Wednesday, February 2, 2011

les étudiants

We make an interesting group. There are five from Afghanistan, three from Germany, two from Taiwan, one from Japan, one from Canada, one from Russia, and one from the USA. L'Américane, that is me.

Every day, we embark on a six hour dive into the french language, fueled primarily by espresso and curiosity about the strange and extraordinary lives of the other students. At the Institut Catholique, there are various different intensive language programs going on simultaneously. There is an exciting energy in the air as the international students and french students alike pour out of classes on breaks to sip coffee and blow soft rings of cigarette smoke into the ancient, cobblestone streets.

Despite the length of the school days, les français are staunch believers in the importance of lunchtime. This allows us to wander the winding, sun-lit avenues to find a restaurant or cross the lovely Luxembourg Gardens to find cheap food in the Latin Quarter. Why yes, there is sun here. And delicious Tibetan food, but that goes without saying. All food here is delicious.

Other Things I Like So Far:

  1. When you ride an elevator with someone, you are always greeted with a “Bonjour Madame” and left with a “bonne soirée”. It is so very polite, and does not cease to make me smile because I (somehow) never expect it.
  2. Macroons. They are everywhere. There are more macaroons than there are pigeons, which is good news because they taste much better. I am anxiously awaiting my Pierre Hermé macaroon experience, as this store apparently rules the world of pastries.
  3. La Plus Belle la Vie: popular french soap opera that I watch my with my french brothers. I am a little embarrassed to say that is it strangely addicting. I'll keep you updated.