Friday, October 2, 2009

last boring post for a while, I promise

Good news on the bureaucracy front: I have a French bank account with 150 euros in at, and a beautiful, beautiful debit card with the European “puce” (chip). All of my CAF forms, my residency card crap and my student metro pass forms are officially in and connected to said bank account, so it’s only a matter of time before the rent refund comes rolling in (…only to roll back out again to fund my transportation, of course, but c’est la vie.)

I had my last official class today (I will also have tutorials and participate in themed colloquiums, but those aren’t graded). It was a textual analysis class with the Oxford-esque professor Gengembre from orientation, whom I now love even more. He is absolutely brilliant: one of those people that seems to know at least a little bit about everything but somehow still treats us like educational peers. I realized today that I must be developing some sort of unconscious sense of the tu/vous divide, because when Gengembre's response to me having a question was "je vous écoute," (I'm listening to you, formal) I felt inexplicably flattered.

What I have learned about myself this week: 1) I’m too old to be afraid of teachers any more (in awe of the great ones, always, but even those were where I am now at some point) 2) I’m too smart to be intimidated by other smart students—it’s a blessing to have classmates you can actually talk to and that contribute to class. 3) My French ia not as good as I want it to be, but it will get better (and in all honesty it will probably never be as perfect as I’d like) and in the meantime I have a good command of the language and a decent accent in spite of the occasional misconjugation or mangled “R”. 4) This is my life, my degree, completely my choice to be here. Undergrad never felt this liberated and self-directed. My actual time spent in class isn’t that much, and this year is really dependent on me investing myself as I see fit reading/experiencing Paris to develop a decent “big picture” of the history of French literature. Wow.

That may all seem obvious, but it wasn’t to me a few weeks ago.

Tomorrow: free day trip/lunch with the undergrads to Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Chateau. Next post should hopefully include pictures of that, as well as more info on the “fun” things I’ve been doing (since I realize not everyone defines French lit as “fun.” Your loss, really).

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're going to have an amazing year! I'm jealous you're learning so much without me... Have once again taken out my calculus text book just to keep my brain functioning. Sadly, waiting doesn't involve much learning. Though, evesdropping on a conversation at work on Thursday I learned some of Alexander the Greats cavalry techniques... Maybe I do learn something at work...