Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
First, I spent an entire day at the Sorbonne registering for my spring semester which runs through the end of May. Last semester, I took the program that included 20 hours/week of grammar courses, phonetics courses and optional conferences (literature, film, French civilization). I barely made it to my required classes (grammar/phonetics) let alone found the time to go to the conferences—it’s a shame, it seemed like they would have been the most interesting classes. But with my work schedule (and budding social life?), I don’t have time to take all of the classes offered so I wanted to switch to a 12 hour/week program which would save me a good deal of money, free up my schedule and not require me to wake up at 6am every morning to go to school. But there’s a silly requirement that a foreign student must be enrolled in 20 hours of courses per week in order to qualify for a French visa; so basically I’m paying extra for the privilege to remain in this country legally. Sweet.
Anyway, once that was out of the way, I had to study for my final. A 3 hour exam on all the things I was supposed to have learned this semester… too bad I didn’t start paying attention till the last week of class. So I spent the night before the test cramming until midnight with a couple classmates and teaching myself the difference between passé composé and imparfait. My final was on Saturday afternoon in a massive building on the outskirts of Paris. There were about 50 rooms in the building, with each room holding 300 students. 4 pages of vocab/grammer short answer questions; 1 dictation; 1 composition where you had to describe a person you like for 2 pages (yes, I wrote about B).
It was tough! Everyone walked out of the room totally shaken and unsure about how they did… 3 hours seemed like a long time at first but it wasn’t enough! There must have been about 5 questions that I left unanswered... oh well. Our results will be posted on February 7th. I have friends who have to pass the test in order to stay in the country… and if they fail, they owe their government (who paid for the program and their living expenses) about 5,000€. Thankfully, I don’t need to pass—enrolling at a school is just a cover to stay in the country and the Sorbonne is a nice, prestigious name to put on the resume when I start job hunting next year. Passing would be nice though!
(courtyard at the Sorbonne)
Friday, January 18, 2008
Anyway, his farewell party was 2 weeks ago at a tiny bar near my apt. B was there too—his best friend is good friends with the Rocker. I was a bit nervous b/c all of the Rocker’s friends (the cute French boys that I’ve come to know from house parties, clubs and such) would be there—and since I’m never with B, they always take the liberty of acting really flirty/touchy-feely with me. We dance, play drinking games, that kind of thing. It’s all in good fun of course; just not the kind of fun I’d like to have in front of the bf… and there are a couple who have asked me out. Plus, I know what the Rocker is like and all our silly flirting is just how our [strictly platonic] relationship works. I just didn’t want him to say anything stupid in front of B.
But of course, he does it. In front of everyone, in front of B, he gives me a big, long hug and bisous and says, “I love you, my darling. If I could, I would marry you. And that’s no New York bullsh*t”, looks at me for a couple seconds, rubs my cheek and walks away. And I’m just like, uhh… and peek over at B out of the corner of my eye and he’s shaking his head and has this slight smirk on his face. Not sure what that meant…
Then, throughout the night, all of the Rocker’s friends came over to say hello, give me a hug & bisous, chat or try to get me to dance and I would make a point of immediately saying, “This is my boyfriend B” so they wouldn’t say/do anything foolish. The funniest reply I got from one of the boys was: “Wow, your bf is really good looking”. B’s only comment about the whole thing was a tight-lipped, “Well, you have a lot of friends here… how do you know these guys?” He’s a good boyfriend.
Anyway, I’m really sad the Rocker is gone! Apparently he was hanging out with Eva & Julien the night before the party. And at the party Eva told me, “The Rocker really loves you. He was talking about you all night”. He really is a sweetheart. Aside from the drugs, sex-craziness, ADD, insanity he’s an amazing person. He introduced me to some amazing, lifelong friends, he nearly got me arrested, he took me to some really fun parties… and I could always count on him for a phone call at midnight on a Wednesday screaming, “What are you doing?! Sleeping?! Get the fu*k up and come meet me at this bar!” lol, he is an original, that’s for sure—it’s so funny that our first night together would turn into this great friendship. Saying our goodbyes that night, the Rocker told me I have to stop by China and see him when I do my Southeast Asia trip this fall (yes, I'm going backpacking for a couple months, more on that later)… maybe I will! Me and the Rocker partying in Shanghai, now that would be one for the storybooks!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Anyway, we’re all hanging out in his place, drinking, dancing (minus myself) and chatting. They actually turned out to be sweet so the night wasn’t a complete nightmare—it was actually a lot of fun. We ended the night with more drinks at Favela Chic. Around midnight, we left the bar and Grapes offered to walk me home. He put his friend in a cab and we walked to my apartment and the discussion turned to B… more about my needing to break up with him and date other people. At one point he told me that he wanted someone too so I should find him a girlfriend and I said, “No, I quite like you being single” and he said, “Right, so I can wait for you”. I was a bit tipsy :o) Strange thing: it turns out that we’ll both be in New York at the same time. He’s going to be in NYC for business in a couple weeks and it just so happens that it’s the same week that I’m there… can’t wait to hang out with him on my turf.
