This morning, we all woke up early to go to the catacombs. By we, I mean Emma, Paola, and me. We wandered around underneath Paris for about an hour (guess what, Emma liked touching the bones too...), then headed over to the Saint-Michel area to get Berthillon ice cream (which Emma didn't go crazy for - fin, I just don't understand), Café Procope to get crepes flambées and coffee, and then Père Lachaise to meet Alexandra (we saw Abelard and Heloise, Proust, Oscar Wilde - Emma kissed his grave, Chopin, a cute cat that actually wasn't dead, and Jim Morrison). Finally, we headed over to see the church behind the Panthéon, stopped by l'ENS to see the Cour aux Ernests, and then got some macarons at Pierre Hermé (like the Duffs of macarons - The Anchor Bar or Ladurée invented them, but Pierre Hermé perfected them). Finally, the four of us (Alexandra, Paola, Emma and me) met Jerome at Breakfast in America to get Emma her first American food in 8 months. I hadn't realized how much I had missed Dr. Pepper. It tasted so good! The whole conversation was in three languages - I spoke French with Jerome, Jerome spoke Spanish with Emma and Paola, and of course everyone was speaking English too. Sadly, I'm the one who has to translate everything, so running on so little sleep, I wasn't doing as well as I could have. But, it was fun. A challenge. Finally, we met Pierre and his friends at the Eiffel Tower and guess what I did - I translated some more! You know what French students do at night? They sit in a circle in front of the Eiffel Tower, drinking wine, and reading/talking. Seriously, why don't they just do that during the day?
I am so tired, but I'm afraid I might not get a good night's sleep tonight either. You see, Emma has a really early flight tomorrow and the bus she needs to take to Beauvais leaves Porte Maillot at 6:00am. Unfortunately, the métro doesn't start running until 5:30 and she'll never make it on time with its reduced morning schedule. I found a Noctilien (the night bus) route she could take, but she didn't have paper/pencil and decided she's just going to ask the hostel guy in the morning. Obviously, I have a feeling I'm going to get a phone call very early tomorrow morning. I also don't think I'm going to go to the Proust lecture - at least not tomorrow. It's not even an atelier about In Search of Lost Time - it's about Proust's notebooks and editions of them. Somehow, I don't think I'd get much out of these lectures since it's obviously assumed I've already read A la recherche and the notebooks and not only that, but studied all of them in depth. Then, this workshop proposes to analyse the principals of diplomatic transcription of these notebooks? Yes, I think that's what it's about, but I don't really understand what that means, and I'm also a little afraid of falling asleep in this lecture. Friday's lecture seems slightly more relevant to me, but even so, I'm not sure I would get much out of either of these lectures. I'm kind of feeling annoyed that it's just impossible to get the necessary education to understand l'ENS completely. How many depressing French novels do I have to read to be ready to research literary history or analyse the notebooks of the authors?
And do you know how much stuff Victor Hugo wrote? I don't think the man was human - he was some sort of machine. It's not just the amount, because I'm sure that, if I were to continue this blog every day and elaborate a little more in addition to the rest of the stuff I write on a regular basis, I could duplicate his volume of work in a good sixty or seventy years. But it's rather the quality - his novels are researched and the story is always just secondary to the non-fictional or philosophical elements; his poetry is flawless. No wonder he was so stuck up! Why am I writing about Victor Hugo? Probably because of this awesome agenda. Obviously, I need to go to bed because I'm jumping from subject to subject even more than Proust does. I really need to get some sleep. Hopefully, Emma can find her way to Porte Maillot tomorrow morning at that ungodly hour by herself. If not, I might not recover from this week in time to enjoy the rest of my vacances.