The last two weeks have been a bit up and down. The good: starting uni, meeting heaps of new people, having probably the most social ten days of my life. The bad: anything to do with organisation. Full stop.
I won’t go into detail (mainly because I’ll just get angry), but attempting to organise anything is a nightmare! In short, courses on the website differ to what’s on the noticeboards which is different again when you actually turn up to the class. Between trying to find courses to give me useful credit at Vic and keeping Mondays free for long weekend travel, finding interesting courses with a decent number of credits has been nothing sort of challenging. Some courses just have cours magistraux (lectures); some just travaux dirigés (not tutorials but more like smaller lecture classes), and some have both, and they’re all worth varying numbers of credits. I still haven’t 100% sorted out my courses as the TDs don’t start till this week. I am hoping to do a translation paper and possibly a Spanish class, which are all TDs, so I have to go to a couple to see if I can find one at an appropriate level. The courses I’m doing thus far are French language and culture (compulsory); history/heritage of Lyon (which should be interesting but as it was advertised as an art history course I’m pretty annoyed); history of the decorative arts and design (now my only art history paper) and a paper on Sophocles’ Antigone. Good: most of the courses seem pretty interesting, and I have half of them at the old campus by the Rhône, which is exciting because it’s like a typical ye olde university. Good: I have been able to do a course at Lyon 2 in order to get art history credits. Bad: this is really disorganised; because I’m not enrolled at Lyon 2 I don’t have a logon for accessing documents on the intranet/internet/library, and neither uni really wants to take responsibility. So that’s no fun at the moment. Hopefully by the end of this week I will have added a final language course, sorted out all of this drama and finally start to settle into a routine!
So the majority of last week was spent with uni and not doing anything particularly interesting. This week has been the polar opposite!
Girls’ night in
Last Friday Jamie and I along with Jess and Claire (Aussies) met up with innocent plans to make dinner and watch a movie. What followed soon spiralled beyond all self-control. We started with home-made guacamole with Doritos and bread (when in France…), followed by pumpkin, pea, chicken and bacon risotto; followed by a palate cleanser of a bag of Maltesers while we waited for dessert – crepes with nutella, banana and dubiously ‘whipped’ cream thanks to Jamie’s wizz stick. We then settled down to watch Mean Girls en français, accompanied by obligatory movie snacks. I will refrain from going into explicit detail to preserve any remaining dignity.
Marriage equality demonstration
On Saturday I met my friend Sophie (American) in town, just planning on roaming around for a bit. We soon discovered that there was a huge protest for marriage equality going on, so naturally we joined in and followed it most of the way through the centre of the city. There were about 20,000 people there and it was obvious that there were certain key slogans including ‘mieux un mariage gay qu’un mariage triste‘ (better a gay marriage than a sad one). The main chant was was a very orignal ‘Qu’est-ce que vous voulez? – Egalité! Et vous la voulez quand? – Maintenant!’ (What do you want – equality – and when do you want it – now). Despite our best attempts to get on TV I don’t think we were successful, unfortunately. I also really wanted to get a photo with the gendarmes but thought it may not have been the most appropriate moment so chickened out. I think France is in a similar situation to NZ at the moment, and apparently there was a huge ‘anti’ protest in Paris this weekend so the Lyon one was organised to get in first.
On Sunday night my flat was hosting a dinner party, African style. We were 6 all up – me, Sophie, Amandine (my flatmate), Youri (her boyfriend) and his cousin Carlin, both from Cameroon, and Didier, a rather handsome former lecturer of Amandine’s from Benin. Yes, it was as bizarre as it sounds and was absolutely exhausting! Thank God Sophie was there to share the load because it was just full on. We had chicken with numerous spices, fried ‘savoury’ bananas and a mysterious ‘root’ which we finally figured out was kasava. We didn’t end up eating till around 11 and by the time we got back from dropping the others home it was 2am. Fortunately I didn’t have class on Monday!
Wednesday was Sevil (German) ‘s birthday, so a group of us mostly from my French class went out – NZ, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Canada and the US represented amongst the eight of us! We went to a creperie which was amazing. I don’t have photos but I had a crepe with cheese, ham and chicken for dinner and then a sweet one with nutella, crushed meringue and nougat ice cream for dessert. Om nom nom! That was unintentionally a late night too and we had to make a dash to get the tram home at midnight. Most of us live along the same line which is good!
On Friday night I joined the extended Kiwi-Aussie crew (finally meeting some other Vic kids) to go out for Indian – with a twist. You ordered your meat and then it was basically a buffet for the entree/accompaniments/desserts. There was also a Bollywood club downstairs although we sadly did not get a chance to partake as we had to bolt to get the last metro at midnight (anyone noticing a recurring theme here). It was a hilarious night and if you can think of a topic of conversation (the more inappropriate, the better) we probably discussed it. I really hope no-one else in there understood English!
Most of the French class crew met up to go on s scavenger hunt-y thing organised by one of Erasmus organisations. It turned into a bit of a fail as it was absolutely FREEZING and no-one was really prepared as it had been about 10 degrees for the week before! Nothing like getting snowed on while on your way out with no chance to grab a hat or gloves. We ended up splitting into two groups, each with about 3 French guides, and heading to a few of Lyon’s main sites where we learnt about them, answered questions and took photos There was going to be a photo competition but it didn’t really eventuate due to the aforementioned conditions. Afterwards I went with some fo the group to have a crepe and chocolat chaud.
Jamie, Jess and I planned to see Silver Linings Playbook (or ‘Happiness Therapy’ in France, I don’t know why either) which we were meant to have been seeing after dinner on Friday (whoops), but we got there only to find the session was full. It’s just not meant to be! So we went to a French film instead, Mariage à Mendoza, which can only be described as…weird. From the description it sounded like a French version of the Hangover/Due Date but…it wasn’t. Disappointing. The highlight was probably seeing the Les Mis trailer. Only 11 days to go! After that I thought I would finally get to bed at a decent hour, but instead arrived home and proceeded to plan my midterm break. As usual, will reveal all once it’s fully organised!
A feast for kings
A smaller faction of the ANZAC crew regrouped at Jamie’s flat for another culinary caper, the third day in a row for some of us. This time it was ‘lunch’ consisting pizza with caramelised onions, stuffed olives, pumpkin, peppers, chorizo, bacon and real mozzarella was on the menu, followed by a massive brownie cake, banana and ice cream. Unfortunately I was far too enamoured to take a photo but it was AMAZING. You wouldn’t have even known there was no electricity (I have since discovered gas-powered ovens exist), and we stayed until just about 7pm when we finally realised that we could no longer see each other.
Next week will hopefully be a lot more relaxed! I’m roast-hosting for Waitangi Day but aside from that don’t have anything planned. Although I don’t have a lot of work to do for classes (as they pretty much all have one final assessment and no readings or anything) I feel like really need to keep on top of my notes. I’m writing frantically on my laptop in lectures so not only do I need to go through and add accents and correct spelling mistakes (as it’s just to hard to do them fast enough on an English keyboard), I also need to make sure I actually know what the class was about! I think the fact that I’m already in full-on procrastination mode is a telltale sign that there is work to be done. I’m still in denial about the fact that I may actually have to work hard this semester, but I figure just keeping up with what’s going on is probably a good start! So, once again, the next entry will be when I have something decent to report!
A la prochaine….