Monday, July 22

I get a bad grade on a test and complain about the heat.

Had the kids in class laughing, telling them about my FB "Moms" telling me to eat better.

New vocabulary words: clochard = bum, vagrant, hobo, gueux = beggar. Reminded me of my air kiss with the clochard/gueux in the Marais. 4 times, twice on each cheek. Hadn't bathed in months. Sloppy, not dry. Very drunk. Could hardly stand. Knocked my glasses off. What a treat for me. No pretty women in color-coordinated outfits like in the Tour de France for this American, oh no, I'm not worthy of that! I have to be the one to get the real Paris, not the one they show on TV.

Got 10/20 on the grammar test, a very bad grade. I should have done better. It was a hard test but I should have been able to do 15/20. But the other kids did poorly too. Made some stupid mistakes, and didn't study the vocabulary as much as I should have.

Prof did not collect or even talk about our job application letters. I was sure that was a "turn in" kind of assignment, but I guess not. This day is certainly not starting out well!

When she wants something turned in she always says "on a single sheet of paper", meaning not in our notebooks. But also when talking about this kind of job application cover letter, she said that they should always be no longer than a single page. So I probably confused the two. I still often have problems fully understanding what she says. (Make that fully understanding what anybody says).

Prof took pity on us because of the hard test and handed out some "bon-bons" at the end of class (gummy bears). A sadist but not a totally mean one. She flips very rapidly between being very nice and very mean. You never know what to expect next. It's rather disturbing.

Good thing she only takes half a point off for gender errors. E.g., "a tail" = "une queue", not "un queue".

The Prof suggested that we listen online to France Radio International, to improve our comprehension. I may start doing that every day to see if it helps. News broadcasts tend to be a bit easier to understand in my experience.

au-dessous means below or under. au-dessus means above or over, Pronounced "aut-sou" and "aut-su". The difference between the sounds "ou" and "u" is very subtle (the sounds /u/ and /y/ in phonetics notation). We don't have these sounds in English. We practiced those two sounds for an hour in phonetics today. I think I'm getting better, but it's hard. Both are pronounced with the lips rounded and extended forward with the mouth closed, breathing out almost is if you were blowing out a birthday candle. "ou" is with the tongue in back. "u" is with the tongue forward behind the lower teeth. Very difficult.

Not good. The forecast is for a high temperature of 93 F today in Paris. That's too hot for me.

Too hot to go to the Arènes or the Lux or anywhere else. Sat next to a nice young Japanese woman in class this morning. We were fanning each other with our notebooks to try to keep cool.

Some restaurants and bars are air conditioned, most aren't. But even the ones with air conditioning keep all their doors and windows open. Mysterious. Some of the food stores have it too, again with their doors wide open.

I remember as a kid it was a big deal that the movie theaters had air-conditioning. They'd announce it with big signs. It's a bit like that here. If a bar or store has it, there's almost always a sign in the window bragging about it.

But even today my apartment (not appartement, damn you French fingers) is comfortable. That's a blessing.

In our classroom in the church crypt (I still get spooked) there's an enormous fan on a stand that's always turned on full blast when we arrive. But the prof has to turn it off when class starts so we can hear. It's not too bad at 8:30 am in the room. But by the time we leave at 10:20 it's getting hot outside, especially in the sun.