mercredi 28 janvier 2009

The Euro and the Metro

So, you know what is a really cool way to start your day?  After hearing an alarm clock go off at 7:30, you hit the snooze.  Five minutes later, same.  So, then you put the alarm under your blanket so it is muffled...and you repeat the snooze deal about four more times.  Eight, you get up and get ready, walk to school, and get put in the "salle verte" (green room) with several other students for your first day of intensive French language class.  Are we five, or do we also have to color code the mailboxes?  I think numbers work internationally just fine...

Anyhow, our teacher, "the lady with the big hair", or Domenique, was so nice and smily that early in the morning.  The class was not as compliant, as we sat there with morbid faces looking either like we might die or that if we could produce fire with our eyeballs, that we would burn the building down.  Though the content was neither difficult nor challenging, I am pretty sure the word boring came to me several times.  How many times have I learned the past tense, yes...EVERY form of past tense?  Once a year for about 8 years, so I think I am OK to talk about my past.  

The class was a little awkward, as to be expected, with everyone nervous to make mistakes.  Well, I don't really care if I make mistakes because that is the only way one truly learns.  My first question I was asked, I answered incorrectly.  My only critique of this course is that I know my weaknesses and so I would like to work on certain things.  Also, we found out we will be translating (ok, not bad), but we will not be doing any oral work.  Am I not in France to ameliorate my ability to do just that?  I was a little disappointed.

After two hours of this, and mind you, I did not have watch to actually monitor the time passing so I felt two years older by 11, I got to return to my apartment until 2.  I was excited because I planned on doing an hour of yoga, showering, eating own activities at my leisure.  During my sun salutation, I had the pleasure of turning around to see two French men standing in my door watching me.  What the hell?  I shut the door.  Well, apparently Carol (and we all know Carol as the RA who loves duvets), scheduled an appointment for maintenance without notifying me or my roommate.  They were here to fix the closet door, which when moved right or left, fell off.  I thought the toilette that is always running is more of a dire problem, but I was obviously wrong.  

Back to yoga.  It was nice to do something challenging for my upper body as walking is the primary form of Parisian exercise.  I went back to school for a session on "psychological" adjustment, basically a time to complain if something is not going perfect.  I just sat there and really didn't have much to say.  The man in charge asked me if I was, no...I just think this is stupid.  I did enjoy however walking around the area of Paris where our one school location is situated.  We found new boulevards to explore and more crowded areas to frequent.

Yesterday, we had totally irrelevant meetings (yes, even more of them).  I understand though...IES wants to cover their butts just in case and from stories, I cannot blame them.  Fortunately for the smarter half of the population, we will be just fine.  Don't take "the drug of the rape" in fear, French children are raised in fear...Way to inspire my confidence Bertrand!

One new adventure though was last night.  Katie and I took the metro to the 17e arrondissement where we met another student, Alex, for dinner.  Sitting at a cafe that Picasso was said to have frequented, we shared some wine and stories.  We laughed a lot because Alex got locked in the bathroom and tried calling us each about three times...but we don't pay attention to our phones, so we had no idea.  We decided to eat dinner elsewhere and started to wander.  Up the street (in my new boots, I was getting a blister on my left ankle, so that was pleasant), and back down because it was a dead end...keep going.  Is that guy peeing while four hundred people walk by?  I look in a shop window, hardly paying attention to all of the bright lights and crowded sidewalks, and see lingerie.  Nice.  

Then  I look up and read the blaring neon signs "Rebecca's Palace."  Oh, what's that?  That's my name...wait, it's a whorehouse.  Yes, we got to walk down what I would call the Red District of Paris.  Sex houses, strip bars, "exotic dancers" (or another fancy name for stripper), and again, was interesting.  Katie and I told Alex that he would be staying close by until we were safe near normal people.  We stopped off at a little restaurant off of the main street.  After ordering and bantering with the garcon, we all ordered.  Indian food!  Man, gotta love it.  Katie got a French sandwich (I tried it and it was good), and Alex got rooster (I did not, in fact, try this).  We were served by a cross dresser who smiled and loved that we were American!  Sweetness, I liked him!

So we are waiting for tomorrow, a day when Paris will be essentially useless.  Everything is shut down for a strike organized by unions and government workers.  The postal service, the metro, buses, and more will shut down in an attempt to rationalize with their government over "what 10 Euros can buy."  Let me elaborate.  Parisians feel that goods and services are becoming too expensive and that what you can buy for 10 Euros is decreasing.  As an economics student, I would love to just memo over one word:  recession.  

I know, brilliant.  All I know is that the dollar is now about .73 instead of .67 to the Euro, so I am sadly, happy about this!

1 commentaire:

  1. Loved reading about this in more detail.

    I'm sorry we haven't had a chance to connect, I know you wanted to ask me about Ireland!