Unconventional for me to post mid-week, I know, but I have got to perfect point in my procrastinating where I’ve done just enough work for the nausea to subside and guilt/stress about getting behind on blogs to take over which is great for you guys! It’s 2am, you know what I mean. Here are a few highlights from the past two weeks:
Sophie (US) had the brilliant idea of having a potluck dinner (for anyone unfamiliar with the term, a dinner where everyone brings a plate – so called because it’s luck; you might end up with everyone bringing the same thing) among the DEUF girls. Being pretty much the only person with any sort of living area, I tend to become the defacto host for these things. No skin off my back! There were 9 of us in total, with Germany, Austria, Canada and the US represented, along with NZ and France of course! We had general snacks, garlic bread, cheese, salad, mushroom/lentil/nut ‘patties’ (surprisingly nice), ratatouille, cake and another cream-y dessert, good banter, and a dance performance. Our little kitchen barely coped with the amount of food being prepared in it, but it was certainly looking spotless by the end of the night. Also for the first time there were no glass breakages. Merci les filles!
First aid course
Last Saturday my friend Sarah (Canada) and I hauled ourselves off to uni at 8:30 am to take part in a first aid course. People seem to ask ‘why?’. Sarah needed to renew her certificate for her job at home which involves working with children. I did it because, why not? Apparently being a responsible citizen isn’t a satisfactory answer. I’ll be the one laughing! It was an eight hour day and pretty intense as we packed what normally takes two days into it. Not to mention the fact that it was in French, and not exactly everyday vocabulary, and that the ‘test’ involved leaving the room, coming back in, and having to react to the situation you saw before you (may or may not involve your friends bleeding everywhere). Nonetheless I am pleased to report that whether you speak English or French, and whether you’re choking, bleeding, burning, broken, cardiac arresting or a in whole raft of other unfortunate circumstances, I can officially save your life! My tiny hands are really not cut out for CPR, and in fact I hope I never have to use ANY of this stuff, but I figure if something horrible does arise I would much rather be able to deal with it than stand by helpless. Yay!
Brasserie le Nord
In perfect timing to celebrate our successful day, Sarah and I headed to Brasserie le Nord with most of the ANZAC girls. This restaurant is owned by Paul Bocuse, Lyon’s and arguable one of France’s most famous chefs; namesake of the permanent food market and annual prestigious food competition. Unfortunately the three Michelin-starred real ‘restaurant’ was a bit too unjustifiable with mains starting around €60. The mere brasserie was not too shabby though and I was pretty happy with my €42 worth of à la carte apéritif, steak and chocolate fondant! The whole purpose of the night was to do it once, and do it properly, so instead of struggling through the salmon or pork which were the mains on offer for the formule du jour I decided to splash out on what I really wanted. Great success!
After that Sarah and I were planning on hitting the town to take photos of the city at night, something I’d been wanting to do for ages but either not had my camera or not had any company. Finally the perfect moment had arisen! Unfortunately it didn’t eventuate as some creeps decided to take an interest in us and, after we made it clear we would be going now thank you, decided to follow us right through our decoy route through town and all the way onto the metro platform where they, graciously, decided not to pursue us any further. Scary stuff, mainly because they made absolutely no bones about it! Fortunately we were together, both had our wits about us, and it was still fairly early in the evening. We were both pretty mad though, most of all because it had been such a great day and it was instantly ruined. They were Spanish though so the French are still off the hook…for now…
Much like VUW does, Lyon 3 organised a series of evenings for French students leaving on exchange next semester to meet current foreign students. There are four students going to VUW, three to Auckland, and one to Dunedin. I was so proud of the Kiwis; we put our three tables together and had a grand old time like one big happy family while everyone else remained segregated. Aussies, no surprises there.
On the Wednesday following the exchange evening Luke and I (from Wellington) and Sarah (who had met some of the French girls through dance class) were invited to an ‘apéro’ with some of the people heading to NZ and their friends. We ascertained that this meant ‘drinks’, and though we still didn’t know exactly what to expect we duly turned up at the meeting point with our BYO. We then headed to one of the girls’ apartments which was right by the Hôtel de Ville in the centre of town. It was AMAZING. An old French apartment with real parquet floors, high ceilings, TWO living spaces as well as a kitchen and the bedrooms…in a nutshell, the dream which I had thought was unattainable on a student budget…apparently not. But there were about 15 people there, all very friendly even if they were all smoking. I literally smelt like an ashtray for a good couple of days afterwards. I felt so self-conscious because in NZ that would be pretty scandalous but of course no one batted an eyelid here.
Easter weekend was pretty uneventful as, to start with, Good Friday isn’t a public holiday. Monday is though. No use to me as I have Mondays off anyway and eight hours of class on a Friday. France really needs to get its priorities in order! I did do my best to get into the Easter spirit by making hot cross buns – I had little choice, as they don’t exist in France. In fact, it appears they don’t exist outside of NZ/Aus/UK; honourable mention to Canada. I find this very hard to compute as they seem to take over supermarkets from roughly January each year, so the idea of Easter sans HCBs is a hard one to fathom! They turned out not too shabby really, for a first attempt, especially given the yeast I bought turned out not to be yeast and I was lacking most of the equipment needed for scientifically accurate/beautiful baking. I also enjoyed the taste of home with some specially delivered chocolate from the Hataitai chocolate shop. Thanks mum! Sunday was spent attempting to have a study party with Sevil…some study did get done. There was a lot of eating though. Monday was spent attempting and failing to study. Rinse and repeat.
Avid followers of this blog will be pleased to know that not only did I manage to finish my dissertation comparing the two versions of Antigone, but literally 15 minutes after I emailed it to my lecturer I got a reply with my grade – a casual 18/20. I’m not sure how much this was ‘buffered’ by the exchange student factor but I am nonetheless pretty happy with that as French marks are notoriously low – a 14 is considered impressive. As it was 100% of my grade it means I don’t have to go back to that class and I now have four day weekends! Next on the agenda are the final French as a foreign language exam this Friday, multi choice ‘exam’ for the culture class next week, and an assignment analysing a document from the archives for my ‘heritage’ class due on the last day of term – April 19th. Then it’s ‘holidays’ and exam season. I’m still waiting to find out one exam date which is very frustrating as I want to book in travel plans! Hopefully I’ll have an update on that next time (or better yet, will be telling you where I’ve been).
Big change has been afoot chez moi with the official move in of boyfriend. It has been a stressful few weeks to say the least. While I do now have a desk and an actual bed, and a substantial reduction in rent, let’s just say it comes with baggage – boyfriend’s cousin living on the couch until I move out and he can move into my room (hence the furniture), for example. That’s all I’m at liberty to say here, if you get my drift.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed, as usual I haven’t proofread, but I did try my bestest to reign in my rambling and I think this may be the shortest blog entry yet which I’m sure most of you will be happy about.
A la prochaine!