would show me her notes. After waiting for a few minutes to see if anyone else showed up, we went inside the building, then went to the office to actually complete the registration… which is surprisingly low-tech. I was handed a piece of paper that had spaces where I was supposed to write my name, my ID number, then the course code, the name of the professor, and the day and time for each class I was going to take, then I had to sign the paper… and that was seriously it. Mme. Hervier filled out other papers for the two girls that weren’t there (without signing them, of course), we left them with the secretary, and that was it. Mme. Hervier showed me where the bus stop was (since taking the bus is the most direct route between this Paris III and Sweet Briar), then told me what stop to use to get back to Sweet Briar. Mind you, I was supposed to be at Paris III at 10. It was now 10:30… I’m definitely glad I got the experience of signing up for my classes in France, but I feel like I should have gone to class instead. I didn’t realize I had the option to “skip registration.”

After a 20 minute bus ride, I made it up to Sweet Briar by 11 AM, and my class wouldn’t be over until noon, so I felt that I should go into the class and take whatever notes I could myself. Mme. Hersant did tell me it would be better for me to come for whatever amount of the class I could instead of missing it entirely… so I opened the door, and Mme. Hersant looked a little surprised… I hope she remembered why I was late… Now, when you take an RATP (company that manages the metro) bus, you’ll see a sign that says something to the effect of “thank you for moving toward the back of the bus” since the entrance is at the front, and it gets crammed really easily. Sweet Briar should think about posting similar signs that say “thank you for sitting as close to the walls as possible.” Mme. Hersant had her projector going, which shines directly down the one and only aisle in the room, and every seat by the aisle was taken. So I’m rushing down the aisle trying to find a seat, and I just want to go to the back of the room as not to disturb anyone, so the only open seat in the back was by a wall, which of course is blocked by a student… he was kind enough to scoot over to the seat by the wall and let me take the one on the aisle. I would have squeezed past him to take the wall seat if that were possible, but the room is so tiny, breathing is barely possible. Once I got settled (and quickly caught up on my notes), I did a once over of the room. Not counting the seat displacement I had just caused, there were five open seats in the room, all close to the walls. One entire station had been taken up by another student’s jacket and purse! My point is this: If people had the courtesy and common sense to take the seats closer to the walls as they came into the room, I wouldn’t have taken as long to find one, thus my total dérangement of the class wouldn’t have taken nearly as long. I could have come in, shut the door, greeted/apologized to Mme. Hersant, and sat down in the first seat I saw, which would have been in the front row, and started taking notes because I actually had taken my notebook out in the elevator. Three seconds. What actually happened? Opened the door, shut it, greeted/apologized to Mme. Hersant, thought “merde there are more students here than there were last week, where the hell do I sit, there are no places in the front, maybe in the back, op là, evidently not, my goodness this projector light is bright, I’m going to move to the right of it so that people can take notes, now I’m at the back of the room, I guess that means I have to sit next to you, hey you’ve got a seat over by the wall, can I go sit over there? Oh no, you’re going to sit there and I’ll sit where you were? I’m sorry… but that’s really nice of you. Thank you!” sat down, started to take notes. Twenty seconds. Vie de merde… I’m done ranting. The class itself went well. Most everything was review for me, I studied L’École des femmes back at my university in an actual French theatre class… in French… so I knew all the vocabulary on top of everything else. Sheila passed my book back to me, and it had my ticket for the show in it.

After class, Rouge met up with me in the library, and we found Joan in the hallway. I was starving and wanted to eat my pasta, and Rouge had a sandwich, but Joan wanted to go to the nearby bagel shop. We all headed in that direction, but because it was 10 minutes past noon by that time, the bagel shop had a line out the door, so Joan said we could walk around until she founded something she liked. She found a Chinese place similar to the one by our metro stop where they have the food pre-made and they heat it up for you (these places are called Traiteur Asiatiques), and it had that on one side, and a patisserie and chocolate on the other, which was pretty neat. Joan got nervous, so she asked me to do the talking for her. This place didn’t have a lunch plan, but you could still get take out, so Joan told me what she wanted, and had me order it for her. Rouge got a quiche from the place next door where we’d all bought something a while back (the place where I’d bought my first macaron), then we headed back to Sweet Briar to actually eat our food. The pasta was really good! Joan was getting ready for her interview with Baby-Speaking, which I was thinking about applying to work for, but I’m going to pass it up now. Joan actually has baby-sitting experience, and it’s something I’ve never done. Baby-Speaking also hires tutors, which is more up my alley, but they called her yesterday to set up her interview today, and asked for an incredible amount of documentation, including letters of recommendation, and resumés proving she’s had experience. I have a resume, but it doesn’t mention anything about tutoring… tant pis. I’ll keep checking the petites annonces board at Alliance Française, since it looks like that’s really my only shot at finding a job here.

