(apologies for the belated post – wrote this yesterday but the interwebz were down)
Oi, this day. Lots of successes and several – well, not so much. But let’s start with the successes, because there are more of them, and because they will give me strength for what comes after.
First of all, didn’t have class until forever today, so kind of accidentally slept in until 10:30, took a leisurely shower, discovered that Grooveshark not only works in France but also has three complete CDs of 50 Ans de Chanson Française (a little Edith Piaf, anyone?), and strolled out the door to run an errand with three hours before I had to be in class. Very odd. Is this how normal people do school all the time?
The errand was plug adaptors, because for reasons I don’t entirely understand the convertors that I brought do absolutely nothing. On the way I passed the Place de la Rotunde, centre touristique of Aix, and seized the opportunity of being surrounded by people with much more conspicuous cameras to take some pictures.
The IAU folks suggested we go to the FNAC (a sort of Barns & Noble–RadioShack–GameStop hybrid in miniature) if we were looking for such a thing, so off I went to see if I could find my way there without a map. Found the store, no trouble, but once there could not for the life of me find any adapters, or convertors, or even a section where some might theoretically belong! Argh. So I wandered for awhile, attempting to be subtle while I had a small argument with my longstanding and ridiculous aversion to asking people for help (made especially ridiculous when they’re employees standing under a sign that says “INFORMATIONS”).
Eventually I wandered too close to a male employee and he won the argument for me. He was, as I have always heard French people to be when faced with a stranger in distress, extremely helpful. We found out that FNAC does not in fact carry adapters, but he drew me maps for two other possible stores, wrote his email on one of them, and told me to get in touch with him if I needed anything else while I was in Aix. Awwwwwww.
The second store did indeed have what I was looking for, in a much cheaper and more elegant design than anything I saw in the US, so now I don’t have to steal from Laura anymore 🙂 Though she’s been very understanding.
Aside: The store wasn’t actually open when I went there. Like many stores in France, it closes for several hours in the middle of the day for lunch. I love this. Love love love.
Skipping ahead, I am seriously excited for my econ class. I was worried (what else is new) that they were going to find out I’ve never taken an econ class and look at me askance. But it sounds like people are coming from all different levels, and that nobody really knows that much about the EU, which we now get to spend a whole semester studying. Shweet. Also poli sci classes are, let’s face it, basically econ classes with the jargon (I knew that paper from POL 262 on current account balances would come in handy someday!). Valerie, one of my neighbors, is also in it, which is just icing because she’s totally fascinating. She rants wonderfully about the IMF and World Bank and she spent the last two summers interning with microfinance companies, so she totally knows who Muhammad Yunus is, which endears her to me tremendously (go read his books, dudes).
So those are the parts I will dwell on while falling asleep tonight. Unfortunately, there were other parts.
Actually I don’t think there’s going to be anything wrong with COM/JOU 307: Introduction to Contemporary French Media. Au contraire, besides tests, our only homework is to read French newspapers, watch French news, and listen to French radio. Don’t you love having incentive to do the things you wish you were motivated enough to do anyway? Sounds like we’re going to talk about politics, mostly, with smatterings of food and sports thrown in – perfect. OK so really, this class is gonna be good. It’s just that it’s entirely in French and our professeur talks really fast, so I was on full alert for the entire hour and a half trying to figure out what on earth was going on. I got most of it, but boy is that exhausting. Surprisingly so.
This would not have been remarkable except for the last event of my day. So you remember that I was meeting with a choir director. Turns out they rehearse literally next door to where my last class was. Oh, perfect, I thought. So I went up to talk to him and met another girl – French, from Lille, named Claire – who (for Cornell folks) reminds me of Rose Tarullo in every way. Which is obviously great. She even spoke English. So far, so good – ah, but what he forgot to tell me was that there was a rehearsal RIGHT THEN. So I stayed for rehearsal, watching the clock and wishing I were brave enough to excuse myself and call my poor host mother, trying to translate French choir lingo and not having a lot of success. Rehearsal finally ends at 10ish, but madame Michele has to get up at like sunrise so she’s already in bed. Long story short, I get home at about 10:40. I’ve never been so happy to see a bowl of cereal in my life.
All the way home, I’d been thinking. My instincts are generally good. And pretty much all I wanted during that rehearsal was to get out of there. I’m not sure why exactly, but I’m not sure it matters. I think the director’s style would drive me mad. I don’t like the music (Bach’s Christmas Orotorio – yep, just the one piece), and not just as a spillover of my generally negative feelings. Also I just can’t see being out until 11 every Wednesday night (oops, my hermithood is showing). OH YEAH, and I would have to change my flight home in order to sing in the concert. Yuck, I say. Right now I’m leaning towards dropping the choir plan; there’s so much else to do! But I’ll sleep on it. Might be worth seeing if I can get the director at the University of Aix-Marseilles to answer my emails – they practice at noon, like reasonable people, and don’t start until next week.
À bientôt, mes amis. Tomorrow we sketch.