Friday, August 30

My iPhone is stolen. We graduate and celebrate at a bar.

Well, that was exciting. On m'a volé!

I was at the kitchen counter pouring milk into a cup of coffee. I had just made a fresh pot. Heard a loud bang. Turned around and saw that the window had blown open and knocked the coffee pot off the table. There was a huge mess all over the table, the couch, the floor, my jeans, everything. Hot coffee grounds and hot coffee. Took over an hour to clean up the mess. Had to move all my stuff and all the furniture around.

Started putting back all of my stuff and couldn't find my iPhone. It wasn't the wind after all. Someone pushed open my window and stole my phone! How aggravating. At least they didn't take the iPad or the MacBook or anything else.

Used iCloud's "Find my iPhone" feature. The phone is currently turned off. It will be erased as soon as someone tries to connect to the Internet. I have a very recent backup (from like 10 minutes before it was stolen) so I haven't lost anything. But now I have to buy a new phone. What a hassle.

There's a silver lining in every iCloud: My apartment is very clean now.

I'll carry the pad around with me for the rest of the trip. It has all the same stuff on it that my phone did, except for the actual phone-phone. Then I'll get a new phone when I get back to Chicago. I've got to call AT&T though.

I don't actually ever use a phone here in Paris anyway - the talk to someone in real time kind of old fashioned phone. Everything is FB and email.

Leaving a ground floor apartment window open in Paris in the middle of the night is not the smartest thing to do. When Raquel was over a few days ago she warned me about that. I should have listened to her.

Was thinking it was time to upgrade the old iPhone 4 anyway.

Gotta have the latest model iPhone, don't ya know, even though I never use the silly thing (back home in Chicago). Except as a watch substitute, and even that hardly ever. Oh yeah, and to call my Mom because I turned off long distance service on the land line. So, OK, yes, I guess I do use it every once in a while.

And don't worry! All 538 photos from this summer are safe and sound, in multiple locations!

"Find my phone" brought up Google maps centered at my apartment here on rue Rollin with a big blue dot. Told me my Mac and the pad were in the apartment, but the phone was turned off and hence couldn't be located. That's pretty cool.

So between locking myself out of my apartment, getting my phone stolen, and making a fool of myself in French class, I've hit the trifecta in terms of catastrophes here this summer. Hope this is the end of it!

I'm so giddy because I'm living in Paris that nothing bothers me. I'd still be cursing if I was back in Chicago. Just ask my kids!

It's not the end of it. I still have an hour of class left, plenty of time to make fool of self, in French no less. And it's only 6 hours from now. Gotta do that last bit of homework at some point here.

Just had a brilliant thought. It's 2 in the morning here. Maybe I should close my window.

Just think of it as an exaggerated form of giving all my pocket change to street beggars in the Marais. Except this time I didn't even get a drunken air kiss out of it.

2nd fresh pot of coffee made. Window closed. 2 in the morning, hangin' on FB. Life is good.

And I thought this only happened in the bad parts of town, on the Champs Élysées.

At least the thief didn't take the coffee. Now THAT would have been truly a catastrophe.

Except how do I call AT&T without a phone? A puzzle.

Just started homework. Noticed 3 frogs on last dictée. Woo hoo! Definitely enough frogs to make dinner now.

Turns out I can report the phone stolen and block service using the AT&T web site. Very cool.

Still no homework done. 5 am now. F**k it. I'm going to blow it off. Just this once. It's not like we have to hand it in or anything. We just go over it in class. I can wing it.

Alarm on pad set for 5 am just went off. Nice to know it's still in the apartment.

OK, AT&T has now suspended service and blocked access from the device to their network. Don't have to worry about someone running up charges on my bill.

Couch cushion dried nicely. Looks good as new. Must be some kind of miracle fabric.

There's a downside to blabbing on FB. Went to class, saw D & R, was all excited to tell them about my big robbery, but "Ah oui, nous l'avons déjà lu". Nothing left to talk about in person.

