Trop fatiguée d'inventer un titre intéressant

Highlights of the week: 
  • Virtual Xenia dinner on Sunday night (in the wee hours of Monday morning for me), despite being able to actually hear very little and despite having to get up for an early class on Monday...which was cancelled, but I didn't know that until I'd gotten there. I miss Midd professors who email you when they aren't going to show up.
  • Mysteriously nonexistent bus on Tuesday led me to try walking home from Hôpital de la Milétrie - I arrived about an hour later, by probably the most circuitous route possible. Fortunately, it was a pleasant day for walking.
  • Three hours of outlining with my partner for an oral presentation on Balzac and mimesis. French students are every writing teacher's dream: they start by brainstorming, progress to outlines, leave the introduction and conclusion for last, consider revision a mandatory process...it would have been my own personal nightmare in English, but in French the organized method cuts down on comprehension problems. And I'm sure we're going to come out of it with a very good presentation.
  • Les Bacchantes for Elizabeth's 21st birthday (a little anticlimactic, seeing as how she could have bought a drink just as easily the day before) and folk dancing, which was excellent. I learned how to dance the mazurka, at least well enough to follow my partner. It's Polish and lovely and counted in 9 beats, and the music is generally melancholy and romantic. I'm a fan.
  • Waking up this morning for an 8 a.m. class after a mere 4 hours of sleep, and with a sore throat to boot. I more or less slept through said class, and afterwards braved a French pharmacy to get cough drops. Procuring anything remotely medicinal (up to and including contact solution) requires interacting with a pharmacist - no running into the grocery store to grab a bottle of Advil. On the one hand, they know quite a bit; on the other hand, I don't like being stared at while I decide what I want. Bah.
  • Chest x-ray today to confirm that no, in fact, I don't have tuberculosis and it really is okay for me to stay in France for a year. I fail to comprehend the reasoning behind the procedure, since surely a short-stay visa still gives you sufficient time to infect people with TB. Who knows. It was also an object lesson in the casual French attitude towards nudity - in the U.S. they tend to give you a gown if you have to halfway disrobe for an x-ray. Oh, Europeans. On the other hand, I didn't have to wait at all - in fact, there was almost nobody in the hospital. It was faintly creepy. I walked home afterwards by a much more direct route, though it's still a solid 40 minutes. But a sunny 40 minutes, so no complaints.
Now just tomorrow to get through. Plans for the weekend: sleep. Lots of it.


Vive la Révolution

I've been to Bible study a few times now, so I decided it was time to buy an actual Bible. In naive American fashion, I thought this could be accomplished at a bookstore, so I went to Gibert Joseph - a chain, maybe not quite as large as B&N or Hastings, but same principle. First I looked around the religion section - nothing. Then I asked the saleswoman, who looked surprised by my request but directed me to the Livres de poche section (practically everything comes in a Livre de poche - literally, pocket book - edition) - nothing there either. So I asked another saleswoman, who looked similarly surprised and flagged down a coworker, who informed me with a shrug that they were out of Bibles. I waited momentarily for something like "...and we'll be getting more tomorrow." No such luck.

I recounted this experience to my host family over dinner, and was laughed over indulgently. Apparently no self-respecting French bookstore sells Bibles. I have to go to the librairie biblique for that, and, as Christelle said, I will never find it on my own (hopefully there was an implicit "I'll take you sometime" in there). The Revolution did its work well and thoroughly - most French people are aggressively secular, like my history professor, who finds it necessary to preface every remark vaguely pertaining to religious belief with "in the Christian imagination..." On the other hand, whenever I'm in churches (which is fairly often - I love them) I see a good number of lit candles and one or two people saying their rosary or praying to a saint - and this at random times on weekday afternoons. It's like the country has a split personality. Honestly, I think in all their efforts to separate religion from the state they've just made religion an even more constant specter - in the U.S. you can walk into any Wal-Mart and buy a Bible off the tiny book aisle and nobody thinks twice about it. Here I feel like any religious reference is followed by an awkward half-second pause. Ah well, hurrah for cultural differences.