Thursday, January 20, 2011

Parlez-vous Francais?

So it was the first official week of classes and time has flown! P is already busy with more reading than he can possibly finish, group assignments, and career workshops while I have been busy joining clubs! Last week I joined the:
  •  cooking club
  • running club (don't laugh, im going to do it!)
  • french conversation club
  • girls movie night club
  • shopping in paris club
  • art and culture club
  • yoga club
  • wine and cheese club
  • book club!
That should just about keep me busy for the next 4 months! In the last 5 days I have already  gone for a 4km run (anyone who knows me well knows that this is BIG news), started my french class on campus, started seriously working on my thesis (well, transcribing anyway..), went shopping in Paris for les soldes, and learned a new french recipe that I can easily make on two burners! (Poulet a la Basquaise - doesn't that sound fancy?! It's not, but it's goood!). I also went to the local market (in the centre of town every tues/fri/sun) and it was just awesome! Though it was brutally embarassing trying to speak french, I bought so much fresh produce, cheese and meat (and honey and pastries and kitchen things) that I could barely carry it all home!

Now with all of this club-joining and market-shopping and french-learning happening, you're probably wondering what P's opinion of all this is. He summed it up the other night after we got home from a FULL day of school (8am-7pm) and a dinner out with friends (until late!). He was telling me about all the readings and assignments he had to do over the next 2 days and just looked EXHAUSTED and I was starting to worry and feel guilty about all the fun I was having.. and then he ended his long-winded explaination with, "I love this!".

We have also made some slight but significant modifications to our life that have made living in little Avon a little more likeable. For instance, I learned the bus schedule and can now catch the bus to the main road in fontainebleau with little trouble (the bus only comes once or twice an hour so this is a big deal!), we have found a short-cut through the castle grounds so the walk to school is now only 30 minutes instead of 40 (baby steps), and I am now the proud owner of a french telephone number and bank account! One TINY hurdle left: we don't yet have a bank card to access our money, but I am staying positive (otherwise I will go completely crazy!) Once we have our chequebook, we can rent a car and I will be able to say au revoir to blisters and mud for the rest of the winter!

Our apartment is also growing on us. When we first moved in the dryer was broken in the building, and our apartment door (that opens into our bedroom) was located in the laundry room. So every day we had to pass through the laundry room that smelled like mould and wet dog and made our bedroom smell like that too. But now, after 2 weeks, the dryer has been fixed and the smell has returned to normal! Probably the best change of all is that I have learned that my microwave also doubles as a grill. So I have figured out how to cook fish and meat and I'm just so relieved! Only one thing left: because we are in the ground floor of this very old little building, we have a lot of spiders (les spidres, as I call them). P is deathly afraid of spiders so this has been really interesting, espeically after a run-in with Pierre (yes, I named one), on the couch!! As long as they remain out of sight, I think it'll be fine... :)

I've also learned some very interesting things about life here that I didn't know before, for instance, you can't buy 1% milk - the choices are full cream or half cream! Pair this with my daily baguette diet and I'm in trouble! (Good thing I joined the running club!) I shuddered through my first bowl of cereal that was more or less floating on top of the milk(!), but I think there might be something to whole milk, nutritionally, so i'll keep you updated. Another thing we are loving is the cafe culture! there is no such thing as take-away coffee because, as my french teacher says: "c'est fou!" (that's crazy!) Coffee is for sitting and enjoying and people-watching and reading the newspaper. P and I indulged in cafe life on sunday afternoon for about 3 hours and it was heaven! One thing I could live without: dog poo on the sidewalk. Everywhere. I read about it in blogs before I came and I'm writing about it now, because it's just wrong. I can't possibly enjoy the 30 minute walk to town because im constantly dodging shit! And the combination of big dogs and small sidewalks is treacherous.

Saturday night was our first Chateau party, and it didn't disappoint! Sponsored by one of the major Consulting companies that recruits at the school, there was free booze and great music all night (literally, the last bus home left the party at 6am), however with all the students (some hammered) and the free-for-all booze, it felt a lot like a frat party from our good old undergraduate days. Which was fine for the night - we felt like we were 21 again! Eeks, does that make me sound old?? crap.

This post is getting very long so I think it's time to go for now!

a bientot!

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