Even though I love Paris, I have to say I've been lazy with this paper. I've had seven pages for a while now, but since the professor wasn't really clear about what he wanted, I've been trying to add bibliographic references even though I'm not sure he's expecting them. He acted like he didn't want this paper to be academic. He said he wanted it like a journal with dates and times, only with complete sentences. Then, he wanted us to have a little reflection on memory at the end. Basically, this assignment makes no sense and I'm going to be glad to be rid of it. Hopefully he doesn't fail me because I can't figure out what he wants.
Anyway, this morning I was going to wake up at 10:00 because I was tired, finish my paper, and enjoy the rest of my day before my flute lesson. Well, when I woke up, I had two emails from Justine saying two things: first, I can't use the word "impayable" in the first person or negate it (drats...); second, that she was busy this week and the only free time she had was this afternoon for lunch. So, instead of doing my paper, I ran over to Porte des Lilas (so far away...) and had lunch with Justine. It consisted of some kind of foie gras type thing (much better than what they gave us at CUPA, I have to say), bread, cheese, and asparagus. She said it was a typical French summer lunch. Her apartment is really big - I think it's the same size as where I'm living, but the De La Taille's apartment is meant for five people. She only shares hers with two other students, one of whom plays the harmonica, which is kind of annoying; and the other one has a German girlfriend who doesn't speak French. And she has lots of books, but that's no surprise. She even had several Pléiade editions! I really want to buy one before I leave, but I hear they're kind of expensive.
Aside from all the work and the fact that you're technically working for the government, it must be nice to be an ENS student. I mean, they get paid so they can afford nice apartments, and they get to live in Paris! In exchange, they just need to give up ten years of their lives to be teachers. Considering I think it would be fun to be a teacher, that doesn't seem like it would be that bad. That is, unless they have to teach at Paris 8. The mindset is just so completely different. l'ENS seems comparable to Hopkins or other really great schools in the US, but at Hopkins, you need to pay $50,000 a year for the privilege of going there, it has nothing to do with the government, and you aren't guaranteed anything when you leave. Well, it's not exactly comparable to what I do at Hopkins since I'm undergrad. Grad schools in the US (at least, the programs I'm looking at) don't cost anything and you get paid a stipend because you teach. Then, I guess I'll have to compare American undergrad experiences to the classes préparatoires, but I have no idea what those are like here. Jerome told me that students work really hard in the classes préparatoires, then go to the grandes écoles and slack off (except at ENS because those students have to read a lot).
After saying goodbye to Justine, I headed back home, practiced my flute a little (I have to play at the party tomorrow night, so I decided to pull out some impressive-sounding pieces), then headed over to La Salle Pleyel, a big concert hall near La Place d'Etoile for my last flute lesson. It was so cool to play there. I wasn't on the stage or anything, but still - Chopin used to perform there! I got to see the back stage area where the orchestra members have their lockers, I got to see the hall while people were rehearsing, and I got to enter through the artists' entrance! On Wednesday, I'll be going back to hear my professor's rehearsal. He said he has an American friend from New York coming to the rehearsal too. It will be fun to do that before my second history partiel and Les Misérables.