Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I was in bed, falling asleep when I realized that I hadn't written a blog entry today. No wonder I couldn't sleep - it's become a part of my routine.

Anyway, today was an uneventful day until I saw George Steiner again tonight! But before I got to see him, I had to go to my Paris 8 history class and tell the professor that I had to leave during the break. I asked him if I could leave early, specifying over and over that I would never miss another class again, and he laughed and said: "C'est pas grave." It's a little annoying that Paris 8 is so laid-back. It's like the Brown of Paris, except I don't think the level is anywhere near as high. Maybe Oberlin. Half the class showed up late and missed the quiz. About the quizzes - last week, only one person got higher than a 10/20 (he doesn't count them if we get lower) and this week, I think I may have! If not, at least I was close. In reading the chapter underlining and focusing on memorizing all the things that seemed the most useless, I actually think I did a fairly good job. Eventually, though, the break came (not soon enough) and I rushed over to ENS (taking two metros and the RER B).

I got there just in time, and right when I did, the student who's been acting like he's in charge said that there were two seats available in the front. Now, at first, I thought that maybe I should let actual ENS students who got there on time take the seats. Then, I realized I had to go to the bathroom and I didn't want to stand up for the whole talk. Sometimes, it feels like I barely drink anything at all here, but I have to go to the bathroom twice as much. That's probably not the most appropriate thing to write in the blog, but it's part of my Paris experience, so why not? So, in the end, I took one of the two seats. I was so close to George Steiner! It was the best experience ever! In the middle of his talk, he looked up from his notes and actually looked straight at me and smiled as he was quoting Valéry! It was awesome, but I missed the quote exactly because I was so excited that he was looking at me! This talk was a lot harder to understand, since it was all about philosophy. I did like his discussion on Valéry and his relationship with math and dialogues. After the talk was over, I couldn't get out because it was so crowded, and then, I noticed that there was a reception afterward! ENS sure can throw a party for a genius. There were macarons (really great French cookies, kind of like high class oreos, but different flavors and much better - they're only like oreos because they're made up of two cookies with cream in the middle), salmon puffs, mini ham and cheese sandwiches, and champagne! I couldn't stay for long since I had to get back for dinner with my host family, but I will stay longer on Friday. In fact, on Friday, it's my new objective to talk to George Steiner! I was standing just a few inches away from him during the reception, but I was afraid to talk to him...

At dinner, my host family asked me if I owned a gun. Why does everyone in this country think that every American owns a gun? It's annoying! I didn't ask them why they weren't wearing berets...Anyway, I'm going to bed now. Hopefully, I'll have a really great blog entry Friday if I actually talk to George Steiner!

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