well… i guess you could say that the shit hit the fan this week (pardon my french?)
first bad news item: it started raining in aix-en-provence. what? the city with 300 days of sunshine a year?? i suppose it was bound to happen, but what about all of us foreign-sugar-students?!? depressing, that’s what it means.
second bad news item: my classes started. yes, yes, i know what you’re thinking: “but, isn’t that why you’re there? for school?” in theory, yes. but, also in theory, i should be able to understand a professor talking about, i don’t know, let’s pick comparative law, after having taken eleven years of french. i don’t typically consider myself of the ‘stupid’ type, but i felt pretty dumb in my classes. i know it will get better, i know it will take time. maybe i needed this humbling… surrender to the language barrier!!! sigh.
third bad news item: because the french consulate in toronto gave me only a 3month visa – which i was told will allow me to get a temporary residency permit upon arrival good for one year – i now have to basically re-apply for a visa. i’m still getting the residency permit, but it’s just as much work as applying for the visa. i was not a happy camper. the poor guy at the carte de séjour office… he spoke french, mandarin, and just a little english, and i was not about to try and speak french (or mandarin, for that matter) while i was ranting and raving about having already done all the paperwork once.
the french invented bureaucracy. they have since spent their time tweaking it to make it as terrible, long, convoluted and confusing as possible for those who were not born and raised on the system. ie: me. they have taken this mantra for doing things the unnecessarily hard way and applied it to their matriculation system. example: i don’t have to actually register for any of my courses until october, so i can try out any course that fits in my schedule to see if it’s something i want to take. good idea, maybe. except! they have no idea how many students will be attending any given lecture, and so they arbitrarily assign rooms (read: the day before it starts, which is usually the same time you find out when the class actually takes place), and often end up with a room that is far too small to accommodate all the students. i missed one class because of this (as if i’m going to stand for two hours! and yes i would like to get a coffee) and had one start 30minutes late while the prof found another room. make sense to you? me neither.
i never thought i’d hear myself say this, but i miss brock. i miss registering a month in advance, making a nice schedule for myself having known beforehand what the classes are going to entail (instead of just knowing course titles), i miss funny profs who teach in english (hamilton!), assigned rooms, and an administration system that is (comparatively) efficient, with staff who actually do know answers to questions outside their typical realm of work, and i miss (gasp!) mybrocku.ca and webCT!
last night myself and some friends went out on a much needed night on the town. it wasn’t a late or crazy night but it was pretty epic nonetheless. three favourite caitlin quotes from the evening (and make sure to read them with an aussie accent):
“that was the dodgiest thing i’ve ever done” – caitlin, after we got out of the car of two random french men with whom her, claire and i hitched a ride into town. ask me again why we bought 4inch heels? it was actually hilarious though and not too sketchy… erm… probably up for debate though.
“sorry, i don’t do losers!!” – caitlin, to some random french guys who thought it appropriate (really?) to shout things at us.
“there are frites in this kebab! frites!!” – caitlin, after taking a bite of benji’s kebab sandwich, sometime around 1am. she then proceeded to growl at me when i tried to have a taste of this so-called kebab.
anyways, it’s another rainy day in aix and i did absolutely nothing today. i still have my pyjama pants on. maybe i shouldn’t be admitting to that? i put lots of photos up on flickr recently. here are a few from last night’s festivities: