The value of the McFlurry

Thank goodness for Nyquil. I definitely got some good sleep last night with… whatever it is that’s ailing me. Allergies, whatever I got from Typhoid Mary yesterday… who knows. I was ready to leave when Sheila and I had breakfast at eight. We left at 8:30 for the metro-ride from hell… which wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected it to be. It wasn’t as bad as it was last week, at least. Sheila was able to get a seat on the ligne 3 train, and both of us were able to get seats on the ligne 12 train. It seems as though leaving right at 8:30 meant that we somehow missed a giant flood of people by all of 5-10 minutes… There are two girls from Northwestern (I think) that are also theatre majors that are in the mise en scene class with me and Sheila on Thursday mornings. They’ve both been having a lot of trouble finding a introduction de jeu théâtral class to take together since they went to one yesterday and the professor refused to accept them into the class since there were already “too many” students. They asked me how many students there were in mine, and if there would be much of a chance of them getting into it. I gave them all the information I could, so they’re going to talk to Mme. Grée, try to email my professor to ask if they can come into the class, memorize monologues to get up to speed, and see if that works.

We learned a lot about Molière writing other little pieces to get back at the censors of the day and age. He didn’t have much trouble with them regarding L’École des Femmes (certainly not nearly as much as Tartuffe), but he did write his own critique of the piece (aptly called La Critique de l’École des Femmes) that would typically go directly at the end of the actual show, so a spectator would see both pieces in one sitting. This is called metatheatre, since it’s using theatre to describe/talk about theatre. We also talked about the idea of mise en abyme which is when something is placed within itself, like how the image of the Laughing Cow (the icon of the cheese of the same name) is placed in the cow’s earrings, or how your image endlessly repeats itself when you have two mirrors that are placed on opposite walls. Mise en abyme shows up in theatre when you have a play within a play, like when the acting troupe comes to visit the castle in Hamlet and puts on Hamlet’s modified play to guilt the king into admitting that he killed Hamlet’s father, or in farces like Noises Off and Drop Dead, which are both shows about plays that are being put on. We’re going to see La Critique de l’École des Femmes next Wednesday.

Joan was in the library of Sweet Briar when I came out of the class, so we went to a nearby Traiteur Asiatique to get some lunch. I had some beef with onions and curry rice, and Joan had some duck that wasn’t nearly as good as the duck I had at the place by my house. Suzannah came to Sweet Briar while we were eating, and Joan gave her the duck since she decided she didn’t want it. I headed back up after a while to go to my Atelier d’Écriture class.

To say something is “about” something else, as in subject matter, you have to use the formula il s’agit de + nom. It’s a little bit like the subjunctive when you’re always using il faut que and you follow that with another subject, the verb (s’agir) is ALWAYS in the “il” form, and that’s that. Even if your noun is feminine, that il stays put, you don’t change it to elle. That’s got to go in the middle of the sentence, whatever the thing you’re talking about is goes in front of it, and that’s going to be preceeded by dans (most of the time). Thus, “this article is about the death penalty” becomes “dans cet article il s’agit de la peine de mort.” You can use il s’agit de in another formula… add an infinitive on the end (il s’agit de + infinitif) and you’ve got something very similar to the subjunctive in meaning, but it’s not quite as strong. If you ever hear someone tell you “Il s’agit de trouver une solution! they’ve just said “It’s necessary to find a solution!” If you ever hear a French person say “eventuellement,” don’t think they said “eventually” because they didn’t. They just said “possibly.” If you want to say “eventually,” you should say “finalement.” Be careful, if you’re going to say that you eventually did something, it’s better to use the expression finir par + infinitif. Thus, “after two hours, we eventually found the exit” is “après deux heures, nous avons fini par trouver le sortie.” We went over a few tiny things after that, namely some adverbs of quantity: beaucoup is the opposite of peutrop is the opposite of pas assez, etcetera. Adverbs of intensity get a little more complicated… There are three: tellement, tant, and si. They work in four different cases, which I’ll give you in a moment. I’ll use tellement in all four, since it works in all four. I’ll tell you where the other two work after that.
Case 1) Verb: Il travaille tellement! (He works so much!)
Case 2) Noun: Il boit tellement de café! (He drinks so much coffee!) Il mange tellement de fraises! (He eats so many strawberries!)
Case 3) Adjective: Il est tellement gentil! (He’s so nice!)
Case 4) Adverb: Il parle tellement vite! (He speaks so fast!)
Tant and si mean the same thing as tellement in each of these situations, but tant only works in cases 1 & 2, and si only works in cases 3 & 4.

