brain = pudding

Well, that's what happens after two solid 6.5-hour days of French classes, especially following a three-day weekend hanging out with only French-speakers. We'll start at the beginning.

A friend of mine was moving out of his place in Toulouse, a college town about four hours southwest of Lyon. Joyous at the chance to get out of this crazy town I haven't left in the last two months, I went down to help him. Toulouse is good for just about a day of tourism, so I'm glad I wasn't there for much longer. There's a cute little outdoor, cobblestone mall and a pretty park or two, but that's about it. The weather was in the lower 70s, which, being almost November and coming from dreary Oregon, just about blew my mind. But it was really comfortable, so I wasn't too upset.

Saturday night I went out with a big group of Gabonese to celebrate my friend's last day in Toulouse. The whole thing was totally awesome. First we went around the dorms and knocked on all his friends' doors and convinced them to go out, even though most of them were still hung over from the night before. We stayed out until 3:30 a.m. dancing and it was a total blast. 
It's totally hilarious how Africans dance, or at least the Africans I know. It's completely awesome. They make a circle and all just kinda dance and then someone'll go in the middle and do their best and everyone gives them props. The funniest part is when a guy and a girl dance all sexily in the middle and everyone just goes W-I-L-D. They'll frame the girl's ass with their hands or get right up next them and look at just how closely they're dancing with an incredulous look on their faces, like they can't possibly believe how cool that is. It's so awesome how into it they are.

My classes this week weren't terrible, and I think that's all you can really expect from school. I like my teachers, except my two elective teachers, but we'll get to them later, and the lessons are relatively interesting. I'm actually surprised how after 6.5 solid hours of class with only 25 minutes of break times I don't have an intense desire to bury myself in English. But, at the same time, I am writing this, so I guess this counts as French de-tox. 

But for all that, am I getting better at French? Hmm.... well, like I've said before, I have good days and bad days. Today and yesterday were pretty good days. Sunday was a crappy day; I felt like I couldn't put together a single complete sentence, and I don't think I did that day. But days like that are when my brain decides to make me think through everything I say. Other days, like today, I'll just say something and have no idea how I knew how to say that.

My two elective teachers both have something that rubs me the wrong way. Part of it, I think, is that they both know English and like to let me know that. It's getting really annoying when people translate simple words for me that I already understand just to prove they know English. I want to remind them that I know French better than they know English, but I don't know how to say that. ;-)
Anyway, being The American definitely has its ups and downs. It's cool because you almost always feel special, but it's taxing because there's so many things American over here that people talk about, you can't possibly be an authority on everything. For instance, the fact that we have an electoral college system is frequently talked about here. Unfortunately, I don't really know how it works and I don't really know anybody else who does either. But I got in two conversations about it today alone and felt totally useless to offer any insight as to why Americans have such a crazy way of electing someone who, I feel more and more the longer I'm here, is seen as the leader of the world.

Before I go, one last rather interesting thing. They're coming out with a homosexual-only television station here and it's caused a sort of debate. There aren't any other exclusive/community-based stations here and it's making people talk about whether Catholics or Muslims should be allowed to have their own station too, or if it's too exclusionary. The only reason I really find this new PINK TV station interesting is that they haven't thought of it yet in America. Lifetime, Spike TV, even the Golf Channel: the only logical conclusion is Queer TV. 

By the way, I assume everyone is familiar with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a show with five gay guys who take over the life of a straight guy for a day and make him into a semi-functional, relatively attractive and classy human being. I saw the same thing here, only with French people. Let me emphasize this: it was *exactly* the same, only with French people. The five gay guys were dressed and acted just like their American counterparts, right down to the ditzy, tall, blonde fashion guy and the striped-shirt-and-glasses-wearing culture guy. It really creeped me out. It creeped me out even more than thinking about those poor voice actors sitting in a dubbing booth somewhere imitating Katie Holmes panting when she runs...


Popular Posts