Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I was beginning to wonder. Spent the whole week wandering bemusedly round ugly University buildings looking for classes which then turned out to be English for Idiots, or rather more embarrassingly, German for people whose understanding of the German political system is about 78times as informed as my own. Not to mention interminable meetings with evil French administrative staff whose raison d'etre seems to be blighting the live of innocent Erasmus students, and Heads of Department who all seemed to assume I was in France to take courses in Shakespeare taught in English. Then I managed to get a French literature class this morning and it was awesome- ha ha kids, I'm gonna learn the entire history of rhetoric from Protagoras and Corax to Schopenhauer and Herbert Spencer! In your FACE! This class kicks the arse of anything they bothered to teach me in the QM English department. Not to speak of the French department, where they seem to adhere to the view that French literature -and philosophy- started and ended with the sainted Albert Camus. I'm overwhelmed with the awesomeness of French universities. There were about 90 people in the class, which seemed to be taking place in a disused garage, but I learnt loads of stuff! Had been beginning to forget that I go to college to learn stuff. And because it's BTW, but that is a secondary reason after all. Well I better go read some Plato. Your FACE!!!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I'm adjusting to life in the real world again, have been in Tours a week now in my little rooftop flat, haven't got much done apart from buying a bed and a lot of wineglasses, joining the library and wandering around town looking at the pretty buildings. Now I'm back on the internet and I'm catching up on three months of not being bothered to read the newspapers. Finished work at Les Genets on the first of September, but then I went to Nantes with Dave and Kate, my friends from last year, to go out drinking with all my colleagues. After that Lucille and I took the TGV down to Aix en Provence where we partied and enjoyed the sunshine in a much needed mini holiday. We unwisely played 'I have never' all night before going dancing, which left us so drunk we jumped into a fountain on the way home. Aix is pretty but kinda posh and full of old English people wearing silk scarves and lightweight Burberries. Lucille came back to Tours and helped me through the ghastly process of signing the papers for my flat. This took a grand total of 4 hours, 5 calls to England and one crying tantrum, which appeared to be what swung it... the estate agent was completely prepared to withhold my keys till Monday, until I burst into tears and Lucille started shouting about sleeping on the streets. Since then she, her mother and our friend Marlene have been taxiing my stuff over from where I left it in Nantes, pestering the estate agents for me- yes, it's a beautiful flat, no, it hasn't got hot water at the moment- and generally keeping me in a good mood. I don't actually know anyone in this town yet so it's been nice to have them around. There's been stuff like Sports Open Day, and International Student Pot d'Acceuil, but they sounded a bit lame. I did wander down to register as a student at the Fac de Lettres, which is only two hundred yards from my front door. They were very laid back when I started stressing at them about my course options: they have an incredibly complicated website with about a million courses, but I can't seem to work out what takes place where and when and how many points of my obligatory 60 each class counts for (at QMUL my course units have to add up to 8: am slightly fazed by the 30 points, considering there are lots of classes on the list only worth 2 or 3). School starts tomorrow so at worst I'll just turn up and see what I can find, and wait to see my conseilleure pedagogique on Tuesday, which might just make everything clearer. Would have been nice to know which books to read... am just finishing yet another John le Carré in French as more halfhearted warmup. The faculty itself is one of those charmless cement things knocked up in the 60s when they were desperate, but it's sandwiched between the beautiful old town (where I live) and the Loire. There's a café and a book market down on the river bank and they have live music in the evenings. Plus it's got a great library, and I'm also right next to the main public library for Tours, which is very cool and old school. Well, I think old school libraries are cool. Think 'Shushhhh!' Sarah, my flatmate, is arriving from California this morning: I got up at 6am to go to Charles de Gaulle to meet her, spent bloody ten euros on a cab to the station only to find that the train they told me to get last night doesn't actually exist. The next one would have got me in to Montparnasse an hour after her plane landed and cost bloody 87 E return. I decided to go back to bed and watch Pirates of the Caribbean in French. The third one, which is boring up until the scene with a million Johnny Depps, and then crap afterwards. That one scene is pretty good though. Also reading the news online. Tomorrow I'm definitely gonna buy a paper. Anyway, I might be coming back to England next Saturday night. For one night only mind.