Thursday, January 21, 2010


I was so excited about my l'OuLiPo meeting tonight that I completely forgot to write a blog entry. At least I didn't forget to finish my homework! So, this entry is going to be relatively quick because it's past midnight and I have to be at CUPA at 10:30 tomorrow.

Today, I had the morning off, so I went to the Louvre. I needed to change my money, and there was a Bureau de Change there, plus I wanted to check out the Mac store to see about maybe buying a Mac here since Dell computers don't like me. The google map said that the Apple store was near the Louvre, but in reality, it's UNDER the Louvre! It's so neat - there's a whole mall down there! I don't like shopping, and everyone knows that, but I really didn't mind wandering around under the Louvre. While I was there, I stopped by the Mona Lisa to see if there were fewer obnoxious Japanese tourists this time. Who knew that on a Thursday in January all museums are empty - including the Louvre!

After hanging out at the Louvre, I had a meeting with MaryAnn about courses. I told her I wanted to take a French literature course, a philosophy course, the CUPA Art History course, and maybe audit a math course. She then informed me that I can also teach English to a middle school class down the street, which seems awesome so I said yes. She also found me a writing workshop in the l'OuLiPo style, which now I think I might audit instead of the math course. Plus, she's still waiting to hear about the flute lessons.

Then, I had a course on French methodology and I'm really glad I'm going to have these courses. French university teaching is really different, and if I had just been thrown into that all at once with no preparation, I would have been scared out of my mind. Initially, I had thought that the hard part would be taking a course in French, but now I know that these courses are nothing like American college courses. They basically expect you to do everything yourself: pick which book should be your textbook and which should just be supplementary; turn in all your outlines because the thought process they teach here is just as important as the thought itself; and they even expect you to give oral presentations to teach the course! Plus, each course is only 2 hours a week, so you do most of the work on your own. But, thankfully, this professor is going to teach us the French way to write dissertations, make outlines, give presentations, and pick textbooks. The professor assured us that, with this methodology course, we'll be able to see why French people think the way they do, and that's why I'm here!

Okay, the main event! I've written too much already, but I have to write about l'OuLiPo. Alexandra met me at my subway stop, and we went to the l'OuLiPo meeting at the National Library! It was incredible! Jacques Roubaud was just walking around on the stage like a normal person. Doesn't he know that he's a genius?? The members at the meeting basically just read their recent works (so recent, they were mostly still unpublished!), all written sous contrainte, of course. Jacques Roubaud was the best - he only read once, but his was mathematical, faux-historical, and hilarious. It really demonstrated a unique combination of math and writing that I really enjoyed. Some parts were kind of hard to understand, and I'm sure there were jokes I didn't get simply because I'm not French, but the Grand Auditorium was packed, Alexandra fell asleep, and I had the time of my life!! That is, until February 11th, I think, which is when the next meeting is. I forgot my camera, so no pictures of Jacques Roubaud from me. I attached one I found online (top left), but I was literally 20 feet away from him tonight!


  1. I loved this posting! You didn't tell me any of this last night. Grandma really looks forward to reading your blog every day. It sounds like you really picked the correct program. I have never heard of other kids having classes on how to go to college in the country they are visiting. Did MaryAnn say if you were going to have any problems getting into the art history class. Well I have to go back to work!

  2. Macs are for communists