As a disclaimer:
I think I’m still a little drunk as I write this. It’s 9:22 in the morning…. = France. <– well, I was then. Except now it’s Thursday morning.
Just living the dream. You know.
Yesterday everybody at CUEF (within API there are two groups of kids going to different schools; CUEF is the language and culture program and the majority of people, and GEM is the business school) had to take the French placement exam. Let me tell you: it was a bunch of MALARKY. First of all, the lady who interviewed me for the oral part of the exam was evil. She asked me what I do for work and I told her how during the school year I work at a barn, then she asked me what I did at the barn. How the hell was I supposed to explain barn chores in French?? So I just kind of looked at her for a few seconds and told her I rode the horses that were bad. A complete lie, but there is no way in all the seven hells (Game of Thrones reference. Yup) that I was about to try and translate barn chores into French.
So yeah, that was the oral part. Then came the written part aka bullshit. Parts of the listening section may as well have been in Japanese. Whatever. At least I don’t actually have to be taking high level classes, plus the easier the classes the less work I have to do outside of class. Good way to look at it, right?
Damn my head hurts.
Après l’examen we had a scavenger hunt that basically made us run all around Grenoble and ask questions/take pictures. I was on a team with Emily and Nina and we were competitive at first, but it was freaking hot and about an hour in we decided that lemonade and coffee and WiFi sounded better. Winner winner chicken dinner. We tried to get that delicious gelato again but it was closed, wtf mate. What kind of ice cream place is closed at 2:00pm when it’s hot as balls out? Punto Gusto, that’s who. Shuuun.
Regardless we lamped around until it was time to meet up with the rest of the group at 4:00 in Jardin de Ville. After Anna checked out the highest ranking teams scores we were free to do our own thing, but I opted to stay in the park since there was WiFI strong enough that I was able to upload pictures – see the below post for the goods. Emily and Nina stayed with me for a bit, but eventually they left and I was flying solo. That’s when the group of French people next to me decided to swoop in. They had some guitars and were actually pretty cool, so I hung out with them for a few hours and fell victim to some body art:
The three triangle dots apparently means “fuck the police”, so I guess I’m now a French rebel. C’est la vie. Oh yeah, and none of them spoke English. Three cheers for practicing my French skillsz, bro.
One guy with a Mohawk asked if I had a boyfriend, and when I said yes he smirked and replied, “mais pas un petit ami en France, oui?” à basically that means that I only had an American boyfriend, and not a French one. No thank you. He caught my drift and settled with writing “Vermont” on his pants in marker as a souvenir to remember me by… I overlooked the fact that it was kind of weird and took it as a compliment.
Afterwards I made my way back home, read some more Game of Thrones (page 1000. WHATS UP) and waited for Madeleine to get home. For dinner we had some soup – she said the name of the vegetable but it escapes me at the moment – salad, beets and boeuf. I’m still on the fence about beets, I think. They weren’t terrible with salt and pepper but they definitely tasted like they came from the ground. In the dirt kind of way, but hey I gave it a try.
Once dinner was finished Madeleine went to bed and I met Nina, Emily, Max, Ian and Preston in the park for some nightly shenanigans. Like true hobos we had a bottle of vodka and some grapefruit juice. Buzzbuzz. Except I’m a little bit regretting it now because I feel like I’m about to upchuck all over my laptop. Class-act, whatever. After the bottle was empty we rendez-vous(ed) to a bar in the Notre Dame area. I couldn’t tell you the name of it, but we all ordered Stella Artois and I definitely hit the drunk mark by the end. When in France. Then I walked home and promptly passed out. Carl woke me up this morning by calling my phone, so here I am… in the lovely place of limbo between drunkland and hungover world.
On that note, I don’t have to meet up with my group until 12:45, so I think I’m going to go back to bed. Peace out home skillets.
^^ So now its bright and early Thursday morning, September 13th. This whole not having WiFi thing… lamesauce for the reason that I can’t just type and instantaneously post.
Anyway, I slept off the hangover on Wednesday which was fantastical and met up with the clan at Stendhal (that’s the name of our university) for our results. The levels were as follows: B1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 and 1.8 then B2.somethings. A few kids in our group got into B2 – snaps for themmm – and I found myself in 1.5. I don’t hate it one bit; except for the fact that I’m the only one from API who got into it.
After our placements we had to sit through some orientation garbagio that was about the equivalent of pulling hairs out of my arm, aka painful. Finally we were set free and I wound up back at Jardin de Ville with Nina and Ellisa, were I spent about an hour+ hula hooping and then taught Nina some moves. It’s entertaining hula hooping in public over here because it’s pretty blatant that nobody in France indulges in the hippy hobbies. I caught a few people snapping pics and one guy was trying to videotape me on the sly. Next time I’m putting out a hat with some coins. A work out AND a chance to earn some drinking money at the same time? Yes, please.
Mooo-ving on. I got back home, power showered and met up with Maddie, Max, Natasha and Evelyn for some dinner. For a solid chunk of time we were being mildly stalked by some Asian guy from London (yeah…) whose name was near impossible to pronounce. No offense, but those blokes across the pond have no concept of personal space. He never took the hint that I was backing away from him for a reason. But I digress. After dinner, our group met up with Richard, Ellisa, Heather and her boyfriend, Roman, then it was off to the ice rink! I proposed to the group that we go to a Grenoble hockey game, and a lot of people were gung-ho about it; for good reason, too, it was awesome! The mascot for Grenoble is a burning wolf… HELL YES. Wolves and fire: two things que j’adore. The team entered the rink through a giant inflatable wolf head; need I say more? Take a gander at the video to understand the title of this post. This dude must have been blowing testosterone or something he did not stop all night. I swear I woke up in the middle of the night singing Allez Grenoble to “When the Saints go Marching in”. Team pride right thurr.
While we were waiting for the tram a boy who spoke English wandered up to us, and when I told him I was from Rhode Island he said that his host brother was from Rhode Island as well. Turns out the mystery dude is Mike’s host brother… small freaking city. He was a wealth of information and told us about a bar – ironically called “Plan B” – that has pints of beer for 3 euros. Yuuup. I know where I’m going this weekend. They also sell a liter of hard alcohol for 20 euros, but that makes me want to vomit just thinking about it. He gave me shit when I didn’t want to go to the bar that night; these Grenoblois know how to get down, I guess. Unfortunately, there was no way me or my liver wanted to drink two nights in a row like that, so after the game I went home and crashed with visions of hockey players skating in my head.
Which brings us to Wednesday, the first day of classes. EEW. My first class was at 8:30; not pleased. Despite the early hour I managed to make it to class on time. My professor is a pretty cool dude, and we spent the majority of the time learning about our classmates; I’m the only American in the class, which is kind of cool. There are a bunch of kids from China, some from Japan, and then others from Kuwait, Australia, Singapore, Columbia and Germany. I’ve always had a thing for Germany, so naturally the girl from there – Hannah, she’s from Hamburg – and I bonded. She actually spent the whole day with us and is coming with our group tomorrow night to a dubstep concert at Stendhal. She planned this semester abroad all on her own and doesn’t really have any friends in France, so I told her she’s more than welcome to hang with me whenever she wants which she seemed pretty happy about. Yay new friends!
Besides my B1.5 class, a group of us tried out the elective classes that were offered today. The first one was a history of contemporary France… pass. It started out sounding cool, but then I realized I’ve taken a class similar to this in English, so why waste my time doing it in French? The second class I’m definitely signing up to take this semester; it’s a French history of film class. The professor is super into it and seems to pick interesting films to watch… and the fact that our only grades are a quiz, a paper and an exam is BOMB. Minimal homework and it only meets once a week. Golden.
Thus ends my first academic day of the semester, and boy is my brain exhausted. It’s way more tiring than I anticipated speaking/comprehending French in all my classes, but there’s no better way to learn. I just finished dinner: tomato mozzarella salad with tuna (???? Way weird, but surprisingly tasty) and some mashed potato, spinach and salmon dish with this chocolate dipped ice cream thing for dessert (so dank). Apparently it was a fish kind of night. Madeleine just went out for aperitifs with some friends and I’m being lamesauce and holding down the fort. It’s 8:45 and I’m basically about to go to bed… play hard, sleep hard? I need to catch some zzz’s for the upcoming weekend – which starts tomorrow YEAH BITCHES no class on Friday’s. Plus I feel like it’s very easy to get fat from all these brewskis, so I’m waking up before class tomorrow (10:40) to go on a nice run. Three cheers for athletic motivation!
Bon soir mes amis xxoo
(p.s. by the way I’m posting this on Thursday morning but there’s nothing new to report except for the fact I could probably drown in the amount of sweat I shed this morning. Sexy, I know.)