Friday, January 23, 2009

Let the Official Learning Begin.

So after our nice weekend away and being spoiled with travels and good food, we returned to Nantes for orientation week. During this week our schedule was composed of things such as group meetings where we learned the rules of IES, the social etiquette of living with our host families, and the rules of taking classes at the local University here. We also went on a tours of the University of Nantes, and the center of Nantes with all the practical stops such as the Laundromat and the Post Office, both the small and large one. When we weren’t in big groups listening to rules, or walking around the city in the cold we were spilt into smaller groups so that the instructors could do an intensive review of French based on our needs as shown by the test we took in Tours and judge us further so that they could figure out for sure which grammar class we would be put into for the rest of the semester. If you can’t tell by my tone this week was so much fun. Seriously it was kind of tiring. Granted some of the information they gave us was needed, but there was a lot of it, really quickly, in French. Classes for the intensive review were helpful, but also very very boring. And the tours were also helpful, but maybe a little long especially in the winter. It felt a lot like they were holding our hands and leading us around like you would a kindergarten class on a field trip. As a relatively independent human being with a brain and a need to be alone every now and again this was a very hard week for me. Just a picture, for this entire week I woke up around 7 and was with my family until I left for school maybe an hour or so later, then was at school with people being herded until 6 or sometimes later, when I went back home and would be with my family for dinner and usually conversation after until 9, when I’d finally get to go to bed. That’s over 12 hours a day of me being with people, all the time, straight 12 hours of people. Not to mention hearing a foreign language everywhere is oddly tiring. I think it’s cause I still have to concentrate on it to understand.

So not the best week ever in the history of my life, but progress was made! French is starting to slowly be more intuitive for me. I can really understand most of what I hear, or at least catch the major meaning. However, forming full length sentences still eludes me more often than not. But I’m doing at least ten thousand times better than I was doing my first night and even first weekend. At the end of the week, on Friday I went to the movies with a friend, which was OK, but the movie we saw was not quite what I expected it to be and we were so tired I think at one point we both fell asleep for a while. I thought it was a suspense movie that would have minimal dialogue and lots of action/suspension to keep us entertained. In reality it was more subdued and thoughtful with maybe not lots of dialogue but the dialogue was important and metaphysical. Not a good movie for two exhausted Americans who are tired after a week of hard core French. Oh well, it was still fun and nice to do something on our own. On Saturday I went with my host family to their daughter’s house about an hour away I think so I got to meet her and her kids. I helped her oldest with her English homework. It was kind of funny since my French isn’t great. I taught her, she taught me, it was a symbiotic tutoring lesson. Another funny thing I noticed was that French countryside looks about the same as Kansas except you take away the wheat fields and replace them with vineyards. Sunday I slept and then decided to go explore some of the parks around Nantes, because it has several that are very pretty, even in the winter. It was a nice way to spend the day, a book and a park. I know, I’m such a nerd, I travel all the way to France and spend my time reading in parks instead of going out and flirting with French boys, but what can I say? After that week, I needed to be introverted for at least a day. Besides if Beauty and Beast is any indication, the nerdy French girl that reads gets the prince anyway. So now all I need is for Dad to grow old and senile get lost in a forest and taken captive by a mean French millionaire so that I can go rescue him, turn the millionaire into a good person and fall in love. That shouldn’t be too hard at all. I’ll get to work on that. Tomorrow.

Now for a quick lesson in French, C’est tout! Which means; That’s all!


1 comment:

  1. Hey Friend!

    I just want you to know that I know exactly how you feel. My first week in Peru, with Spanish lessons, spending time with my host family and being dragged around the city was very exhausting. But I can promise you that one day, in a week or so, you will be glad they told you where everything is, and your French will be much more fluent. I love you and miss you and hope you are doing well.

    Hasta la tarde! (see you later)