Hiroshi was the official photographer of everyone getting their certificates. I've got a silly grin on my face because my friends were all shouting "Jean-Louis, Jean-Louis!" That's our prof, Irina Anelok.

The hair really doesn't look all that bad in this pic. Mine, I mean, not the prof's. I know, I'm obsessed over my hair. Deal with it.

The prof looks good here too. Pretty smile, don't you think? We all think she's probably a nice person in "real life". She definitely has quite a sense of humor. She was just so tough on us in class. I'll remember her "fondly," but I'll have nightmares where she'll be present too.

I know I have my high school and college diplomas in the house, in a folder with other dusty old papers somewhere.

But this one? I think maybe a frame and a spot on the wall.

Are my friends back home good enough for me now? Il faut écrire en anglais parce que mes amis aux États-Unis sont ignorants. Ils ne sont rien. Ils n'ont pas de diplôme de la Sorbonne. Je les tous renonce. Ils ne sont plus méritants de mes attentions.

Avant partir à Paris, ma fille m'a dit « Tu seras intolérable quand tu rentreras ». Ha!

A note (grade) of 15.10/20 is pas mal (not bad). In the French grading system this is the equivalent of an A. "1er degré" means "first degree".

The party on the last day of class.

Happy hour later at 17h.

We all agreed that I captured a pretty good image of our prof. Can you imagine her saying "non, non, non, ce n'est pas le français"? I sure can! Kind of burned into my brain, some cells that will never be available for use ever again for any other purpose.

Do you feel like you kind of know most of these people already? Hope so.

In our very last group activity right before the party, we were told to discuss what we had learned over the last 8 weeks. We were talking about vocabulary. I mentioned one of our vocabulary words, "l'épaule", which means "shoulder". I said that if you had pointed to my shoulder and asked how to say the word in French, I wouldn't have known the word, but when the prof at one of the lectures used the word, I recognized and understood it, and now I remember it. Our prof interrupted and gave us one of her min-lectures about the difference between the vocabulary you use when you speak and the vocabulary you use when you hear others speak and how the former is always smaller than the latter. Kind of obvious, I thought. But OK, interesting enough. There's another vocabulary word we were supposed to have learned, "un râteau", which means "rake". We got hit with it on one of our exams and I don't think anyone in the class got it right. So the prof reamed us out for not knowing the word. And I think we got it AGAIN on a subsequent exam. So I told her about being in the restaurant and seeing a huge rake on the wall, and how "tout le monde a dit, je sais le mot pour ça!" That got her laughing pretty hard. Another petit triomphe pour moi!

More pictures of the party taken by Raquel.

Happy hour was here at The Rosa Bonheur in Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a very "in" spot way up in the 19th on the northeast side of Paris. See a description in English and a description in French.

Good thing we got there early. Filled up fast and an enormous line when we left. Just a couple of drinks with Wee Ling, Ekaterina, Deo, and Raquel. We all have busy weekends ahead. Lots of fun talking about the class and all the people.

The place is in the middle of a beautiful park. Like being in the country. Very pretty. There was a gorgeous sunset. We had a table right outside the entrance and were lucky to be able to sit.

That bar was hard to find. I arrived on the métro on time, but got lost and wandered around for half an hour looking for the joint. Finally found it, expecting that everyone would already be there. But it was only Wee Ling sitting all alone at a table looking very lonely. So I greeted her and then went into the bar to get my first drink. We talked for a long time. D&R texted that they would be there in 5 minutes, but it took way longer for them to finally show up. Wee Ling and I were happy to see them. They were starting to set up the long line of barricades for crowd control and we were starting to worry that they'd have to wait in line and wouldn't be permitted to come join us at the table. We had to fend off dozens of people who wanted to sit at our table, and we had to tell them over and over again "nous attendons nos amis, désolée." Then Ekaterina showed up (or did she get there first? Can't remember). Anyway, I'm glad that we all finally did manage to locate the place.

