Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Being International

Today, I felt very international. I met my new German friend, Eileen, this morning by Cluny - La Sorbonne so that we could go to the Pantheon and then a photo exhibition at a museum in Le Marais. My new German friend is actually only half German: her father is American and her mother is German, and she lives in Berlin. She's been to the United States a few times, mostly to West Virginia (where her dad is), but she also has cousins in Ohio. Regardless of how many times she's been to the US, she speaks English perfectly - she started learning it when she was really young. Anyway, first she taught me how to do "la bise" correctly. Apparently I'm supposed to hesitate more and make loud sounds when I kiss people on both cheeks here. When we said goodbye at Chatelet after the museum visit, I was a pro!

Le Pantheon is exactly the same as it's always been, except that they finally put the pendulum back up. So, now I'm back to wondering why there's a 90 degree gap between 0 and 24. My French is better now than it was three years ago when I wondered that - maybe I should ask.

After saying hi to my peeps (and yes, I mean Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Pierre and Marie Curie, Emile Zola, Rousseau, Voltaire, etc.), Eileen and I went to Le Marais. This time, though, it wasn't for falafel! Finally! The photo exhibition was about prisons and it was downright depressing. Eileen thought it was interesting, though, because she said you never study prisons and how they change in history classes. She studies history, and French, and law. It's so cool to say, "I just met my German friend today. We spoke English and French, while seeing exhibits in Paris."

After that, I found a music store and bought Syrinx by Debussy. I can't wait to start playing it! Then, I taught English to Jerome. He saw "Shutter Island" and really liked it, but the best part was that he said he understood it because of me! I had told him that, for me, I hated watching French movies with English subtitles because it was too hard to concentrate in both languages. For me, it was ideal last year to watch a French movie with French subtitles, but since I've been here and my comprehension's improved so much, I don't mind seeing French movies sans sous-titres. So, I had told him that, if he was seeing American movies here with French subtitles and was having a hard time understanding them, then maybe he should try ignoring the subtitles. So, that's what he did when he watched "Shutter Island" and he said he understood 70 to 80%, and what he didn't understand was more just the psychological jargon and slang. He really liked the surprise ending too - I kind of wish I hadn't have seen it coming. That's probably why I wasn't thrilled with that movie. I can only imagine how boring "The Sixth Sense" would have been if I had realized that Bruce Willis had been dead the whole time.

Omelettes for dinner! I really am in France! Oh wait, I spelled that wrong - sorry, omelets. I thought that it was spelled omelette in English too, but according to Google's spell check, I'm just wrong. Well, I have to read my Louis XIV chapter and start memorizing the most minute details just in case I feel like getting above a 10/20 on the quiz tomorrow. Hopefully, the professor will let me leave early to see George Steiner again!!!

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