Monday, April 11, 2011

a week in the life..

in retrospect, i feel like last week was a pretty good illustration of life here in franceland. well, partly. minimal classes, lots of hang-out time. here’s a summary...

monday, 4 april 2011
art history – the last class before the exam.. professor didn’t quite finish the lecture, so he said he’d just lecture before the exam next week. great.. now i have to make sure i catch every little detail, because it’s all fair game for the exam during the same class period – no time to go back home and research/verify, etc. stressful. we covered a lot of stuff, too. yikes.
nap. computer time. lunch.
langue française class – i’d already given my final presentation, so now all that’s left is to sit and listen to other people’s exposés.. an hour and a half later, my brain was dripping out of my ears and i’d revised my summer plans 14 times.
grocery shopping at superU with my peoples.
conversation workshop – brutally boring. it’s not really much of a conversation class if we get in trouble for talking...
dinner with friends, as usual.
tuesday, 5 april 2011
no classes on tuesday.. wonderful day of relaxation. slept in, worked on some homework, chilled outside, studied for my culture exam. i’m going to miss my little weekend-in-the-middle-of-the-week next semester when i go back to the real world..
wednesday, 6 april 2011
translation in the morning.. it’s always painful when the professor calls on 10 exchange students in a row, and they’re all absent. thankfully i had my work done, so when he finally got to my name, i had something to contribute.
techniques of french expression – again, i’ve already given my final presentation, so i just had to listen to other ones. more interesting than langue française class, but still pretty brutal.
culture – final exam! which took me approximately 14 minutes. once we finished, my friend andrea invited me to join her and a friend for an evening out – they were planning on going to a restaurant in town that specializes in soufflés. a few weeks before, our culture professor had given us a list of 12 restaurants in angers, all of which i vowed to try. since the soufflérie was on the list, i happily accepted the invitation. decision EVER. soufflé has to be on my list of most delicious creations on the planet. i had a goat cheese and broccoli soufflé that i can only imagine was sent from heaven, and then the three of us shared a chocolate soufflé for dessert. i must learn how to make soufflé. i must.
thursday, 7 april 2011
happy first birthday to my favourite little baby boy, baker wiley cooper! his mom, charlotte, was my french teacher (and subsequent role model) in high school (and life), so i have a special place in my heart for that kid. i even got my tattoo the day he was born! so happy first birthday to my tattoo as well.
i just have two classes on thursdays – a two hour block of translation from 10-12. since it’s french to english translation, it’s pretty easy for me. i love to hear the different english options that the students and professors suggest for various french phrases. sometimes, they’re better than my translation, because oftentimes you get so caught up in the translation aspect of the work that you forget how you actually speak. for example, at one point i said ‘furrowed her eyebrows’ instead of just ‘frowned’. or, better yet, i said ‘make her spirit rest at its sides’ (what?) instead of ‘keep her mind from wandering’. see, direct translation just gets messes everything up. anyway, those classes always entertain me.
after classes are over at noon, my weekend starts. i went back to my room to get a few things done before biking into town to run some errands. i went to the bank, a few little bookstores, the cutest knick-knack store ever, and then bought a baguette and layed out by the fountain to read in the sunshine. it was a glorious afternoon.
as i was walking around angers, i was very nearly overcome with a seriously strong urge to write. except i didn’t have a journal.. so here is what my heart was saying on thursday afternoon;
                dear friends and family back home.. i have been lying to you. i don’t just live in france. i live in paradise.. where the sun doesn’t fully set until 9pm at night. where women in their sixties wear mini-skirts and stand in front of store windows, checking out red strappy heels because they have the figure to pull them off. where every decent café has outdoor seating if the weather is even mildly pleasant, and plazas become huge, open seating areas on sunny days. where every flowerbed overflows with a tasteful array of colours and species – pink tulips mixed with purple and white pansies, deep orange poppies blending with bright yellow buttercups. where baguettes are 75 cents, and always fresh. where people are always chic, but never overstated – they just care about how they look, and it shows. where travel is cheap enough to go somewhere every weekend and still not break the bank. where classes end in mid-april, and grades are based on tests taken and presentations given throughout the semester – no finals. where people take pride in their language, because it’s beautiful. where dogs are allowed inside stores and restaurants, because they’re always well-behaved. where lunch breaks are an hour and a half long. where bakeries are more like art galleries, with little masterpieces on display, each unique and delicious. my friends – this is france, and it is wonderful.
friday, 8 april 2011
