This week we started our French review classes that give us a refresher of grammar and acclimate us to the French writing style. I absolutely love my professor! She is hilarious and makes us laugh all throughout class. The title of this post is credited to her because "La vie est belle" is definitely her catch phrase (which means "life is beautiful"). Whenever we get a question wrong she says, "C'est pas grave, vous avez vingt ans et vous êtes à Paris: La vie est belle" or "Non, ça n'est pas correcte, mais la vie est toujours belle." (translations: 1) It's ok, you are twenty years old and you are in Paris: Life is beautiful. or 2) No, that's not right, but life is still beautiful). We've been reviewing some easier concepts and also learning idiomatic expressions to integrate into our everyday speech. One of the funny things that we learned today is that to say bless you, you say "A vos souhaits" or "May all your wishes come true," which is really cute. And then, if someone sneezes again you say "A vos amours" ("To your loves) and the sneezer is supposed to respond "Que les votres durent toujours" which means "That yours may endure forever." I don't know, I just thought that whole exchange is just very cute. She reminded us, however, that this is only to be used with people that you actually know. You don't just say it to the old man that sneezes on the metro. If you do, they will be very confused and possibly even offended! haha. She is full of all this useful and funny information. She's also very theatrical and keeps our attention well, which is a feat during a 2 hour grammar review, eh?
We haven't really done too much tourist-y stuff, although being here for 10 months, I feel like I'll have plenty of time to see and do everything. I've really been trying to get acclimated... I end up tired and hungry at the end of every single day. I swear, no matter how much I eat I am always famished! Several people have been experiencing this too... we have no idea what's up. Also, these people eat all the time! And so well! And so much bread! How are they not fat??? I have seriously only seen like 2 people in this entire city that would be considered obese in America. How do the frenchies do it? I'm going to learn their secret and take it back home with me. Never you fear. Anyway... One of the tourist-y things that we did was a ride on the Seine on one of the Bateaux Mouches. Sam and I sat on the back of the boat where it was quieter and we could just enjoy the view. Although the day had started out very nice and temperate, it had gotten cold and a little bit rainy by this times, so we were huddled together in our scarves to keep warm. There are photos up on facebook that you can take a look at to see the beautiful monuments!
Today we got to play tourists again and a group of us went to the Musée d'Orsay to have a guided tour. This is one of my favorite museums because it houses a very limited time period of art (late 1800's to about 1915) with works from the end of the classical era, to realism, to impressionism, as well as expressionism. This period of art fascinates me, and I love getting to see the works that I've studied up close and personal. Moreover, I love understanding everything the guide was saying (in French) as well as being able to supplement this with my own knowledge of all the works. It's just a nice feeling, kinda like putting a face with a name. I have some pictures that I took of this up on facebook as well! Check them out and comment! I would love to know that people are looking at my stuff.
My family is wonderful. They are really so nice and patient with me. Sometimes when I can't understand things, I get down on myself... but then I realize that I've only been here 5 days; I'm not supposed to understand everything! I have so many days of learning ahead of me. I can't wait to improve more and more each day. I already feel like I've improved some! Last night I got to meet the 17 year old daughter, Margot, and we celebrated her acceptance to Sciences-Po, which is not an easy university to get in to. We had Champagne and then ate a special dinner. They are a very loving family, and I'm so happy that they're so warm and welcoming. Marion, the 10 year old, made meringue cookies for dessert that were delicious! I also got to try several different types of cheese, some of which were too strong for me, but I liked them all. This weekend I'm going with my family to their house in the country, they told me it's about 2 hours away, to watch them pick the grapes for champagne and relax. We're leaving saturday morning and coming back sunday at noon, so it's not a long visit, but a little get-away.
I have enjoyed learning how to find my way around the city so far! I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty proud of how well I've done. I mean... don't get me wrong, there's been a wrong turn or two, but all in all it's been pretty painless. Although the other day, in trying to get to Pont Neuf to meet for the bateaux mouches, sam and I walked in the wrong direction for quite a ways. It was an experience though. The metro has been super easy to learn to navigate. It's so crazy having public transportation that's easy and reliable and that everyone uses! I don't know what I'll do when I get back to Texas where everyone drives and even the bus system in non-existent. Or even New Orleans where the streetcars only run on one or two main streets... the metro here is my new best friend. As is the application that I have on my iPhone! I can put in any 2 stops I want to get to, and it gives me fail-proof instructions! (Thanks daddy!!).
Well, I think you're all caught up on the goings-on of the past few days! It's been a great experience so far without so much as a hard moment. I am very grateful for this :) and hope my lucky streak continues! It goes without saying that I miss you all, and I hope you're able to live a little vicariously through me and my blog posts! Leave me some love and go look at my pictures on facebook! It seemed a little redundant to put them on here too...
Oh! And if you have skype or iChat or anything and would like to chat with me, let me know what times are good for you. I'm making a bit of a schedule of when everyone is free. Keep in mind that I'm 7 hours ahead here (from central time) and I don't really stay up past midnight! I would love to talk with any of you though, and so far video chatting has worked really well. Let me know if you're interested!!
À bien tôt!