A Travellerspoint blog

This Semester is Going Way too Quickly!

I'm kicking these classes' asses! (I hope...)

rain 7 °C

Happy Easter weekend!!!

My classes are slowly ticking themselves off. The academic schedule is very different here; without getting into too many confusing details, not all classes last the same amount of weeks, depending upon the number of hours that it meets each week, or on how many sub-sections it is divided into. (My Methods and Techniques of Art History class is essentially three different courses, with three different professors. One is on the techniques of stained glass in the Middle Ages, one was on the differences between the representations of men and women on Greek ceramics, and yet another focuses on the iconography of the Old Testament.) The ceramics section is already done and over with, as well as my 19th century French Theatre class. I haven’t decided yet which system sucks less – having finals spread out over the semester to ensure that you are constantly studying, or having them all shoved into one week during which you wish you had never been born…

I had thought that the rainy season was in October/November when we had a few good weeks of rain on most days. But apparently not; this is the rainy season. So far, we have had a straight week of rain that lasts at least half of every day. The river is really high right now; the pathways along the water are completely underwater.

(That little white blob is a duck...)

The stay-cation that I had planned for last weekend was a bit foiled by the weather, but I did manage to get into the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the big fine arts museum in town. It is, for all intents and purposes, closed for renovation until 2017, but they have opened a few of the front galleries for a short exposition of Cuban fliers from the ‘60s to today. It was interesting; some of them were political, promoting solidarity with Vietnam or post-revolutionary patriotism, and others were for contemporary arts festivals or social issues. I’m glad that I at least got to enter the building, because I walk by it practically every day and it just taunts me.

(Photo taken on a much more pleasant day last semester...)

Last weekend, I also had the opportunity to participate in another community event with ESN. This one was the “Inter-Generational Olympiad” organized by the association of assisted-living facilities here in town. There are six different residences, and each one brought a team of 8-10 competitors, and there were eight ESN students divided among the teams, as well as a bunch of high school students who are active in their neighborhood community centers. So we just spent the whole day playing games. There was Dutch shuffleboard (I was awful), a little obstacle course, pin-the-country-on-the-world-map, song recognition (I was lost with all of the French oldies, but then I scored us extra points because I could say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” better than the lady with the answer sheet…), basketball, and Wii rafting (the lady I paired with was so enthusiastic that I couldn’t keep up and we pretty much just went in circles…). And then promptly at noon, we stopped for a four-course lunch. Because that’s just what you do. Our first course was a freshly made shrimp and spinach soup, followed by cold celery and/or salmon salads, then a choice between a piece of cheese or onion tart, and then chocolate mousse for dessert. After that, we were ready to continue, and we competed for a couple more hours. Then a lady busted out a barrel organ and everyone started singing old folk songs. Unfortunately, no one under 30 knew the words, so all of the younger people just sort of migrated to the back of the hall, where we got a chance to chat a bit. Then came the awards – my group, the residence Hortensias, won “Most Fair-Play Team”. What up?!


Also, this week, I discovered the snack food that has been missing from my life – dried figs! Yes, my "old man" eating habits (that's Eva's name for it, because I love Grape Nuts, porridge, and baked goods with fruits and nuts) have reached a new height. I don’t recall seeing them in Omaha…maybe I just never really noticed them because they look so thoroughly unappetizing. But that is just a defense mechanism; they are incredible! So I’m spending this rainy weekend writing my VERY LAST presentation and eating figs. And preparing for the Easter egg hunt that will be taking place on campus on Monday…

Posted by NKammerer 07:04 Archived in France

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Charmant, comme toujours!

by Maman et Papa

Your latest interaction with your new community sounded like a lot of fun. I can picture you and your partner going around in a circle - in my mind's view, you are both giggling! Hope your final presentation goes well, although I can't imagine that it won't!

Eva is counting the days until she leaves to join you in France. It's hard to believe your time is almost complete. In spite of not seeing you, it doesn't seem like it's been almost a full school year since you left. I hope we're not going to be too boring for you when you get back to the US.


by Judy Trout

You have to love a country where food is the 1st thru 5th priority in life.

by Opa

Sorry I am so late reading this. We were at Amy's & tried to scype with you to no avail - anxious to see you soon !

by Muti

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