Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week in review

I think today must mark the midpoint of my visit, because I've had seven weeks of class, with a few days before them, and I have seven weeks of class left, with a few days to wind down before I leave. It should be obvious that I am having a blast, in general. And even though this past week started out poorly, it did end on a high note.

The main problem this past week was that I was sick for much of it, miserably so from Monday to Wednesday. As last weekend was a 3-day weekend, Brad and I already needed a break from each other by Monday night, so when I was too sick to go into school on Tuesday, things got a little tense around the apartment for a while. Anyway, Tuesday night was so miserable that I went to the doctor on Wednesday, at which point things started to improve rapidly. I was able to go back to classes on Thursday morning (a good thing, as I was starting to go stir-crazy in the apartment); when I got home on Thursday evening, Brad had cooked a terrific pot of chicken soup, God bless his heart! Anyway, the decongestants have worked their magic (to disgusting effect) and I'm still popping antibiotics and the occasional paracetamol, but am definitely on the mend.

School was a little disappointing this week, but then I was only there for 2 days. Unfortunately, almost everyone in the "advanced" (C1) group left before Easter, leaving only two of us remaining. When I didn't show up to class on Tuesday, and there were no new advanced students (presumably because of the shortened week), they did the only sensible thing and recombined the C1 and B2 groups. So the material on Thursday and Friday was less challenging, and accordingly not as interesting. But tomorrow we change teachers anyway, and hopefully there will be enough new advanced students to support re-establishing the C1 class. I've had the feeling all week that I've been failing to make any progress, even possibly backsliding a little, because I've barely had the energy to pick up a book or a newspaper in French.

Nonetheless, I did go to the movies on Friday with some of my classmates, to see "La Fille du Puisatier" (The WellDigger's Daughter), a remake by Daniel Auteuil of an old French classic, based on a novel by Marcel Pagnol (who also wrote "Manon of the Springs")

We all must have learned something during the past month, because none of us was fazed by the strong Provencal accents. Objectively viewed, the film was a piece of sentimental schmaltz, but enjoyable nonetheless. Certainly better than the vile piece of dreck "Les yeux de sa mere" (His Mother's Eyes) that I saw last weekend, with Joyce and Juerg:

As Juerg pointed out afterwards, the photo was taken while we were still blissfully unaware of the horror that awaited us in the movie theater. American movies can be bad, Lord knows, but bad French movies manage to be so in a way that leaves you feeling violated afterwards.

Juerg is now back at work in the Swiss patent office in Berne*, Joyce is preparing for her wedding in Malta in a couple of weeks. Both are sorely missed at school.

Yesterday, Brad and I went to Versailles. The weather was truly spectacular, and once we escaped outdoors from the crowds in the chateau, we had a blast. This picture of Brad, rowing on the lake, pretty much sums it up:

We got back from Versailles early enough for me to make the Met's live broadcast of "Il Trovatore". But you already know that, from the previous post. After a shaky start, the week didn't turn out so badly after all. Oh yes, and somewhere along the way, I bought a new camera, which has been working out just fine.

I know that all my "Geek's Corner" readers must be thirsting for a new post, but I'm afraid this is all I can manage for tonight. Just hang in there, and your patience will be rewarded - I have a huge backlog of topics waiting in the wings. The complete craziness of French phonetics being near the top of the list. I swear to God, I don't know how anyone can speak the language continually without doing permanent damage to the vocal passages. But that's a topic for a future post.

From the halfway point of the great Spring 2011 Paris adventure, a good night to all my readers!

*: Yes, of course I asked. And yes, Einstein's desk is still preserved somewhere in the bowels of the Swiss patent office. On the truly interesting question, where the clock in Einstein's office had been situated, Juerg was, alas, unable to throw any light.

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