As it’s been a little while since I’ve done a real post, as opposed to a cop-out photo-essay post, some loose ends:

Alas, no choir for me. Turns out the University choir has only one concert, and it happens in May, so, nothing doin’. Instead, we plan to find some good karaoke. I’ll probably also try to bully Dr. Thull into scanning me some music so I can at least know the darn things for voice lessons when I get back. Dear random Cornell choir readers, I miss you and will be ecstatic to return to your ranks.

On the COM/JOU 307 front, I think I’m pulling the instinct card again. I love all my other classes and am quite pleased to be going to them (except french sometimes, but only because it’s at 9 AM). In startling contrast, this one triggers a disconcerting sensation of amorphous despair every time I think about it, which in similar previous circumstances has ALWAYS been a predictor of academic doom. I don’t need it for the credits, and I can keep up with the news on my own – what’s the use of staying? So Dr. Smith is going to get a visit from me tomorrow, I’ll let you know how that goes.

Our meticulously planned expedition to Mount St-Victoire was, of all things, rained out! It’s been 80° of indian summer every other day we’ve been here, of course. But we have launched the good ship Rescheduling and have high hopes for this weekend; nothing comes between me and a good mountain picnic for long.

Last weekend wasn’t a complete bust, however. Au contraire. We explored the Grand Marché, which is the, ah, giant market that sprouts magically from the cobblestones in front of the Palais de Justice every Saturday morning. I tell you, this thing is enough in itself to make me wish I lived here. How are we ever supposed to try everything? What possible use do we have for those glorious Provençal tablecloths? What are we supposed to do with a astonishing heap of glorious deep-purple eggplants?

à la grande marché.

à la grande marché aussi.

Pavillion de Vendôme. We went into that building.

It was also les Journées du Patrimoine, the national two-day celebration of French heritage. All over the country this event is characterized by live music, free entry to museums and historic buildings not generally open to the public, and more markets than ever. We got in on the action by visiting the Museum of Natural History (très petite but there was half of a dinosaur!) and the Pavillion de Vendôme (one of the aforementioned historic and usually-closed buildings). The accompanying park and rose garden are stunning and well-maintained, but as you can’t go on the grass, I can’t help but feel that most of the point of perfect swatches of green grass is lost. I mean, it’s pretty, but it’s no Washington Park :0 I suppose I’ve just been spoiled by growing up five minutes from the best park in the largest urban park system in the US; not everything can be the epitome of parkness. Le sigh.

Aside from the one dud class, news from academia is all good. We had our first real class in HIS 328 this Monday, and Val and I left with big smiles. This prof is good. How he manages to make Provençal geography totally fascinating, I’ll never know – some combination of incisive intelligence, people-smarts, humor, and definitive PowerPoint skills. We get to go on field trips to explore Provence with this dude! For heaven’s sake, I learn English words reading our coursepack. Oleaginous? Conurbation? where does he get this stuff?

Gesso in progress.

Painting & Drawing, meanwhile, is gearing up to be life-changing. I could live in the atelier, I like it there so much. We’ve embarked now on the great odyssey of landscape painting. Just small steps first – chose a masterwork to copy, gesso our cardboard (that’s covering it with white acrylic paint, which I didn’t know until today either), do some algebra, and cut out “canvases” to scale. Thursday we’ll mix paint and probably even start painting o_O Our instructors are very much of the try-by-doing, read: try-by-failing, school of thought, which is freeing. Who cares if your first painting sucks? You’ll do another one. You’ve got a lifetime.

In the meantime, between homework and exploring, lots of travel plans are in the works. We’re getting itchy to get out of Aix for the weekend – we’re thinking Marseilles while the weather’s still nice. AND my bestest buddy Britton Esposito got the go-ahead from her boss to come visit for our fall break (!!!!!!). A whole week of adventures, which will include her birthday! I’m pumped. Watch out, Europe.