Packing Supplies

Up again for the usual Thursday schedule. Sheila looked a little better. Madame’s foot seemed to be better than it was yesterday, she was certainly cursing about it less than she was yesterday… We talked about the opera version of Les enfants terribles that we saw on Saturday, and Mme. Hersant warned us that this was the last in-depth discussion we’d have after a spectacle. We have to write an in-depth paper about the last show we see for our sitting final, and she recommended we take a lot of notes. Sheila and I practically led today’s discussion. Since I’d read the roman and I remembered a lot about the piece itself, and Sheila was getting super psycho-analaytical of the entire thing (this is what she’s decided to do her final project on), we pretty much didn’t let anyone else (save for Mme. Hersant, of course) get a word in edgewise… not that many other people tried… It was a fun class, all things said and done…

Rouge, Joan and I went to a sushi place that was near Sweet Briar. We were too cold to really check the prices before we went inside, and it was a little on the pricy side, but all sushi’s a little pricy here. What I ordered was REALLY expensive. For 16,50 euro, I got five different kinds of Yakitori (duck, two types of chicken, and two of beef), six pieces of salmon California roll, cabbage salad, miso soup, and rice. It was definitely filling! We talked a lot about Toulouse, and about how poor Joan hadn’t had dinner last night or breakfast this morning since she was cramming for the test she’d just taken…

Back to Sweet Briar for Atelier d’Écriture. Rouge left to go work on another project, so Joan and I headed back together. The elevator was just about to leave when we got there, so we ran inside. Nearly all of the buttons were pressed, including the seventh floor, but we couldn’t see who had pressed the button since the car was so full. The doors half shut, and then they shuddered, and they opened again. Joan and I heard Mme. Grée in the corner cry out “PAS ENCORE! NE PAS ÊTRE EN PANNE! LE 7e ETAGE!” (NOT AGAIN! DON’T BE OUT OF ORDER! THE 7th FLOOR!) So THAT was who had pressed the button for the seventh floor… I really love Mme. Grée, she’s too funny. While I was waiting for Atelier, she called me into the front office. “Ce n’étais pas moi, je jure!” (It wasn’t me, I swear!) The grades from Professor Bruhnes had come in and she wanted to congratulate me on my high scores. She said she was proud. I acted surprised since he’d filled out the grade sheet in front of me on Monday…

Today’s main lesson in Atelier was the difference between when you’re supposed to use l’imparfait or passé composé when dealing with the past tense. There are three cases for l’imparfait: Description or background information (“was/were _____ing” Je dormais quand le téléphone a sonné), L’habitude (“used to” L’année dernière, je prennais ma voiture pour y venir), and the description of a situation (“the way things were” J’ai vue une dame, je l’ai appelé, elle s’est retournée, mais je ne connaissais pas). There are two cases for passé composé: A single unique action, no matter how long it is (J’ai dormi toute la journée), and multiple unique, consecutive actions. That being said… Take this small paragraph in present tense, and put it in past tense. Je roule très vite. Un policier m’arrête. Il me demande mes papiers. Je ne les ai pas. The first and last sentences should be in l’imparfait, and the two in the middle should be in passé composé. The whole thing should read Je roulais très vote. Un policier m’a arrêté(e). Il m’a demandé mes papiers. Je ne les avait pas. The first sentence is in l’imparfait because it’s the “was/were ___ing” situation, you WERE driving very quickly. The second and third sentences are in passé composé because they’re both single, unique actions. The last sentence is in l’imparfait because “the way things were.” You didn’t have your papers, that’s how it was. Next quick lesson, how would you say “It’s my first time in Paris?” Most of my classmates fell into Mme. Mellado’s trap, but I narrowly avoided it. I said C’est ma première visite à Paris. It wasn’t what she really wanted (since everyone else used fois for “time”) but it totally works. The expression she wanted to teach us was C’est la première fois que je suis à Paris. Last lesson for today. To say something smells good or bad, there’s a specific expression you need to use. It’s sentir + bon/mauvais/fort (good/bad/strongly). Remember that all of those adjectives need to be treated like adverbs, and that they’re all neutral. They don’t need to agree with your subject! That being said, how would you say “Roses smell good?” Les roses sentient bon. What about “Cigarettes smell so bad?” Les clopes (that’s the slang for cigarettes) sentent si mauvais. Try this one: It smells like hot chocolate in the kitchen. Here’s where we all got tripped up. The correct translation is Ça sent le chocolat chaud dans la cuisine! You don’t need a preposition where we would put “like,” but you’d need the definitive article instead.

Sheila was waiting for me after class. She’d spent the past hour and a half correcting some of her essays. She wanted to go to H&M to buy a scarf, so she did that while I went to the post office to buy a pre-paid, flat-rate extra-large Colissimo to stuff with things to send home so I didn’t have to try to fit them in my suitcase. I bought that, and 17 more stamps for my last round of post cards, then Sheila and I headed home. She took a nap, and I packed my Colissimo. I’m more than a kilogram under the maximum weight limit (and I’m still weighing in at 115 pounds), so this package should get home just fine. I just need to buy some packaging tape to seal all of the edges to make sure it doesn’t blow apart in transit. I’m pretty sure it’ll stay shut, I just don’t want to take any chances. Madame made us two chicken cutlets with cream sauce, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner. She wasn’t going to be dining with us since she had to go over to her sister-in-law’s house to take care of some things for her mother-in-law’s funeral that’s coming up this weekend. She checked in with us about halfway through our dinner, and because Sheila and I were so hungry, we’d wolfed down most of our meal by that point. Madame smiled, and said, “Ça va, mes aspirateurs?” (How’s it going, vacuums?) I really love the fact that the whole vacuum joke isn’t getting old… I Skyped my boyfriend after dinner while I straightened up my room a little bit, so that’s always nice.

Kyle’s supposed to come over tomorrow so we can have a “homework party” and I can make a real dent in my final project for Mme. Hersant. When we take a break from all of our work tomorrow, I’m supposed to give him one of two lessons that I’ve promised him. There were three as the semester had progressed… one on how Twitter worked, another on how to dance in a club-like setting, and the last on how to act with a straight face (this came about after his acting debut that you can see here). I gave him the Twitter lesson a few weeks ago, and he’s picked the acting lesson for tomorrow. That should be interesting…

Ne m’interrompez point, mes enfants! je pense donc que vous-savez qui nous sommes. -Marivaux: L’île des esclaves

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