In this group I'm the only one leaving Paris. Lots of talk about the mechanics of trying to live and work here. Complicated. D & R have found a new apartment up in the 2nd and are moving tomorrow (Saturday). A 6th floor walkup (!) for a reasonable rent. Good luck guys! Wee Ling and Ekaterina are also both in the process of moving.

Deo finally got brave and got his hair cut and is looking very handsome, for a Brazilian anyway. Learned that the way his name is pronounced here in France means "deodorant" back in Brazil. Hilarious. I really need a haircut too and now I feel silly for not having had one here in Paris. Look forward to getting home in two weeks and paying a visit to Vince, my Italian barber.

Wee Ling recommended a restaurant for when the kids come. I opened my pad and tried to type the name in the notes app so I could remember it. Forgot to switch the keyboard to French so the pad "corrected" the name. Said to Wee Ling that I needed to tap the little globe icon to switch to French and try again. She took out her iPhone and tapped her little globe icon and showed it to me. A huge menu with all sorts of strange languages from all over the world appeared. Just Wow.

Had fun imitating the prof. She has a deep nasal voice. "Non, Non, Non, ce n'est pas le français" was one of her favorite responses whenever one of us had the audacity to try to say something in French.

Jordi didn't come because he was at a rugby match with his mother. Isn't that cute? He was the one who suggested this bar. Thanks, Jordi!

Ekaterina is très charmante. She's Russian and American (dual citizenship). All these people I've met this summer are so interesting! She was wearing her haut talons again (to be precise, des chaussures compensées, high heels with a wedge heel). I guess all that fashion advice I gave her in that group activity is paying off.

Charlene, another classmate, is also American. I didn't know that. Spent 8 weeks wondering why her English was so good.

Joel was hoping to come but didn't make it. There was a good deal of text messaging going on with him. He leaves Paris to go home on Monday. Sad! Adieu, Joel! Via email he told me that it was fun to share "une nouba" here in Paris, said to look it up. Means "shindig". Ha!

Raquel said "I told you it wasn't a good idea to leave that window open." LOL. Thanks, Mom.

Deo is having a hard time trying to decide on his next French class. The Sorbonne again, or a different school? Tough decision.

There was a young lothario from Columbia in our class who was hitting on all the "girls", especially "les Turques" (the particularly cute ones from Turkey). Deo launched into an extended quite serious explanation of why this guy was not a true "latin lover". I asked him how he would know, anyway. Et tu le sais comment, Deo? Raquel nearly choked on her beer. This was all pretty funny.

Had a taste for a real "cocktail" at the bar. Been drinking just beer and wine all summer. Asked if they had "scotch et soda" (yes, that's the real French term). Ended up with Jameson and Perrier, and they even gave it to me with a tiny bit of ice. Yummy!

Talked about how in the morning on my way to class I would try to think of things I could say that would make the prof laugh. God knows we needed something to cut the tension just a little bit in those classes. I actually succeeded a few times.

Deo said that in terms of getting permission and the proper visas and work permits and so on to live in Paris, if you're married to a French citizen everything is much easier. So I said "Alors, il faut trouver une française!" Then I need to find a Frenchwoman! That got a good laugh. Funny, but in a sad way true enough.

Why do I spend all this time writing all these little details of each of my days and nights here? a) I don't have anything better to do. b) I don't want to forget them. They're all special.

Did Hemingway and his pals have this much fun in their bars and cafés back in the 20s? I'm sure they did. Now when I read about it I don't have be jealous. I've done that, it's lots of fun!

Hemingway was famous for never using an extra word when fewer would do. But in the following celebrated passage I think he made a mistake. The word "young" could have been left out. Better yet, just delete the whole phrase "as a young man". But then it wouldn't be Hemingway, would it?

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then 
wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you for Paris 
is a moveable feast.

Oh my, what wonderful memories I'm going to have for the rest of my life of this summer in Paris.

I don't believe that I've slept at all in the last 24 hours, so I'm off to bed. No homework this weekend? Maybe I"ll really believe it after some sleep.

Double check. Window closed and locked? Yes. OK. Good night.