Out and About

Going to bed at 11 when you don’t have to get up until 10 has its perks. I woke up at 9:30 all on my own. I was dressed when Sheila and I had breakfast, and I had the table all set when she came out. We took our sweet time, which was fine for me, but not so much for poor Sheila. She had to take a speed shower, and despite that, I was still the last one to finish getting ready (but not by much)! I still had the pasta from yesterday that I couldn’t eat, so I had that for lunch… along with about three cups of vending machine tea (much better than it sounds) since I think I’m starting to come down with something. Joan missed her first weekly session of Atelier d’Écriture yesterday since she was moving out, so she decided she’d sit in on mine to make up for it. We both had a few errands we needed to run, so we decided we’d do them together after class. I wanted to go by Sephora to get some conditioner and body wash since I’m running out, and Joan needed to go by the post office and by SFR (for the third time today) to work out her contract.

Atelier was interesting. We corrected a worksheet from Thursday on all of the pronouns, and I royally messed it up. I got all of the pronouns right, I just had them in all the wrong places. If I hadn’t done that… I’d fallen into one of Mme. Mellado’s infamous pieges (traps). She’d write a sentence that would say something like “Vous vous… whatever…” and there’d be a verb or an adjective that would have to agree with the subject, so it would have an “s” on the end of it, which meant that it couldn’t possibly be “je” when you replied (for the record, it’s nous), but no one ever sees that dang “s” so there’s your trap… Vie de merde. The actual LESSONS we got today involved the verb parvenir which means the same thing as arriver which is “to arrive” but it’s a much prettier (and more French) way of saying it. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU USE PARVENIR. There’s a bit of a piege with this verb. Look at it closely, do you see the trap? Allow me to write it again. Parvenir. Think back to your French II class. Dr. Mrs. P. Vandertramp. That silly acrostic you used to remember what verbs you’re supposed to use être with (as opposed to avoir) when you put them in the passé composé. Venir is one of those verbs, isn’t it? Guess what, if you stick something in front of a “Vandertramp Verb” (as I call them), you don’t “undo” it’s “Vandertramp” status. Parvenir, revenir, etcetera, they all use être in the passé composé. We revisited the whole “such a guy” lesson from last week since we didn’t finish it. In English, we can stick adjectives into that phrase and get away with it, like “such a stupid guy.” Remember, the phrase for “…such a _____” in French is “un tel/une telle/de tels/de telles” but (as Mme. Mellado says) that phrase is a little egotistical and only likes being used by itself, so if we’re going to properly translate a phrase like “such a stupid guy” we have to use a completely different phrase. Specifically the formula article + nom + aussi + adjectif. So, “such a guy” is “un tel mec.” and “such a stupid guy” is “un mec aussi stupide.” What happens when you have an adjective that follows the BAGS rule (adjectif antéposé)? You can use the formula article + aussi + adjectif antéposé + nom so that you follow that rule… but you’ll hear the first formula all the time because it’s STRONGER. Saying “it’s such a beautiful house” can be written with the proper rule (the second formula): “une aussi belle maison” but since the adjective comes last in the first formula, the phrase sounds a little stronger: “une maison aussi belle.” Frankly, I like following the BAGS rule… The last thing we learned has to do with how to translate the phrase “I spent (however long) doing something.” The phrase we were told to translate was “I spent the whole night reading that stupid book.” The correct translation is “J’ai passé tout la nuit (ou la nuit entière) à lire ce livre stupide.” To say that you spent (or spend) whatever length of time you want to, you use the expression passer du temps à + infinitif. When I use “du temps” that just means whatever length of time you need to explain, which could mean a lifetime, an hour, a night, whatever you need to describe.

After class, Joan and I convinced Katie (friend of Joan and Kyle’s from their college) to run our errands with us. We stopped by Sephora first, and tested a whole bunch of perfumes. I have a coupon that’ll get me a miniature version of Yves Saint Laurent’s new Manifesto perfume if I buy one of the larger versions of it, so I wanted to test it out. I LOVE how it smells! The coupon doesn’t work until November, and I’m sure I have enough of my body spray to last me until then, so that’s about… 70 euro I have to save… but that’s cheaper than the perfume will probably go for back home. I bought some conditioner and body wash, then Joan got some mascara and some bobby pins, but we thought we were still a little short for getting the $5 gift card that you get when you spend $45 and show your Passe Imagin R (year long version of Passe Navigo), so I picked up another 5 euro nail polish to make sure we were over the limit. Joan gave me the gift card and paid me back for her mascara so we were even. We stopped by the post office so Joan could send off her ballot, then we went to SFR so Joan could finish out her contract. The woman she was working with was a little mean to her since she’d been in there before and Joan was having trouble understanding everything, so we figured if we went in with her, she’d have backup. The woman would explain something to Joan (like for a euro more each month, she could choose two numbers to have an extra hour of calling time for), then Joan would say she didn’t want that, and the woman would say that Joan must not have understood her. We finally got it taken care of, then Joan decided we should go sit at a nearby cafe, have a glass of wine, and people watch. It was about six by that time, but we sat down, and it took the waiter forever to just bring us menus… which were in English… which we found a little rude… We decided on splitting a small carafe of wine and a cheese plate… which we would have ordered if the waiter ever came back… We ended up just leaving at about 6:30.

Katie and Joan
View from the café

OPEN ALL THE DAYS! …if he’d just given us the French menu, I wouldn’t have to criticize…

I headed home after that, and I beat Madame by all of three minutes. Dinner was delicious! We had porkchops with a crème fraiche gravy and sautéed bell peppers to put on top (iffy for me since those usually repeat on me, but they were good), and pommes frites (French fries) on the side. She asked us if we’d been a few different places, and we said we hadn’t been there yet, so we got moderately scolded a little. Madame said that she doesn’t understand how we can live in Paris and not go explore after we’re done with classes. We tell her we’re tired, and her response is “You have two hours of class a day, and you’re tired?” …and I can’t argue with that. She asked if we weren’t exploring the city because we didn’t like it! What in the world?! She told us we should make a little list of places we want to/should go visit in Paris, then start checking things off of the list on weekends at least. Class is absolutely exhausting because it’s in a different language, and do I really have the energy to go explore… Place de Concorde (for example) after four straight hours of class at Paris III tomorrow? Good lord no, even though that class is done at 1 PM. Sheila said it best, she finally said “I’m afraid to answer” as Madame kept naming specific places in Paris to see if we’d been there…

I hate Wednesdays… which would be tomorrow…

Les doutes sont fâcheux plus que toute autre chose. Molière: Le Misanthrope

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