Thursdays are, at best, hectic and, at worst, hell. I have three different classes at three different locations, spread out across Paris. To make matters worse, my school day stretches from 9 a.m., when my first class begins, until 7 p.m., when my last class ends.
Today was no exception and was, in fact, busier than most.
I woke up at 7 a.m. when the first of my two alarms sounded (I’m paranoid after the debacle of two weeks ago, plus my professor now refuses to admit tardy students…which is amusing enough, as long as I’m not the tardy one). I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head, etc., all before the sun came out. At a quarter after eight, I left the apartment to brave the cold – for the first time this season, I could see my breath – the dark and the Metro.
Perhaps because I was a few minutes later than usual or maybe because of the cold, my train was a bit crowded. It wasn’t too bad, however, and the now-routine ride from Raspail to Bercy, where I transfer lines, and Bercy to my stop went by quickly. As often is the case, the escalator was en panne [out of order] so I had to walk the 106 stairs (yes, I’ve counted) from the station to the street.
A bit tired, I arrived to my cinema class with time to spare and upon noting my enormous thirst and the stifling hot temperature in the normally frigid room, I bought myself an Orangina. Class went by as normal, but by the end of the three hours, the combination of the heat in the room and the rapidity with which the professor was talking made it difficult to pay attention. Subsequently, my notes suffered and sleep sounded oh-so tempting. At the end of class, I learned the pleasant surprise that next week is apparently vacation for Paris VII so I don’t have class.
Now that I’ve finally mastered the restaurant universitaire [university restaurant], I maneuvered through the cafeteria like an expert, choosing a cheese pizza (which despite questionably including goat cheese is quite good), apple yogurt, vanilla pudding and bread – all for 2,85 euro, which I love.
Part of the *appeal* of my Thursdays is the awkward amounts of time between my classes. It’s too much time to head straight to the next class, but too little to actually buckle down to do work (or maybe that’s my lack of gumption). So I killed some time in the gigantic Paris VII library until I decided it was time to hop on the Metro to the Centre Madeleine where I have my France-Africa class.
The Madeleine Metro stop is conveniently located on the same line as the campus of Paris VII, which means no transferring necessary. De plus, the line in question is line 14. The newest line in the Metro system, it is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. This novelty translated to more spacious trains, speedier travel and nifty, space-aged glass blockades, which make the tracks suicide-proof. It’s a short 15 minute ride. In fact, it often takes me more time to walk to the building where my class is than it takes to traverse Paris in the Metro because I must cross five different roadways with lights that are never synched for pietons [pedestrians].
France-Afrique passed as usual, with our excitably passionate professor struggling desperately to contain himself as he lectured and us, the students, struggling desperately to decipher his handwriting.
Another awkward break comes between France-Afrique and my final course for the day, Translation. Today, the gap was pleasantly filled with a Smith-style tea. An alumna from ’75, who studied on the Paris JYA program during her day and has since set up an amazing fund which reimburses us for “cultural activities” while on the program, came to chat and share tea and cookies with us. It was just what I needed on a cold and stressful day.
Finally it was time for Translation. We got our first quiz back, and I was pleasantly surprised with my grade. As usual, we went over the translations that we had prepared for class. We also attempted to have a discussion about how one translates the verb “could” into French, but the whole discussion became very muddled as we attempted to complete an exercise without context…and our English-grammar stickler-ness kicked in.
After class I rushed to the Metro to head back to the 13th where I had started my day to see a movie for my service learning course. The movie, Coluche, l’histoire d’un mec, was very interesting, although I am not quite positive that I see the link to community service. I did enjoy the great late 70s/early 80s (when the real-life events of the movie took place) music included in the film: Iggy Pop’s “Lust of Life” (screw you, Royal Caribbean for trying to kill this song) and The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” among others.
I got back to Boulevard Montparnasse around 10:30 p.m. when I stopped at a crêpe stand for my dinner: a delicious egg and cheese galette. I topped my day off by Skyping with ma mere [my mom] and now I am feeling quite ready for some sleep.
Tomorrow, I must write a paper, but I am keeping my spirits high for our excursion this weekend to Mont-Saint-Michel.