Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring Break in France: Mega Post

Typically, I do not go anywhere on Spring Break-- except back to Chicago to just relax for a week. This year, I got to have a two week Spring Break and celebrate my 22nd in France! Amazing. The only other time I've gone away for break was my senior year of high school, where I was lucky enough to spend a week in London (with Lana and Christina) and a week with family in Germany (Hi, Uncle Rich and Aunt Susan!). At this rate, maybe I can expect a trip abroad every four years or so? Haha! After my time spent here I hope it's even more frequent than that!

Normally, ISU gives us a week break-- this time I got two! I had so much time to play with and was excited when I figured out I just really, really, wanted to stay in France and explore it a bit more. For the first week my friend Sydney and I decided to go to Toulouse and Bordeaux and spend a couple days in both city. Although we hadn't experienced much rain in Montpellier, we ran into quite a bit of it in both Toulouse and Bordeaux. We made the best of it though: got a bit soaked a few times running for food, made sure to go out when it WAS nice, and had one wonderfully lazy day in Bordeaux.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The End is Near-- What?!

I am definitely overdue for an update, sorry about that! Things have just been a little busy with school here and getting things figured out back home (classes, housing, job) that I have neglected my blog a bit. The bitter(sweet) countdown continues-- as of next week I only have 4 more literature classes, 3 grammar and phonetics classes, and 2  civilization classes (and keep in mind 1 of each of those classes is the final!). I can honestly say I have enjoyed each of the courses and feel I have taken away a lot more than I do in the States sometimes. I think the biggest reason is the mentality is just different here. Teachers don't want us to stress out over tests or projects-- they'd rather see the progress. Back home, it's one test/paper/project after another to just give us a grade and often I feel some teachers are not as concerned about the overall progress their students have made or if they have even learned anything. This is definitely something I'll keep in mind  with my future students. My progress is hard to measure, but I know it's there. Then again, I feel like I still have a lot left to learn and it just makes me want to stay longer, especially since I feel at home. Also, fair-warning: long post ahead!

Over the last week or two I can definitely say that I have had some more cultural experiences, which are always interesting. For my Literature class we were assigned to go see a specific play called "Les Negres", a play by Jean Genet that portrays some racial stereotypes between whites/blacks and was supposedly written to be seen only by whites in order to scare/shock them out of their stereotypical views. Interesting idea, and I am sure if I had understood it I would have enjoyed it more. Getting to the theater itself required finding a bus and asking if it goes to the theater, then getting dropped off in a parking lot with no theater in sight. The bus driver wasn't sure, but he pointed off in one direction and we hoped he was right. Funny enough, we actually had to walk through a park with a giant mansion where we found the theater on the other side. As we finally sat down my friends and I joked about how we were probably going to have a difficult time understanding, but we all agreed we would just laugh when everyone else did. The play began and we realized that we weren't going to understand anything. The biggest issue for us were the actors' accents which seemed to be of African origin--  pronunciation was WAY different and even the words I should have known were lost in the thick accents. After 2.5 hours of trying to understand we emerged from the theater and all tried to figure out what we had just seen. I am still not entirely sure, but I know I have to write a paper for it! Even our teacher admitted she had a hard time understanding parts-- so maybe she'll go easy on us :)