Friday, April 6, 2012

Another fine week in the rue du Vertbois

Time seems to be accelerating - I can't believe that today was the end of my fourth week of class already. Our new teacher, Agnes, is excellent -- much more demanding than Roderige, who seemed to underestimate our potential (this is not the royal we, it's a view shared by my classmates). The most striking aspect of Agnes's class is her beginning every day by making us listen to the morning news on the radio from 9:00 to 9:30, take notes, and summarize what we manage to retain. This was completely brain-scrambling on Monday, but by today it was already noticeably easier. By the end of the month, it should make a real difference. The class reaction was entirely predictable -- we all whined like babies the first day. And now we love it! One of the particular challenges in this exercise is getting the numbers down, whether it's the sport scores, the Bourse results, the weather forecast, or the latest polling results in the presidential race. It's hilarious to watch the expressions of my classmates as they struggle to get all the numbers right, and I'm sure my face is no different. It's a different kind of challenge than trying to explain to a Quality Control scientist how many decimal places she should include when reporting a lab result, and at this point in my life it's way more fun.

Yesterday, on our sortie pedagogique, we visited the Parc Monceau in the 17th arrondissement, after which we visited the Musee Cernuschi, known for its Asian artefacts. Along the way, I saw a new Space Invader:

The museum was guarded by these two critters -

In the description that Anne handed out before the excursion, the phrase "gidouilles pataphysiques" was used to describe them. Neither word appeared in my regular petit Larousse. But, by means of extensive researches on the interwebs, I have been able to determine that "gidouille" apparently refers to the kind of logarithmic spiral beloved by Bernoulli, among others:

"pataphysique" ... well, do I have to do all the work around here? You could look it up yourself (hint: Le Roi Ubu).

Yvonne arrives tomorrow. So, in between NCIS reruns, there is a certain amount of cleaning and laundry going on here.

Bonne weekend !!

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