Atelier d’Écriture was interesting. We walked into the room, and despite all of the rain today, the sun had decided to come out, and reflect off of a building across the courtyard directly into the room, so we closed the curtains most of the way, which made me kind of sleepy, but I managed. We went over pronouns today. My main issue with pronouns isn’t where to put them (I always got that part right), but when to use an indirect pronoun versus an direct one. I’ve never been great at figuring out if a verb would require a direct or an indirect pronoun (basically if a verb is direct or indirect)… until now! Mme. Mellado gave us an amazing little trick to keep in our back pockets. If you need to figure out when to use a direct pronoun (le, la, les) or an indirect pronoun (lui, leur), take whatever verb you want to use, and throw it (sans blague, Madame really said throw it) into this phrase: _________ quelque chose à quelqu’un (for those of you that don’t speak French, that means _________ something to someone) and take a look at it. If the phrase makes sense with your verb in it, that verb will require an indirect pronoun. If it doesn’t make sense, you’ll need a direct pronoun. Try it. Montrer (to show), for example. Montrer quelque chose à quelqu’un. Ça marche! So if you’re using montrer in a sentence and you’ve got to use a pronoun, you know you’re going to be using lui or leur. What about aimer (to like/love)? Aimer quelque chose à quelqu’un. Ça ne marche pas. Aimer will always require le, la or les. There are a few exceptions to the rule (meaning they don’t work in that formula, but they’ll still require indirect pronouns): téléphoner à (to telephone), parler à (to talk to), resembler à (to look like someone), mentir à (to lie to), appartenir à (to own [property]), and obéir à (to obey). I feel so much smarter…

After class, Sheila, Kyle and I all headed home. It was sunny when we were walking from Sweet Briar to the metro, but when Sheila and I came out of the metro back over by our house, the sun was covered by clouds, the ground was soaked, and it was drizzling. You’d think the weather would make up its mind already… I’m going to go NUTS. Trying to watch American shows here is next to impossible. Glee was loading so slow last night, I queued up the two episodes that were available online and left my computer on all night to let them load thinking they’d be ready when I wanted to watch them. I got about 3/4 of the way through Glee’s season premiere before it stopped working. Not crashed, not got stuck because it wasn’t done loading yet… just stopped working. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I am a poor American student studying abroad who already pays for Netflix WHEN IT DOESN’T WORK HERE, I cannot afford to pay to buy or “rent” any episodes on Amazon or iTunes. I swear, I’m going to go nuts if I can’t get this sorted out…

Madame came home and told us that she’d make dinner for us, but wouldn’t be eating with us because she was going out to dinner with her parents, her middle daughter, and her middle daughter’s fiancé. For the most part, we ate a whole lot of leftovers. Last night’s soup for entrée, steak haché (the very French way, practically raw in the center… which I find I actually like) and the carrots and onions from a couple nights ago, and a salad. Madame sat down and chatted with us while we ate, mostly about family. She asked us how many kids we wanted to have, things like that. As we were cleaning up our dishes, there was a knock on the door… and an older couple came in… Madame’s parents, we assumed. We introduced ourselves, and Madame’s mom said that we spoke French really well, then they went into the living room, and we dismissed ourselves to our rooms. They left after a few minutes… moderately awkward turtle… I wrote up a nice email to Mme. Remion back in Tours to let her know how I’ve been. I’ll probably write an email to respond to that job offer I saw tomorrow…

Other than the tour of Opéra Bastille, I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow. Sheila and I are going to try to watch the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy tomorrow morning, but with our internet the way it is, that’s going to be quite a valiant effort.

Vous êtes un sot en trois lettres, mon fils. -Molière: Tartuffe

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