This week has been a tough week across Europe. It has been HOT. My classroom and apartment are both on the sixth floor, which can make for long and sweaty days and nights. Despite that, though, I lived to see the other side and managed to get out and do some cultural activities as well. Notably, I visited The Pompidou Center and the Musée d’Orsay with some friends that I have made in class. Having studied art history before, it was really interesting to see the juxtaposition offered by a contemporary/modern museum and a primarily impressionist museum. Each museum showcased many artists that I have already spent great time studying, so it was really great to try to remember the specifics of each artist’s technique and style.
In other news, I finally made it around to doing a book shop tour! While I loved most places I visited, my favorite was called Shakespeare and Sons. While the bookstore does have locations across Europe, I found the Parisienne version to be the best one I have visited yet. There were both French and English sections (the books are normally only in English). In addition, there was an entire section dedicated to used books containing French poetry. If you know me, you know that I spent at least an hour in this one room alone… I ended up buying “Ne tirez pas sur l’oiseau moqueur”, or To Kill a Mockingbird, in French. I spent the following few days engrossed in the book just as I had been when I first read it. The best part for me, though, was rediscovering the story through the eyes of the French language — there are tons of nuances in the story that simply do not exist in English.
Speaking of French, my class has been continuing very well. While I must admit I had trouble getting out of bed to go sit in a smoldering hot classroom each morning, I found that each time I decided to go I ended up being happy with my decision. This class has already helped me so much (maybe even more than a semester’s worth of French in the US). This week, our class only had five people in it, so we each received a lot of personal attention that allowed for me to focus a lot on my oral production skills (which are certainly what I lack the most). My professor, while nice, is quick to point out errors and make corrections. While some in the class do not apreciate her bluntness, I for one find it incredibly helpful. I only wish that French people had forcibly pointed out my mistakes before this class! Who knows what kind of awful mistakes I have been ignorantly making all along! While it is unlikely, I am hoping that our class remains intimate!
Anyways, that’s all for now. I’ll be sure to update you next week!
Cezanne’s famous apples at Musée d’orsay!
A few photos of the bookshop! On the right is a part of the French poetry room.