Friday, April 16, 2010

Leaving For Spain

I figured I'd get a blog entry in today, just in case I don't have the time or the means to write while I'm in Spain. First off - I was so excited about the podcast I found last night that I forgot to mention I watched another movie with Mme De La Taille. It was called: "La voile des illusions" or, in English "The Painted Veil." It was an English movie - very depressing. But, she couldn't believe how well I predicted the ending. She asked, about half an hour in, what I thought was going to happen. And I said that the woman was going to learn to love her husband, get pregnant, not know whose baby it was, then the husband would die. Of course, she said: "I'm not telling what's going to happen." But, that was exactly what happened. I told her that all movies in English have the exact same plot, so they're easy to predict. The best part was the cute little French song at the end that the kids sang: "Il fait longtemps que je t'aime. Jamais je ne t'oublierai." or "I've loved you for a long time. I will never forget you." Cliché sound less cliché in French, I think. Does that make any sense?

Today, I've just been packing and doing boring but necessary things. I've also written out everything I have left to do in the semester, class-wise. It's scary - when I get back from Spain, I'll basically only have a month left in Paris! A trip to Madrid and Granada seemed great, but now that I realize that means I lose a week in Paris, I'm not sure if it's a good idea anymore...But, all I have left in my classes is this:

Philosophy: In class dissertation in an hour and a half. Obviously, it's not a full dissertation. She'll give us the sujet and we'll need to come up with a problématique and a detailed plan. I really wish we'd have more time - I'm dying to write a real dissertation. I suppose I already wrote one for history, but I mean for a subject I actually like. Then, I have the "colle" for philosophy. According to everyone else, they'll give us a super general subject and we need to give an exposé with only 20 minutes of preparation. Well, at least it's not what the ENS philo students have to do for their concours - a dissertation in 7 hours (and they don't get to eat during it!) and an oral exposé with 5 hours of preparation. And that's it for philosophy.

History: One more partiel. But, he's only counting the better of the two grades and since I got a 14 on the last one, I know that I can't possibly fail this course!

Literature: One assignment in the form of a short story that I'll do at home. It'll take place on a bridge. I still haven't decided if the bridge will be Le Pont de la Tournelle or Pont Neuf. Maybe I'll write two of them. In any case, it's only supposed to be 7 or 8 pages long typed, single spaced. That's not that bad. And, we'll have one in-class assignment on memory. And that's all I know.

OuLiPo writing workshop: One assignment "sur table" with an oulipo constraint that she'll give us when we get there. I don't think there's really any way to prepare for this. But, I already got a 17 on my first assignment, so I'd need a really really low grade to fail this course.

And that's the end of my semester in a nutshell. Good thing I'll have plenty of time to do other stuff - Paris is no Hopkins, but I do have to say, I miss having really challenging courses with lots of work. I prefer to be busier, and I do read extra things on my own even with all the typical work of a Hopkins student. So, I don't think that giving lots of grades is treating anyone like children. But, that's just me. Having the extra time is useful here in Paris because there's more to do outside the universities than inside. When I'm at Hopkins, I don't feel like risking my life by wandering around Baltimore all the time. Plus, there's no subway there, so getting around is harder and more expensive. I think that there's much more to learn in Paris than Baltimore, which might be why Parisian universities try to force you out of the classroom, which is a tactic that could work well here for a motivated student. But, in pretty much any other city in the entire world, that approach would fail.

Okay, it's not quite time to head to the meeting place to get the bus to Beauvais, but maybe Alexandra's done getting her hair done and we can have lunch at a café before we head to Spain to get some tapas for dinner. Bonnes vacances tout le monde! Oh wait, I guess no one else has a vacation now...

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