19 October, 2006

Une Fois Pour Toutes

My favorite French grammar book, Une Fois Pour Toutes, which I ordered off of Amazon, arrived today. I spent most of the evening reading random French grammar rules out loud to my friends and making posters about the differences between feminine and masculine nouns.

In other news, I'm working on putting up a set of photos I took yesterday. As of right now (link to the right, as usual), there are twenty-ish completely unorganized photos up. My future plans include putting up more photos and actually getting them into an order that makes some kind of sense. They were taken on a walk, so when I'm done they should show the progress of the walk pretty well, but for now they're just a random senseless collection of pretty photos. Check back for changes in the future, and leave nasty comments if I forget.

Good night!

17 October, 2006

I Have Arrived

Today, as I was walking to the tram station, someone in a car stopped and asked me for directions. And I gave them to him. I have arrived.

(To balance this, I was sitting reading this afternoon, and someone walked up to me and asked me what time it was. I said, "3.10," and he said, "You have an American accent." I was bummed. He did, however go on to compliment me on the accent- even though he could tell I was American, he said my accent was the best American accent he'd ever heard, on account of my having the R sound right. And then we made plans to sit around and talk to each other in our respective languages. So that was all right after all.)


The French use a degree sign ( ˚ if it shows up correctly for everyone) to abreviate the "(t)ion" sound. There are a lot of words in French that end with that sound (-tion, -sion, -cion...), so that's the most common abbreviation. And it makes me very happy.

15 October, 2006

Radio Blog Club

Y'all should check out Radio Blog Club. It's got a lot of music (and of French music), all for free- stretching the limits of what can be called "online radio." You can search for an artist or a song, and then listen to it and a list of music that the site recommends for you, or add it to a "favorites" list and make your own playlists of songs you like.

(In sort of the same vein is Pandora, a site that will make a custom station for you based on a song or an artist that you like. It's really quite good, but has not much French music, so I don't listen to it all that often.)


Yesterday all of the EAP people went to Annecy, which is a cute little mountain village. It's really more of a city or town than a village, as we know because the bus driver drove randomly around the city for about twenty minutes before finally giving up and driving the bus over a sidewalk to get us to where we wanted to be. Annecy is really one of the cutest places I've ever been. It's sort of what Solvang wishes it were. All of the houses are old, and the streets are narrow and cobblestone and windy, and there's a little river running through the center of the town. It's very alpine and entirely adorable.

We were there for the Retour des Alpages, which is when they bring all the cows and sheep and goats and things down out of the Alps (where they've been grazing all summer) for the winter. It was very crowded. There were lots of English and American and Italian and French tourists, which didn't bug me at all, really, except for when I heard the American tourists saying really stupid things. (Speaking of getting annoyed at Americans saying stupid things, as we were walking past the line into the cafeteria last week Laura and I heard a very American accent say, "I'm just, so over the baguette thing, you know?" We just about died.)

When they have been gotten down from the mountains, all of the animals are paraded through the streets for people to watch. I watched the parade with Jessica, and as we were getting ourselves set up I heard a small, very English voice behind me say, "But I can't see," and then a larger, also very English voice say, "Well, Georgiana..."

"Georgiana?" I thought, "This I cannot miss," and turned around and asked if she'd like to sit on my shoulders, and that is how I watched the parade with a four-year-old English girl named Georgiana on my shoulders.

05 October, 2006

My mother is a funny woman

While discussing doing an éxposé on the desserts in Grenoble:

Sugar -- as if you didn't already know
PMS and the wonders of chocolate
Ginger with chocolate -- decadence or brilliance?
Beyond raspberries
To eat, or not to eat. Why is that even a question?

In a conversation on the topic of French boyfriends (out of the 11 EAP girls in Grenoble, 4 have found French boyfriends. At least 4 already have boyfriends back in the states):

Her: Four out of the eleven? Good heavens!!!!!!! Sounds like the French boys were waiting to pounce! Are the four boys friends, by any chance?
Me: Nope, none of them know each other
Her: That's what they'd like you to believe... Is it actually a giant competition/conspiracy/?? ?
Me: It must be. A message went out to the French boys: "Bulletin. Bulletin. Unattached American girls, twelve o'clock. Be on the lookout- you'll be able to snag one."
Her: Oh yes. "Remember, for some completely inexplicable reason, they think French guys are really sexy -- on your mark, get set, ... It's Pierre by a nose. Etienne is coming up on the outside. It's Pierre, it's Pierre, Etienne is gaining ground... No, it's Jean-Luc, with a surprise come-from-behind take-down!!!!!!!!!"

Settling in

I really like it here. There are, of course, all the normal ups and downs of life in general, and of adjusting to life in a different country, but no matter how I'm feeling about the rest of my life, my physical location is really all I could ever ask for. I love my apartment.

Walking to and from my apartment is a joy. It's in the centre ville, the city center, which in Europe means both the downtown where the stores are and the place where everyone lives (not just the poor people), so walking down the street all the bottom levels are stores and things and then the higher levels are apartments. Very typically European, I think, and a set-up that I'm very fond of. Aside from the fact that I just like the idea of having a centre ville, the particular part of the city that I'm living in has a feeling that I like very much. I'm not sure quite why yet, but it seems very alive and yet laid back at the same time, and just walking through the neighborhood makes me happy.

The apartment building itself is great. I'm not sure that it's anything really special for Europe, but to me it's amazing. I don't know exactly how old it is, but I think it's pretty old (i.e. pre 1906, 'cause I'm from the Bay Area). It hasn't got an elevator, so when I come in I walk up 6 flights of stairs to get to my door. I think that's exactly the right number of stairs to have to walk up. It's enough that it's a little exercise, but not so many that I can't walk up them even when I'm dead tired.

My favorite thing about the building, though, is the way that it smells. I can't describe it. I just smells old. It smells like something that's been around long enough that all of the smells it's seen have settled in and become something stable.

I love my room. I think I'll have to save describing it, and the rest of the apartment, for another post. Maybe by the time I get around to it you'll be lucky enough that I'll have set up a photo tour of my room, or my room and the apartment, or even my room, the apartment, and my neighborhood (although that will almost certainly be asking too much)...

04 October, 2006


Blogger says my last update was October 3rd, which worries me just a little, because the last time I can remember doing anything here was at least a week ago. Are any of you messing with my blog?

I write this from my new apartment, lying on my lovely bed using the wireless internet I set up (read: I plugged the Airport in) a couple minutes ago.

It's in a pretty old building, so there's no elevator and there are high ceilings and lots of character. I'm on the troisième étage, which is the 4th floor in America, which is just high enough that I get some exercise coming up to my room, but not so high that I have to stop in the middle and take a break. It's a wonderful apartment. It smells nice, and my room's big, and sunny, and has purple and yellow pastel-y wallpaper that I thought I didn't like but it turns out I do, and I bought blue pastel sheets and a matching pillow and comforter. Although I'm a little ashamed of it, I've always liked pastels, and they make the room calm and happy. I've got an extremely comfortable (at least so far- we'll see in a few nights) bed in one corner, and an armoire and a desk and a nice bookshelf and three lamps and a chair, and I love it all.

I didn't think it would be a very big change, moving from my room in the Hôtel Bristol to my apartment, but it is. I didn't know living in the hotel was making me a little tense, but when I finished moving my stuff over here last night I felt so much more relaxed. It's my very own room, and no one is going to come in to clean without letting me know, or fix things without telling me, and I get to arrange it however I want, and I don't have to worry about moving all my stuff again till June. I have a home now.