Posts Tagged ‘Wanderings’

So, break has started. I know, because I have been sleeping a lot, eating well, reading much and watching a lot of “Monk” on my computer. All of these are good things, but they will not last forever — meaning today and tomorrow and beyond I must start doing more homework and other such things.

And know this, dear readers, I HAVE finished my narrowly defined reading work today, meaning that all I have left is the more tenuous and vague essay research and feature story writing, which is difficult. But that’s for the rest of the week.

Friday saw me getting break started off right, with a journey to the famous Opèra Comique, the building where Bizet’s “Carmen” first premiered more than a century ago. Along with a random assortment of American/Canadian/Egyptian friends, I went to see Hector Berlioz’s “Béatrice et Bénédict,” an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”

It was a really lovely production, albeit a little strange and too fixated on the staging decision to use a “puppet show” theme for everything. Basically, there was this little English tramp man  — who also apparently wrote this adaptation, who knew? — who read things out loud in English form the original Shakespeare script, and who would then hit his cane on the stage and move about the singers, making them carry out the parts of the story that he could not. It worked, on the whole, but the decision to use the puppet theme resulted in some rather unfortunate — read, heavy thick and ugly — makeup decisions.

But the singers were superb, the story was cute — just the story of the embittered and embattled lovers and their subplot, not the complicated shaming of Hero bit — and I could understand the vast majority of the spoken French dialogue and sung French text, which was nice.

We followed up our opèra adventure with some late night café conversation, which was lovely.

Saturday was more winning all around, starting off with some reading, running and “Monk” watching and ending with some random wanderings around the Jardin des Tuileries and Montmarte and a french-toast and egg and madeleine and butterscotch dinner party, complete with much delicious wine and intelligent conversation. By the end of the night, the apartment we had chosen to dine in was full of people, and we all felt very adult and very French and very full.

Sunday was a lazy day, with me exhausting my food supplies once and for all, watching more “Monk,” meeting a friend for drinks and catching up with the Amero-Canadian bunch at a funky bar in the 5th to watch the final Olympic hockey match between the US and Canada.

The bar was overwhelmingly pro-Canada, which wasn’t surprising, but it was fun to watch the game and cheer awkwardly and proudly when the US scored. There were several large groups of slightly inebriated French people who eyed us suspiciously when we started chanting, “USA! USA! USA!” towards the end of regulation game time when Team America pulled out one final goal to force the game into overtime. That same group was quick to tell us, in French, “Tough shit!” when Canada won a couple of minutes in overtime.

But no matter. It was a winning weekend, and I spent very little money on food and entertainment, and still managed to have a lovely and all-around great time.

On the metro home last night, I discussed my feelings on the month of February with a friend. We both agreed that this past February was perhaps the fastest and least awful February we could remember, which was surprising.

Does this mean I’m actually, without question, becoming happy here? Just when things get frustrating and too too much — I owe money, the bank calls me to try but not actually succeed at explaining why they haven’t given me my account yet, I spend too much money on weekend food outings, I miss my family, etc — I realize that February was a good month, and I can only imagine that March, April and May are going to be even better, considering that SPRING is coming! And is here! And friends are coming to visit! And my parents will be here in less than a month!

Joy, joy, infinite joy.

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So, if you’ve been following this blog lately, you’ve probably noticed an unsettling downtrend spiral in my life. It’s subtle, of course, but I know you smart cookies out there reading this, so you’ve probably been a little upset by the posts where my grand daily victories included such difficult tasks as ‘buying bread’, ‘making dinner,’ and ‘going for a run.’

While, dear readers, NOT TODAY. Today was the beginning of everything else. Or at least, I think it was.

Today, the journalism program I am enrolled in at Sciences Po finally had its opening meeting — small cookies, soda, juice and awkward mingling in a large and echoing room — which, for all its lack of grandiosity, was still something to do. And as such, this day was just full of minor, but varied, victories of a sort.

I left the house before noon — victory! — walked across the city to school — victory! — spent a few hours in Shakespeare & Company — victory! — didn’t have enough money to buy course packs for my classes — not a victory! — and drank a lot of cheap campus coffee — many small victories in a row! In all, by the time four o’clock rolled around, I was really pretty victorious and accomplished.

The gathering, while awkward, was nice, and the other students are a pretty varied bunch. Graham and I, from UNC, four kids from Missouri-Columbia, a girl from China, a French-Irish girl, a Canadian, an Australian and apparently a Russian, an Israeli and a Thai who were yet to arrive in Paris. We made small talk, got a small tour of l’Ecole de Journalisme, and were encouraged to find questions to ask the officials in charge.  None of us had any, of course, but it was still nice to know that someone cared about our complete and total lack of information regarding our program here.

A quick overview of the course work — sounds interesting and challenging — and then we were let free to wander. A couple of us went out for dinner at a little café in the neighborhood — under 10 Euro for a sandwich, salad and coffee! Victory! — and then I walked home in the semi-rain.

Now, I might read a little and prepare for the equally victorious and purpose-driven day that awaits me tomorrow. A visit back to school to buy course packs! A trip to the Musée d’Orsay with a French friend! An evening with Victoria, cooking dinner and seeing a movie! — La Princesse et la Grenouille? Un film français? Qui sait? — Running! Eating! Sleeping! So many victories!

I guess, the real message of this snarky post is that, yes, things are starting to happen more in my life. I am figuring out how much money I can spend each day, if any, and how to stock my cupboard, and where things are, and CLASSES ARE ABOUT TO START!, so hopefully I will have more fun and exciting days of work ahead.

I have never wanted something to start so urgently as I want these classes to start.

Stay tuned for more victories! Art museums? Dinner? French birthday parties? All in good time, dear readers, all in good time…

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