samedi 7 novembre 2009

7 Novembre 2009 - Montpellier

Bon d'accord. So, interesting things that happened this week: First, on Thursday night, I had to go to this presentation thing for my histoire du theatre class (Literally, my teacher told us in English, "You have to do it."). Literally, no one in the class knew exactly what it was or--for that matter--where it was. Once we all found the appropriate building (our teacher's directions had made finding it forty times more difficult than need be. It was literally facing the tram stop.), we waited inside until ushered into a smallish theater. This is the point at which I discovered the presentation was actually to be a short-ish play, some forty minutes in length, presque sans paroles, entitled "Duelle," followed by a question and answer session. Essentially, the play involved five guys acting out one form of duel after another, starting with western and including a sort of kung-fu style that morphed into a dance battle. It was actually really funny and interesting. My favorite question during the session that followed was whether or not the beards of the actors were a scripted part of the play because it worked well with the motif of the play. The answer was that they were simply bearded men. Then one of the hairier among them added, "But I, for instance, have more beard than usual." It was funnier in french.

Yesterday, I turned in a paper and did an oral presentation (c'est-a-dire, un expose) in my history class. It was on the why and how France entered the first world conflict, c'est-a-dire la Premiere Guerre mondiale ou la Grande Guerre. J'ai tellement peur de faire des expose toujours, mais surtout en francais. My teacher said I did okay though, and I didn't spell anything wrong on the board which was also good. He did say that in general the answers to the questions for the presentations were becoming too broad. Apparently in France, unlike at home, when they ask why and how a nation became involved in a conflict, they mean more immediate causes. In the United States, at least it seems to me, teachers want you to discuss anything and everything that contributed at all to the involvement. But, at least it's done, and I don't have to do work in that class again until the final exam.

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the awesome things my teachers say in English. So, all the teachers of RI (relations internationals) courses, which are only for American students, speak English pretty well. However, sometimes they make mistakes or say things awesomely. Some examples include: My history professor saying "You joker" in a perfect American accent; my history professor saying "annihilation" in a pretty good British accent, only to have half the class not understand, then asking how it is said in American and ranting in French about how he spent twenty years learning English and how now he has to learn American; my theater professor saying the word "puppets" multiple times in one class, but mispronouncing the "u" like that of the word "pugilist;" my theater professor quoting star wars saying "you are my son" only to learn that in English it is "I am your father;" my history professor trying to think of the English word for "betterave," coming up with "turnpike," realizing that was completely wrong and asking what the English word is (it is, en fait, "beets." I think he was thinking "turnip" when he said "turnpike" and that's not to far off); and my history professor trying to say "barbed wire"--when you are French, this is very very difficult.

Also, yesterday night, I went to see a movie, "MicMacs a Tire-Larigot." It was actually really enjoyable, so when it comes out I suggest renting it and subtitling it (as it is in French). It is from the same director as "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain" or "Amelie," as it's called in the U.S. It was similar in that it was quirky and brightly colored. Anyway, I liked it. I also discovered while there that the french M&Ms have weird voices.

I think that is all for now. Some more DFCF tips: The Mediterranean is not hot in the winter, it is in fact a lot like the weather at home, minus snow.

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