Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tests, papers, and final thoughts, oh my!

I had the BIG test for French today. It's worth 40% of my grade, so cross your fingers! I think I did well. It was a completely different makeup from the old exams (the ones I used to study), but I understood all the sentences they asked and I think I was able to get at least 90% of my verbs right. The test (and my grade) is based off of 20 points. For American standards, 15-20 is an A, 12-14 is a B, and 9-11 is a C. I've mainly been getting 10-13 in my class, but I think I did better than that on the test. My professor grades pretty hard, test averages are an 8 or 9. The actual class itself is worth only 20% (that portion I've been going to five times a week). I was only allowed to skip it 5 times though or else the Sorbonne could fail me. I didn't do that though! The oral test, 20% of my grade, is on Tuesday.

Also something funny. During my test the professor climbed onto a table, climbed out of the first floor window, and proceeded to smoke FOUR cigarettes in a row! It was absolutely hilarious seeing her climbing out and then peeking through the window to make sure no one was cheating. That's a French smoking stereotype for you.

I wrote a paper on the Tour St. Jacques. It's actually a pretty cool tower in the middle of the Latin Quarter. People aren't allowed up the tower, but it's cool because they did science experiments there on the barometer and air pressure. It was also THE place to go for religious pilgrims. It was built in the 1500s, but the church itself was destroyed during the revolution. It's also a great style of Gothic architecture. I suggest to see it if you come!

I'm leaving a week from today. It's a very odd thought, but I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait to stop studying and just lazy about reading and playing computer games. I'm also looking forward to hanging out with friends and family. And I can't wait to go to Oakland for New Years.

I enjoyed my experience abroad and I don't regret it at all. I was able to explore Europe, I really enjoyed learning French, speaking to actual French people, taking classes, exploring Paris, buying awesome new clothing (and boots!), tasting new and delicious food, etc. Unfortunately, I didn't have that many people to become friends with, but I really enjoyed making friends with the people in my program. I'm sure I'll hang out with them once I get back to AU. I'm also not as childish when it comes to hanging out in a bar. I also think I've been able to expand my personality and understanding of myself and other people.

However, I really am looking forward to being in the states. It's comfortable being around your own language and I think I feel more confident there. I like the places I've lived, Kansas City and DC. I miss them and will enjoy being back there. I can't wait! Only three tests left: the oral, Paris Culture, and Islam in France. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vienna and Caviar

I went to Vienna over the weekend to visit Bethany and I had a wonderful time! We walked around a lot of Vienna and I was able to see several cool places. Unfortunately I got sick, but I'm feeling somewhat better now. Bethany has classes in a palace and the place is absolutely gorgeous! I'm kind of jealous.

Vienna was very lovely. It was foggy the whole time and gets dark at 4, but it was still a great city. The city is full of old people! The last two nights were a bit interesting because Bethany's roommate snored incredibly loudly and we couldn't sleep. Bethany even came into the living room to sleep on the other couch! I hope I don't end up with someone who snores...

On the flight back I complained to myself because the whole row in front of me was empty (even the other side) and the ONE person (a rather large man) sits in the seat in front of me! He then proceeded to recline his chair. He had to pick the seat right in front of me...

I'm registered for classes! I'm taking Statistics, Global Corporate Citizenship, French, Human Origins, and Civil Rights & Civil Liberties. Next year will have more business classes, but this semester I'm getting two general education classes and French out of the way. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also working at PR Solutions again; I definitely look forward to that!

I'm going to Oakland/San Fransisco to visit Ally over New Years. I know it's going to be amazing. She's going to have a dress up party and I'm sure I'll have lots of fun! I haven't been there in a year, so I'm excited.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Elections abroad...

New metro sights: a woman clipping her nails on the metro (crowded with other people), a baby falling asleep with a bottle in his mouth (adorable), and a bunch of little boys waving at me from a metro car (they pointed at me first which I was confused by and then started waving, they went wild when I waved back, also adorable).

Other news: I tried to register for classes but wasn't allowed because I don't have an In-Session Address. Hopefully my adviser will get that worked out... today. I have my perfect schedule picked out with enough time for me to work 15 hours. My earliest class is 12:55 (although I work three days a week at 10 am so I'd have to leave at 9). My latest class ends at 9:15, but that's statistics and the only time I could take it. I really like block classes so I definitely don't mind.

Elections! On Election Day I nervously checked the internet constantly even though I never got updates. My host parents pretty much shoved me out of the apartment to 'go to a pub and watch the elections'. I met up with Amanda and we went to Harry's Bar (an American bar). The streets were so crowded that they had police barricades from allowing cars in. There were dozens of television crews interviewing people. Amanda and I ran into several people we knew, some of them being interviewed. Of course I didn't see one McCain supporter, most of the people there were young. There were huge lines so we didn't stay there long. Amanda and I got coke and ice cream bars from Monoprix (their version of a supermarket) and camped out on the steps of the Opera house. I woke up on Wednesday to extremely good news!

France did a survey asking the French people who they would vote for if they could vote and over 80% said Obama. From my experience I don't think one foreign country would have preferred McCain. This is an amazing time in USA history and foreign people want someone who isn't like Bush and they want someone that proves the USA is open-minded and good on our word of equality. Race does have big role in Obama winning, we can't deny that. People wouldn't have been nearly as excited about him if he were white. However, I read an article saying the main reason he won is because he isn't Bush. Bush had really bad foreign relations and people wanted someone new. Obama seemed to be ideal because he has ties outside the US and his views on foreign policy seem to be different and just better.

Other interesting election tidbits: Missouri is STILL uncounted for, there's a difference of only 6,000 votes between the two (favoring McCain) so my vote did matter; gay marriage was made illegal by three states: California, Flordia, and Arizona; Arkansas banned nonmarried couples from adopting (they don't want gay people to adopt, but this also applies to heterosexual couples), Massachusets made medical marijuana legal (I had no idea they were THAT liberal); the House and Senate are also democrat; Nebraska voted to end affirmative action; and Washington state voted to allow doctor assisted suicide. We'll see how these change and affect each state and the US!

Can I just brag for a second and share that I was the only one in my Paris Culture class who got a perfect on the matching in our midterm? Yeah, that was me. I'm just saying that I'm doing well in classes right now. When I'm finished eating lunch and updating you people I think I'm going to study!

Don't worry... I had two crepes this week. And some delicious hot chocolate.