I figured that, since today wasn't super interesting, I would just do a general comparison blog. This is probably better since I won't be able to write tomorrow - the CUPA staff is taking us all to Lyon to eat traditional French food (pork cheek soup, cow's heads, roasted rabbit, tripe...yum!). Just one thing about what I did today - I went inside l'ENS and it was awesome! The courtyard on the inside is so pretty, but it will be prettier after winter is over. I didn't take a picture because I didn't want to look like a tourist at a school, but here's wikipedia's picture of the courtyard when it's nice. The fish in the pond are called Ernests!
In the subway every day, I get to see a lot of French people, and they look different than Americans, but I can't figure out why. There's just something about their faces that's different. They have different expressions and different mannerisms. Plus, their language is beautiful! So far, I think my French has really progressed as far as comprehension goes. I can pretty much understand everything they're saying, whereas at first, it seemed like they were talking really quickly. Every now and then, there's a word I don't know, but I can always figure it out or look it up later. But, I think I'm still lacking a fluidity when I talk. My accent's pretty good, and no one seems to have a problem with that, but sometimes, when I don't know what to say, I really lose my train of thought. I need to start saying "fin" instead of "uh" because that's what French people seem to do.
Yesterday, I found it really interesting to meet a French person who was so in love with the United States. He wanted to get rid of his accent completely and make sure he had all his prepositions correct before he went back again. He's going to go to NYC, then Las Vegas. He probably shouldn't lose his accent, though, because don't American girls love French accents? France is just so different from America. They really have a culture here, whereas the American culture is just a mix of other ones. Sure, there is a lot of American stuff here - movies (everyone's seen Avatar except me...), food (my host brother, Pierre, loves ketchup), and a lot of them speak English. But it just seems like they have such pride in being French and doing things the "French way" and I don't really think we have that in America. Everyone does things differently and people try their best to be different. There's such a huge difference between every school and how people learn in the United States, whereas in France, it seems more standard. Plus, they don't think upper-level education is for everyone so pretty much everything is determined by that one huge test. Now, that seems like it would be too nerve-wracking, but I suppose it makes sense in a way.
Okay, I won't write tomorrow, but on Sunday, I'll have pictures of Lyon and "traditional" French food.