Rouge and Sheila were hanging out in the library for me, and we were all waiting for Kyle. Rouge and Sheila hadn’t had lunch at all, so they were hoping to go get food when Kyle came by. We’ve finally managed to get the hang of speaking French in the library, but we were being a little loud, so Mme. Grée came by to give us a scolding of a different kind… “I change my mind, I’m very happy that you’re speaking French I don’t care if you speak Chinese, Italian, or French, but you’ve got to speak it a little softer. There’s a class going on in the next room!” She was really kind about it, though. I’m starting to really like her! Despite the fact that we’d been to MacDo yesterday (even if it was without Rouge and Kyle, and it was a different MacDo), that’s where we went today. I’d had lunch, so while Kyle, Rouge, and Sheila all had royals (Quarter Pounders) with cheese, I had a McFlurry. I noticed something a little odd… When I had the McFlurry at the MacDo by Kyle’s metro stop, it cost me 3,15 euro. This one only cost me 2,50! Kyle lives in a pretty rich suburb of Paris, that’s for sure, so I’m now on a mission to see if the prices change within the limits of Paris, and I’m using the McFlurry as my unit of measurement. I’m sure stranger things have been done. We all headed home after that.

I had a little cat nap when I got home, and I puttered around online reading all sorts of nonsense, namely Newsweek articles about women and other sorts of things. Evidently, only 7% of Hollywood’s directors are female. I could make a comment regarding how only the good movies come from the female directors, but I’ll leave that alone for now. I realize I’m planning on entering a heavily testosterone-impacted field for a career, but that’s not phasing me. Frankly, I think that part of the world could use a little estrogen and female finesse. You don’t need to go blowing things up and carving swastikas into people’s heads to make good movies. MEN! Reading the article at the end of that link definitely gave me a little inspiration to continue on my path. Maybe one day, a Newsweek article all about me will show up, and I’ll get to be on the front cover… if not, I’ll definitely spring for one of those whole “150 Women Who Are Shaking Things Up” spreads.

Madame outdid herself with dinner tonight. We had a carrot salad for entrée, which is never my favorite just because I don’t like carrots, but I ate it anyway, and then we had saumon en papillote again, but this recipe was a little different. She did it with leeks, and she’d made that cream sauce to go with it, along with some baked potatoes. She even commented on how Sheila and I were “calme” at the table tonight because we were so concentrated on our meals. As a result, we didn’t do too much talking, but we did talk about our university back home a little bit.

My big sister and I figured out how to get the hangouts on Google+ to work so that we could eventually have “line dates” with my little when she gets her own account since I haven’t had much of a chance to talk to her since I’ve been abroad. I’d talked to my boyfriend a bit before all that. Sheila and I almost caught the last showing of Taken 2 with Kyle at 10:30 at the cinemas near his house, but I was already in my pajamas (for one), and I figured it might be cheaper if we went tomorrow morning or early afternoon than if we went now, since the evening shows are more expensive back home.

We’ve got to do something interesting tomorrow. We’ve got a free day, and we need to make the most of it to impress Madame so she can stop saying that we hate culture and Paris… Crap. We need to pack for Normandy too! That’s this weekend!

C’est un merveilleux assaisonnement aux plaisirs qu’on goûte que la présence des gens qu’on aime. -Molière: Le Misanthrope

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