Wednesday, March 18, 2009

99 Problems.

My first paper of the semester is due on April 1st.  

I haven't written... anything... since my non-finals week last December. My Wisconsin friends will actually be already back from their spring break by the time I need to finish the essay.

The six-pager is for my Art History class, and I basically have to analyze any French painting that is displayed in a Parisian museum and dates prior to 1900.  I've never taken an Art History class before, so this is a little out of my element.  Still, I'm ready for it.  Any suggestions?

Every Wednesday our class meets at the Louvre (we move to Musee D'Orsay in April) and our professor lectures us in French about certain artists we studied in the classroom the day before.  

It's funny because class at the Louvre is still... class. And we will, without fail, still whine about having to attend.  It falls under the list of Problems Abroad That Aren't Really Problems (This fresh baguette hurts the top of my mouth, my homestay neighborhood is too safe, everyone can and will speak English to me, French men are too pretty and too well-dressed, I can't decide if I want a salty or sweet crepe, Europeans are so annoyingly relaxed, my legs are sore from walking to the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral at sunset for free, and so on...)  

Even though I am programmed to complain about any assignment given to me, most of them are actually pretty wonderful.  My first composition for French class was to attend a cafe and write a description of all my fellow-tiny-overpriced-coffee-drinkers.  Basically, a people-watcher's dream redaction.  

Last Sunday I met a friend to study and had a text from her that said, "I'm down the Seine at a cafe right across from the Notre Dame."  Other than that it was very Madison-esque considering we pretended to read for about twenty minutes before giving up to go eat a greasy yet delicious sandwich.

Now don't get me wrong, classes are more challenging than you or pre-abroad Jenna might think.  They're all in French, and the shortest class is an hour and a half long.  Three hours of French literature, no matter how many sexual innuendos are in the texts or how many Haribo Gummy Bears you consume to get you through the class, is still a rough three hours.  And I obviously wouldn't trade the Louvre for Humanities, but when you're in the same wing as the Mona Lisa, tourists will always trump your professor.  I literally have to stand close enough to the prof to wipe spit marks from my notes (gross) in order to hear him properly. 

Oh, so remember my list of Problems Abroad That Aren't Really Problems?  Here's a great one.  A grève, or Metro Strike, will be taking place all day tomorrow.  This means a slow down of my usually dependable and beloved public transportation.  

And why isn't this really a problem?

Well, as a solution, my French teacher decided to cancel our morning class on Thursday.  

Any UW student can agree that cancelled classes are to be absolutely cherished.  Because even if you can't leave your Madison residence because a) the snow pile-up is the same height as the front door or b) the door hinges are frozen in place, we Badgers know better than to expect a snow day and are ready to put on our three pairs of pants and shimmy out the window to make it to Van Vleck at 8:55 a.m.  But here in Paris there may or may not be a slight delay on the subway and Poof!      Class is gone.

But of course we have to make up for a missing class somehow, right? Well now we have to wander around a rich, non-touristy neighborhood where we'll fill out a couple questions and order the plat du jour at a local bistro.  I'd say that definitely beats three hours of comparing future simple with future anteri-something.  

I should probably end this post here because with any reading assignment given to yours truly comes hours upon hours of procrastination.  And well, I'm late.  

If you need me you can find me on Facebook.  

P.S.- For those concerned, Attempt #2 at the Parisian elementary school went much smoother. All I had to do was make them do, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and threaten to call the real teacher a couple times.  Success!  


  1. awwww Jennz--
    Your little links are the best, and Museé d'Orsay is my fav. Beats the Louvre by far.

    annnnd....I'm working with Spanish-speaking preschoolers now. I'm glad you found the key: singing/reading really do the trick :)

    Miss you!

  2. hi.

    I enjoy reading your blog, ma'am.

    I thought it might be good to leave a comment that I read it so you know you have people who actually read this stuff.

    I also appreciate the shoutout to creeper K Greenway.

    p.s. greve means strike in portuguese as well


  3. I also appreciate the creeper SO.

    your blog makes me smile, I LOVE IT! A++

  4. i loved the post. write a book seriously i would read it in one sitting

  5. jenna!

    I love your blog posts, as well as your problems that aren't really problems.

    I hope you're doing well!