three day weekend, every week. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again.. it’s a hard life. slept in again (this is becoming a bad habit – but for me, sleeping in is like 10am..), answered some emails, had a spa afternoon, listened to some old music and succumbed to nostalgia for the afternoon. there had been plans to go to a barbeque at the lake for dinner, but people ended up not leaving until way too late, and i was feeling a little under the weather, so i stayed back and made curry to clear my sinuses. and then my friends came back, saying no one was there. we hung around and talked for a while, convincing the desk attendant man to leave the kitchen open late for us. he’s an angel, i swear – such a nice man. i stayed up entirely too late skyping my sweet boyfriend, but it was well-worth it. :)
saturday, 9 april 2011
epic lie-in.. woke up at 11 and got ready to go meet my friends downtown for a picnic! i packed my little lunch (peanut butter and honey sandwich, carrot / red pepper sticks, apple) and took the bus into town. we ate in a little pavilion in the middle of a big park – there were SO many people there! it was a beautiful day, so everyone was out doing their own picnic-y thing. we got some ice cream and then hopped on a bus to the edge of town for our guided tour at the cointreau museum! cointreau is a very famous orange liqueur, invented and still produced here in angers! for less than 9 euro each, the six of us got to watch a film that told about the history of cointreau (and showed REALLY cool film footage of angers from the late 1800’s/early 1900’s!), tour the factory, learn about the advertising campaigns, AND do a taste-test! the ‘degustation’ was totally the best part, even though i don’t really like the taste of cointreau. we walked into the “bar”, which was super snazzy and chic. we had our own little couch and chairs, set around a table already set with glasses and ice. we got to try THREE different cocktails (well worth the 9 euro at this point) – straight cointreau on ice, a bubbly mixed drink, and the classic ‘cointreaupolitan’. plus, we got a little plate of snacks. we seriously felt SO fancy and glamorous! once the tour was over, we headed back to town and i grabbed a pain au chocolat from my favourite bakery before catching the bus back to campus.
dinner was great – a guy who was here last semester came back for a visit, and since he was always cooking for people last term, he made fajitas for everyone saturday night. i had mine without the chicken (two more weeks of vegetarianism... two. more. weeks.) and they were still delicious! after fajitas, we all went out to a bonfire for a while, where emma and i had a wonderful girly chat before being interrupted and hit on by two seedy french dudes. “ze best way to learn fuhrench is to ‘ave uh fuhrench boyfran.” oh really? thanks. “vith ze fire, eet ez hot, but vith you two here, whoo! i am burning.” yeah, he went there. i was amused for a while, but ended up getting tired and leaving around 1:30am. i came back and went to bed – sooo tired.
sunday, 10 april 2011
happy birthday DAD!!! super sad i wasn’t home to celebrate (and eat cake.. sigh) – i hope it was a lovely day. i spent all day studying for my art history exam – typing up notes, reading handouts, researching vocabulary, inserting pictures. by the end of the night, i was feeling pretty confident. since the last test was so bad, i was determined to show my professor what’s what. this time around, i knew what kind of test to expect, so i felt much more prepared. i made a really good salad (lettuce, goat cheese, apples, avocado on the side) and had a wonderful time having girl talk with my favourite floormates – emma, jessie, danielle, and paola. we even got to try a brazilian dessert called brigadiero that paula made – little balls of chocolate covered in sprinkles – yes. i went to bed after a skype sesh with drew, feeling a little apprehensive but ready to go.
monday, 11 april 2011
and that brings us to today. i woke up a little early to read over my notes again, and headed to class. true to his word, the professor lectured for about 30 minutes before calling out the exam.. which wasn’t like the last one!! the jerk! he didn’t do a SINGLE vocabulary word, which i had so painstakingly studied. sigh. thankfully, i knew the answers to all the questions he asked, for the most part. i may have missed a detail here and there, but i got the majority for sure. and, he DID include things from today’s lecture on the exam – but i’d caught everything, so that ended up being pretty easy. all in all, i feel good about it.. i just hope he doesn’t diss my french level again. BUT- i never have to go back to that class or see him again, so i’m putting it out of my mind. what’s done is done, right? joy. :) i came back to a letter from my sister in the mailbox and a song from drew in my email. gotta love that.
this week is my last week of ‘cufco’ classes – the courses i take that are specifically for exchange students. today, i have my last ‘langue française’ class and my last conversation workshop. i seriously hope my professor doesn’t keep us for the full three hours in langue! there is no way she can.. surely. yeesh. and we’re all supposed to bring food to conversation class, so hopefully that just means a hang-out party! the rest of the night will probably be made up of chilling in the kitchen and maybe watching a movie. this is pretty much my last week of classes, so the semester is definitely winding down! yay!! :)

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