Today, B and I had lunch and he asked me what I did last night so I told him I hung out with Grapes… he was not happy. Particularly after I mentioned that we would be in New York at the same time. Ah well… I just learned that Mr. B and his “friendly neighbor” were hanging out again the night before. Not sure if I’ve mentioned her before, but this is the girl who lives across the hall from him. The one who was looking at me crooked the night B and I kissed for the first time; every time I spoke to him she would give me the evil stare and I assumed she was his girlfriend… turns out she’s just a very friendly neighbor. Anyway, she likes to stop by his place at 2am to ask for help moving a heavy piece of furniture or ask for aspirin. Who, pray tell, knocks on someone’s door at 2am to ask for casual favors? Needless to say, I don’t trust the bit*h. So maybe this was my way of kind of getting back at B (in a completely subconscious way, of course)… totally immature and stupid, I know…
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Then this morning, I'm lying in bed reading 'Jazz' by Toni Morrison and there are all these references to New York and I remembered the things that still take my breath away when I'm home: driving into the city over the Brooklyn Bridge, walking down East 7th Street at sunrise on a Sunday morning... These passages reminded me of my love affair with New York and I wanted to share a few:
"You have to understand what it's like, taking on a big city: I'm exposed to all sorts of ignorance and criminality. Still, this is the only life for me. I like the way the City makes people think they can do what they want and get away with it." (pg 8)
"They weren't there yet and already the City was speaking to them. They were dancing. And like a million others, chests pounding, tracks controlling their feet, they stared out the windows for the first sight of the City that danced with them, proving already how much it loved them. Like a million more they could hardly wait to get there and love it back." (pg 32)
"Like the others, they were country people, but how soon country people forget. When they fall in love with a city, it is forever, and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn't love it. The minute they arrive at the train station or get off the ferry and glimpse the wide streets and the wasteful lamps lighting them, they know they are born for it. There, in a city, they are not so much new as themselves: their stronger, riskier selves." (pg 33)
And this was a nice little quote about love:
"I envy them their public love. I myself have only known it in secret, shared it in secret and longed, aw longed to show it-- to be able to say out loud what they have no need to say at all: That I have loved only you, surrendered my whole self reckless to you and nobody else. That I want you to love me back and show it to me. That I love the way you hold me, how close you let me be to you. I like your fingers on and on, lifting, turning. I have watched your face for a long time now, and missed your eyes when you went away from me. Talking to you and hearing you answer-- that's the kick." (pg 229)
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
"I love the article. This is definitely what I am looking for. This is the kind of article that will fit well."
The issue hits newsstands in April/May and will probably be online too, so I'll let you all know as soon as it comes out! Fun!
Friday, January 4, 2008
Let me begin by stating an interesting fact:
That being said, the trip was absolutely phenomenal! I never thought I’d have a chance to get to
My flight was at on December 26th which put me into Tozeur around . As soon as I stepped off the plane, I was greeted with beautiful sunshine, 70 degree weather, bright blue skies and palm trees. Once through customs, I got into the 4x4 that would take me to the hotel. The hotel itself was pretty blah. It looked great on the outside, but the rooms had just the bare minimum, which was pretty shabby and cheap looking at that. But hey, you get what you pay for! I was just praying that I wouldn’t get “The London Rash” (Paula and I got eaten alive by bedbugs in our hotel in
Day 1: I spent the day wandering around Tozeur. The hotel was at the top of Avenue Touristique, the main strip lined with shops and restaurants. I walked to the end of town and back again which took about 2 hours since I was constantly stopped by someone trying to sell me something or propose marriage (those Tunisian men are no joke… I can’t count the number of times I heard: “Gazelle! Where you from? African?” and I respond: “No, American”, to get back: “Ooohh
Day 2: Went to a museum, then I walked to the shopping district and picked up a bunch of knickknacks. I bought two jellebas (where in hell am I going to wear those? The vendor told me they’d be chic for a summer night in
Day 3: Full day trip stopping at significant points on along the way to Douz, gateway to the
Chott El Jerid (the Salt Lake)
Day 4: Our flight departed at . IN THE MORNING! Who in their right mind decided to schedule a flight take off that early? For what purpose? Anyway, it was pretty funny because the organizer didn’t want to tell us when the flight was scheduled to leave until the very last second. For days I kept asking and he was just like, “Don’t worry, I’ll let you know soon. But you’re confirmed”. I guess he didn’t want to ruin the trip with the bad news until the end. Anyway, we got back to
One funny thing was the reaction that I got from the French women while I was there (about 90% of the people staying in my hotel were French). Now French women in general aren’t the warmest and friendly people on earth, but try being a single girl alone on a vacation where NO ONE else is alone. Talk about being given the cold shoulder—all those women were so suspicious, they seriously thought I had some kind of ulterior motive for being there! Meanwhile, the men were very nice, offering to have me join them and their family for breakfast or dinner; and if I ever did take them up on the offer, I was given the death stare the entire time by the woman. It was nuts! They totally thought I was some hooch out to steal their husband/boyfriend! Pretty funny.
But anyway, the trip was great. It’s interesting to see the lives of the people who live in the 3rd world—makes me think of how much the rest of us have. We have so many ways to amuse ourselves its pretty ridiculous. Meanwhile, in a country like
*While I was in
ps-- sorry to all you smokers who will have to stand outside in the cold now
Thursday, January 3, 2008
the fabulous Ms. Anne-Cecile