Wednesday, July 31

I give my exposé and learn how to roll my R's in the last day of phonetics class.

Working on relative pronouns in grammar (qui, que, dont, où, lequel, laquelle, lesquels, lesquelles, auquel, à laquelle, auxquels, auxquelles, duquel, de laquelle, desquels, desquelles). Just finished about 40 exercises for homework. I find this fairly easy to write, harder to speak without thinking first.

Last class in phonetics today. Things will get just a little bit easier once that's finished. They saved the worst for last - the "r" sound. Grrrrr. I can do it! The rolling "R" sound! Like a cat coughing up a hairball.

The first actually boring lecture yesterday, on fashion in the late 19th century and its depiction in impressionist paintings. I just don't care much about couture.

My little speech went well. It's called an "exposé". I did it much more informally than it was written, which is appropriate and how I usually do these kinds of presentations. Had em laughing anyway. "Qu'est-ce que c'est la chute de 'e'?" even had the prof laughing. Glad it's over though. Only a tiny bit of nerves - I've done this many times before, but not so much in French.

I even diverged from the script and went off-the-cuff in a few places. Here's one about my "Moms" on FaceBook: "Ils me donnent leurs conseils, surtout les femmes, qui pensent qu'elles sont ma mère."

In a few weeks I get a four day weekend. There's no classes on Thu Aug 15 or Fri Aug 16. It's the "Assomption" holiday - The Assumption of Mary to Heaven. The holidays here seem strange to us except for Christmas, New Year's, and Easter.

Here's a list from Wikipedia:

Jan 1 - Jour de l'an (New years' day)
moveable - Vendredi saint (Good Friday) (*)
moveable - Lundi de Pâques (Easter Monday)
May 1 - Fête du travail (Labor day)
May 8 - Victoire 1945 (Victory in Europe day)
moveable - Ascension (Ascension day)
moveable - Lundi de Pentecôte (Whit Monday)
July 14 - Fête Nationale (Bastille day)
Aug 15 - Assomption (Assumption of Mary to heaven)
Nov 1 - Toussaint (All saint's day)
Nov 11 - Armistice 1918 (Armistice day)
Dec 25 - Noël (Christmas)
Dec 26 - Saint Etienne (St. Stephen's day) (*)

(*) observed only in Alsace and Moselle

French law imposes that work should stop, but be paid, only for 
the Fête du Travail (May Day, May 1), except in industries where 
it is infeasible to stop working. The rest of the public holidays 
are listed in statute law, but law does not impose that work should 
stop; however leave of work may be granted by the employer or by 
convention collective (agreement between employers' and employees’ 
unions).

This is strange also because France is an extremely secular society, but most of the public holidays are Catholic ones.

Among many other homework assignments for today, I had to memorize this cryptic depressing poem by Jacques Prévert. What do you think of it? I don't know whether I like it or not.

Le Message

La porte que quelqu’un a ouverte
La porte que quelqu’un a refermée
La chaise où quelqu’un s’est assis
Le chat que quelqu’un a caressé
Le fruit que quelqu’un a mordu
La lettre que quelqu’un a lue
La chaise que quelqu’un a renversée
La porte que quelqu’un a ouverte
La route où quelqu’un court encore
Le bois que quelqu’un traverse
La rivière où quelqu’un se jette
L’hôpital où quelqu’un est mort.

The Message

The door that someone opened
The door that someone closed
The chair on which someone sat
The cat that someone petted
The fruit that someone bit into
The letter that someone read
The chair that someone tipped over
The door that someone opened
The road that someone ran down
The woods that someone crossed
The river in which someone jumped
The hospital where someone died.

Dinner tonight is a light one. A salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and green pepper with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and some salt and pepper. Got the veggies on the way home from class at an open-air market on Boul St-Germain. They taste good and fresh. I only used half of them, so I can do this again tomorrow. And it all only cost a couple of euros.

Except the lettuce was a bit gritty - forgot to wash it! Usually don't need to at home, but this one just came in on a truck from a farm somewhere and I don't think anyone did any processing to it except dig it out of the ground.

A very sad day. Lost a good friend (ate him actually). Goodbye millefeuille!

The poor little thing needed to put out of its misery. It was getting a little rubbery after 5 days in the fridge. Still good though!