Thursday, September 3, 2009
The Rise of Fall
Its beginning to look a lot like Autumn…or feel that way anyways. Today I got to wear my colder weather, fall clothes: sweater, jeans and boots, which I was very happy about, because I brought mainly cooler weather clothes (and those are the more fashionable ones as well).
Yesterday, Wednesday, was the day for our Sorbonne tests, those that would determine what level we are put in for our language classes. It was a mix of oral comprehension, multiple choice written grammar questions, and a little essay. I didn’t really think I did all that hot, which wasn’t really a problem because its not graded, and we will be in a class which is right for us. After the test, we had a very small interview with a grader, who asked us why we were in Paris, for how long, all that, and although he didn’t do this with the students before me, he talked with me a little longer and took the time to grade my test. (Maybe it was because I didn’t ask him to repeat each of his questions twice, or maybe it was just because there weren’t a lot of other students after me). As I had thought, I did alright, and he said I was in between levels strong intermediate and weak advanced. He asked me which I preferred, and I asked if I was put in advanced and it was too hard, could I change easily? He said yes of course, so I chose advanced. I think that’s level 4, and the highest is superior, level 5. I imagine that most of us are in one or the other, or strong intermediate. We’ll see how that goes.
Later in the day, I went out for crepes with John and Marielle, a friend John made from his foyer. She’s French, from just near Lyon. We went out in the Marais, and according to Marielle, the crepes we had were ‘the real deal’. Oh good. It was nice to go out with a native French speaker and just speak French and be understood.
Today we had another class, this one a little farther from my comfort zone of art history: political science, more specifically, the organization of French government and political structures. The prof, Mathieu, was very nice, clear, and very knowledgeable, but it was a bit harder for me to keep up. Nonetheless, I learned a lot.
We then ate a huge Indian food lunch, which was delicious, and walked towards the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, located in the 19th (very north) and the biggest park in Paris. It was really beautiful, but a bit strange because it was ‘built’ during the 19th century, during the Romantic era, and the architects wanted it to look very ‘sauvage’ (wild or untamed). So it has that look, but it is actually very planned and domesticated. I think Gilbert said it was originally a quarry where they mined the stone for many of the buildings. The even constructed a ragged looking cliff, and put an ancient looking temple on the top. It seemed to me kind of a mix between a nice park and Disneyland. We then walked through Belleville, and now I am back at my foyer. Tomorrow is the last day of our orientation, and then we start classes at the Sorbonne on Monday! It will be nice to finally have a schedule.