Saturday, July 5, 2008

Classes and the 4th of July

My classes here are incredibly challenging. The professors
only speak French to us, even if the students are in the lower level classes and the placement test was computerized so a lot of people got put in the wrong level because they had a fifty percent chance of getting the right answers on some portions of the test.

My theater class is my "projets longs" so I have that class the most often for 3 hours a class period, three days a week. For the first couple days we played a lot of icebreaker games and even though I didn't always understand his instructions, a lot of the games were similar to what I'd done in other acting classes. At the end of the month, we're putting on a production of a bunch of short skits that all take place at a train station. My skit is about a mom dropping off her daughter at the station. I chose it first because it's funny, but also it has the most phrases that I don't understand. Hopefully I'll learn a lot more this way.

Art, ville, patrimoine is my "options culterels" and in the class we talk a lot about city planning and the use of public space. Yesterday morning we went to the Place de Terraux. Before 1990, this spot had a roundabout and was always filled with traffic. Now, it's a huge open space with water that shoots up from the ground during events and parking has been moved underground. We went into two different parking garages. The first one had artifacts from the Middle Ages laying under a glass floor as you walk in. The second parking garage was incredible. It was the Célestins parking garage in case anyone wants to look it up on google or something. The parking garage goes around and around in a circle as you descend to the different levels but along the walls there are windows all the way around (as you see in the picture) and then at the very bottom, a huge circular mirror rotates like a coin that is just about to stop spinning. In the lobby of the garage, music plays and perfume is released into the air every so often - apparently parking garages should have a pleasing ambiance, at least according to the French. Anyway, it is awesome and I wish I'd taken a video.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand the professor and she was actually our tour guide for the first trip around Lyon. Also, I already have to give a presentation this Tuesday on the Phoenix area! I have to talk about the use of public space and other things about the city in under fifteen minutes. Hopefully it goes well; keep your fingers crossed for me. :)

Création de Jeu is my "projets courts" so by the end of the course we have to present some sort of game that we make up. Could be fun.

My grammar class yesterday afternoon was much too advanced for me so I asked the program director to move me down at least to Level 4. He kept asking me over and over again if I was sure I wanted to switch. I said yes because not only was the material too difficult, but the class moved incredibly fast. So hopefully level 4 goes well on Tuesday because he said that he wouldn't move me to a class any lower than that.

Last night after classes I decorated my room a little bit with the help of some skotch tape and random flyers and pictures I've found throughout my trip so far. I'll take a picture and post it later.
After that, a bunch of us went out to a "palais de bière" where there were over 300 different kinds of beer and then to an Irish pub. It was really funny because one of the guys in the program came a couple of weeks early and made friends with some French guys in the area, so he kept running into people that he knew at the different bars. It was nice because that way we didn't feel too out of place or like the French people there didn't like us or something. It was cool. We took a taxi back and then I went to bed. Today I think I'm going to the market to get some more fresh fruit and veggies and then maybe to a couple of antique stores and this big French music and books store called Fnac to get some French CD's.

I miss you all and I hope everyone has a wonderful fourth of July!!!

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