Friday, October 22, 2004

October 20-October 22

October 20, 2004

Cranky. I didn’t get dinner until late tonight (why must we eat after 9pm? We can be starving, but no, we must not eat until after 9pm).

N. thinks that I have her French book. The problem is that she offered it to me, and even though I declined, she now has me linked in her mind to her missing French book. I know I don’t have it. I just cleaned my room (an activity of about ten minutes) and it was nowhere. Nada. Null. Nothing. I offered to let her use my French book (in English) but she wants her book.

I get weird vibes from the Russian. I don’t think she likes me.

Some of us went to see Carnets de Voyage today. (I have no clue what the English title it). It is about Ernesto Che Guevara. Of course at the end it had the blurb about the USA CIA killing him. I was sitting between an Argentinean and a Chilean and they were both crying. Meanwhile I’m slumping down in my chair like, “Ummm, sorry?” It was a little awkward for me. Note to self: in the future, don’t see political movies with citizens of countries your government has fucked over. Hmm, that shortens the list dramatically.

October 21, 2004

I’ve been running on a food deficit until tonight. I finally went out and bought a sandwich with meat (meat!). (I also had some chocolate). I am almost starting to feel like I will survive the next few hours (around lunch time I was in serious lack-of-food pain).

I think my room was formerly used as the science class fly farm. There are always at least five flies at any given point in time. And, of course, being flies, they are too stupid to figure out where the window is. I now have a fly cemetery in my trashcan (and on the walls/windows. It’s gross).

So, change to plans. I am not going to Provence for Toussaint. Instead, I am going to go with a bunch of other assistants to Brittany. We are going to rent a car for a couple of days (there are five of us and the car we are getting is the size of a Geo Metro. Then again, they are all really tiny so I’m not too concerned. I figure they can strap my large American ass to the roof). We will get to see Mont-St-Michel, so I’m excited about that. I really want to go and see the Bayeaux tapestry, but I’m the only one interested in that. I may ditch the group for a day so I can go and do that on my own. It is really important to me.

I went to the French Literature class today and saw a film version of Bérénice. I understand it better now, but I’m still a little confused. I was trying to find a synopsis in English on the Internet yesterday, but I couldn’t find anything. Bummer. I guess I will never know. One thing that surprised me about the film version was that the actors really emphasized the rhymes at the ends of the lines. After the movie, the teacher asked me what I thought. I mentioned that the emphasis of the rhyme scheme was unusual to me (through I didn’t put it nearly so eloquently. It was mostly a series of grunts on my part). I explained (or I think I explained) that in English (for example in Shakespeare) actors do not emphasize the rhymes nearly so much. I could have gotten into an awesome discussion about how English poetry makes great use of alliteration and how it is more difficult to rhyme words in English than in French and that this has influenced the development of our poetic sound, but there is no way I could point and grunt my way through that. So I mostly just smile and said, “Oui, c’est très interessant.”

I think I had a breakthrough the other day. Okay, it wasn’t a breakthrough, it was just weird. I actually forgot the English word for something. I don’t remember what it was now, but I must have spent about thirty seconds (a long time when you are trying to recall something you ought to know) thinking about it. Then again, I don’t know if I actually knew the French word or if I was telling myself that I knew the French word so I could excuse my failing brain. (See earlier post on my inability to recall words).

The radiator is no longer working. I think it wore itself out. The shower is still draining really slowly. I thought about buying a couple of condoms to put over my feet, but I think my feet are a little too big.

Where do dust bunnies come from? And why is it that wherever I live, I am hounded by them? [passive voice on purpose] (Hound--Which reminds me: “What, proper fucked?” “Yeah, proper fucked.” I was thinking about that movie today. I love that little scene with the rabbit and the dogs. Dags.) Oh, and I learned that in England, snatch does not carry the same connotations that it does in the US.

Oh! And I got the package from my mommy! I am so happy! She sent me Tears of the Giraffe, A Letter of Mary, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, and An Instance of the Fingerpost. I am already halfway through the first. I love the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels. Natalia wanted to know why I was getting books in English instead of French. I was like, “Because I can read English!” When I make a joke and people laugh, I’m never sure if they are laughing at the joke itself, or at my attempt to make a joke with my really, really crappy French.

Well, back to my book. I will write more later.

October 22, 2004

I must not read so quickly. Or I should get more boring books. This might be a good time to read some of the classics that I have been unable to read thus far (Middlemarch, Ulysses, Anna Karinina, etc.). Yes, I finished Tears of the Giraffe last night. Now I only have three more English books left. I suppose I ought to go back to Flaubert (in French) but it is damn hard. I should go out and buy some French picture books—that is about my level in French.
So, anyway, here is what we plan on visiting in Brittany:
Pointe du Raz (in that area)
Côte d’Emeraude
St Malo

I am going to get on the Internet today and see how much a ticket from Rennes to Bayeux is.

It is amusing how distances are relative. We in the States may not have the same length of time to use as a comparative, but we have the distance thing down. I constantly hear the Europeans talk about how far away everything is here. I’m like, it’s only about two hours by train—what the hell are you all talking about? That and I keep telling them that, for me, the train is ultra cheap here. Even though I’ve explained to them that we don’t have an expansive train system in the US, they still don’t get it. I told them that taking the train and taking an airplane cost about the same and they were shocked. I haven’t told them that the ride from Paris to Grenoble was my first trip on a train. (!)

Well, down to the kitchen to get some breakfast. I counted how many steps it is from my end of the building to the other end (not including the stairs and the time inside the building) and it is about 140—and I take pretty big steps. Plus there are about 70 stair steps and four doors that I have to unlock and relock. Yeesh. It is no wonder that I don’t go down to the kitchen often. That is actually not as good a thing as it seems because it means that I keep snacks (cookies) in my room and eat them instead of getting real food. So no, I’ve not lost any weight since I’ve been here, despite my having to complete a marathon every time I have to go to the kitchen.


At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie is called "The Motorcycle Diaries" over here. Haven't seen it yet, but hear it's very good. HOpefully by now your new friends understand that there's a difference between you & your government. Glad you got the books. Have the third book in the #1 series for you.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Yeah Mommy! I am in an internet cafe right now.

At 6:50 AM, Blogger STAG said...

Haaaay Pat....nice to see your post! How's it going, and when are you going to come up here to Ottawa so I can return your hospitality? For now though, I am rather enjoying living in France vicariously through Deirdre. My experiences as an old phart in France would be so different than a young lady abroad! This is quite refreshing! (Love the part about the garbage bags on her feet! Never would have thought of that!)


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