07 April 2008

Les Vacances...et les autres trucs

Hey peeps. I just wanted to start off with a heads up/reminder that between the dates of 12 APRIL and 25 april, I will be out of the country. And by "out of the country," I mean, I will be out of France. It also means that you may very well not hear from me at all during that time, since it's not positive that every hostel we stay in will have internet, and as it's never a super high priority to find internet cafés while we're looking at the Berlin Wall.

I love you so much, and I know you'll understand why this separation needs to happen. Don't think of it in terms of, "She doesn't love me anymore." Think of it as...a growth experience. Yes. Growth. Broaden your horizons. It's not goodbye forever, after all, we're still good friends, aren't we? Yes, we are...

Today I had a surprise test in my Civilisation cours. Cours means class, by the way. Which is funny because the word looks a lot like the verb 'courir,' 'to run.' Hm...anyway. Surprise test. Well, to be perfectly honest, it wasn't a surprise. I remembered it last night four seconds after I set my alarm and turned my light off. I remembered it this morning right when I woke up, and I definitely wasn't surprised when M. Delebeque set the test in front of me. Twenty questions, most of which were multiple choice. Haha. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Name a French wine. (Bordeaux Superieur)
2. Name a specialty of Breton gastronomy. (la galette)
3. What is one of the emblems of the French Republic? (the rooster)
4. What is the Korrigo card? (transport card for Rennes)
I loved #4 because I use this card every day to ride the bus and metro...haha gotta love those gimme sorts of questions.

So I'm not too worried about that.
The other class I had today was my lab class. A Masters French student presides over us, listening to us practice french phonetics with thick sound-"proofed" headphones on. Wearing the headphones makes me feel really special and telemarketer-y, because they also have a mic on the left side. We sit in this room for an hour every monday, listening to a recording Laurène (the Masters student) made for the class before ours, and repeating the words that she says. Each "clip" is about 10 or 12 minutes long, with about four minutes of single words, then sentences, then dialogues. Sometimes if you listen to the tape after it's done you can hear a British lab lesson, and that's always fun.

Laurène caught me doing it the other day for the first time. There's just something so reassuring about hearing a French person stumble through English. Makes us feel happy about our own levels.

But today after labo I could barely talk, my throat hurt so much. We always have two vowel sounds and two consonant sounds to work on. Today it was [i]/[y] and [l]/[r]. Don't be fooled. The [i] is an "eee" sound, like the "ea" in "clean." The [y] is in fact a sort of "u," but is so incredibly complicated that I can't explain it without you being able to hear me. Suffice it to say that this (really difficult) French sound makes the difference between such words as "au-dessus"/"au-dessous" and "tu"/"tout". Above/Below, You/All.

The worst of all was the [r]. I'm sure you know that the French R is different from the English R. We like to swallow ours, while theirs comes more out of their throats. Oh man. Pain. BUT now I can finally say "truc," which is slang for "thing" aka "whatchamacallit this thing you know" but also "c'est pas mon truc" is "that's not my sort of thing." I love it.

But anyway. That's the news of the day. After labo Jessica and I tried to find the allusive Breton Tourism store, as Mark and I have been trying to do for a couple weeks now. It's still allusive, and seems to be very good at it. I have this feeling we just keep walking right past it...
We wandered for a while and then got home around 17h30; a little earlier than usual. OH!

There was a robbery in one of the neighboring appartements today. When I got home and put my key in the lock I couldn't put it through cause they had left the keys in the other side of the door, making it impossible for me to open it without ringing the bell and having Elisabeth come let me in. Michel showed up too, saying that he thought I was the police. I laughed and said, "Yeah, here I am, what did you do now?" And he said, "No, really, they were here today, someone broke in to one of the other appartes." Ah.

I went back to my room and read for a while before going back out to the living room and watching the news with mes parents. The Olympic Torch got to Paris today, and apparently it was really crazy. I love that there are so many problems in the world, so many people suffering and dying and going insane, and Tibet gets precedence because of the Games. The French are really suddenly upset about it all, even a lot of the mayors of the region showed up to protest. That's an interesting sight--elected officials protesting in public...hm....

The sad thing that even just letting Tibet be it's own thing isn't going to solve the fact that China is a Communist country that hates, oh, for example, Freedom of Religion and of the Press. Their nexs stations showed the Torch getting out of the Eiffel Tower, that's it, none of the violent arrests and people screaming and bleeding in the faces of blue jumpsuit-clad Games people trying not to get hurt. 3000 policemen were present in Paris today, JUST to make sure that this thing didn't get out of hand. As I'm sure most of you know, the spectacle ended with a ceremony cancellation and the extinction of the flame.

So much for international relations.

ps tomorrow is LE JOUR D'UN GAUFRE
(waffle day!)


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