Saturday, April 10, 2010

CUPA Soirée - Alumni Edition

Tonight was the CUPA Alumni Soirée, but first, I'm going to talk about my shopping adventure. 

The weather's getting warm here - it's beautiful! Leaves on trees, flowers everywhere, basically, the spring semester was the perfect choice for coming to Paris. If I had come in the fall, the weather would have started out nice but gotten worse and worse until I wanted to leave. But this way, the weather started out a little bleak (not that I'm not used to going without the sun for long periods of time in Buffalo...), but got better and better and better and is going to keep improving until I leave. So, since the weather's beautiful now, I can't wear my black coat anymore - the one that looks Parisian. This wouldn't be a problem, but my lighter coat is purple and definitely not French. It's not that I miss getting asked for directions by stupid American tourists (or Australian, in some cases), but I don't like that people immediately assume I'm foreign when I'm wearing that coat. So, today I decided to buy another one. With a mental image of Alexandra's coat in my head (she bought her coat the last time she was in Paris), I went to the mall by La Place d'Italie to find a new coat. Well, I found a great one: it's beige, not too long, with a belt, and it looks so French. While I was there, I also bought a new shirt because it was on sale. I'll be sure to write if the new coat works. The rest of my day was a very American day. 

By the way, French stores are a lot nicer than American ones. They don't have clothes thrown all over, jeans with holes in them, or trash everywhere. The stores I went into (because yes, I did go into more than one) were all very neat, organized, and not overcrowded with customers or merchandise. All the clothes just looked much nicer too - I wouldn't have worn all of them, but there weren't weird things like in America where you can't tell if they're dresses or shirts or hats...No sales racks, though...and everything's expensive. 

After that, I decided to go to that Espace Culture et Paix place again because they were having an event with UNESCO. They still seem a little strange to me, but they were really nice and said I could bring my flute and play, so I did. I played the third movement from the Widor Suite (Romance), which was surprisingly appropriate because the speaker talked about love. But, I didn't agree with anything that she said. At the end of her speech, I even asked questions! I asked why she didn't mention "amour-propre" or "self love" in her speech at all and if she would consider that "fake love" because it was "egoistical" and she couldn't answer me. It's not like French is a foreign language for her...Anyway, after the speech, I talked with basically everyone there. They think I'm great because of the math/writing/music/French combo I do. I hope they're not trying to convert me to anything, but I just love speaking to everyone in French! The one guy said he was Jewish, so I doubt this is some kind of strange sect. It seems like a cultural exchange that focuses on religious differences, though. Weird, but interesting. 

Finally, the CUPA party! I love that it was completely bilingual. There are some interesting alumni. One - the one who had planned this whole thing - is a French literature professor at Fordham University in New York City. I talked to him for a long time about l'OuLiPo and other books. Needless to say, he understood the writing/math/French combination. I talked to MaryAnn about how much I loved the ENS course (she said I should definitely consider applying to ENS next year because it rules!), how much I hated the Mamma Mia movie (she completely agreed), and how cool l'OuLiPo is (she loved my interactive story that I wrote for my OuLiPo class). The food was great too. I had foie gras (not bad, but I wish I hadn't known what I was eating), mini sandwiches, quiche, macarons, tons of pastries, and champagne. I still don't really like champagne, or anything alcoholic, but I don't wince when I have to drink it anymore. That's progress! Some other alumni have actually returned to Paris and live here now! One is a perpetual student (my ideal profession, but I'd never pull it off...) because it would be too complicated for her to get a different type of visa. She should just apply for citizenship or something - maybe marry a French guy. Another actually did marry a French guy and lives here with him and her kids. Speaking of kids, MaryAnn's son and his friends did all the serving. Every time someone finished a glass of champagne, they poured another. The highlight of the night was when Julia and I were talking to MaryAnn and her son had changed into different clothes and she seemed perturbed and said, in English: "I need to get something to drink!" and started walking over to the refreshment table. Julia and I started cracking up and she said: "I just meant water!" Cute end to an enjoyable soirée. 

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