It's strange how time passes very differently in Tours than in Lewisburg. All the time in the United States you see people rushing around, never stopping until they collapse at night for maybe 5 hours of sleep and then they start again. I never realized just how mad this is until now. The pace of life here is really beautiful. Everything I have an hour buffer to, at least wherein you just sit around and talk with a cup of tea or coffee, or get ahead on homework. There isn't the necessity to go go go go go. Of course this might change once I start at the FAC instead of the Institut.
Here is a map of Tours that just covers the central part of town! Above is the Loire and below is the Cher.
I live at the bottom right corner, right next to the Gare (train station). The French are strange with their stores - the Gare is surrounded by cell phone stores, clothing, travel agencies, everything imaginable...and the on the corner I walk past everyday to get home is a sex shop. Bizarre.
On the large Boulevard (big one, on the bottom - the gray is sidewalk) there are outdoor markets all the time. Every Wednesday and Saturday it's 6 blocks of flowers. It was so incredible walking down. Other days there are clothing markets (or purses, belts, you could even by foam, you know...large, cushy foam) and of course, food! Way less expensive than anything else and you get to buy it outside. Very fun.
School at the Institut has been...is being...truly experiencial. I don't think I've ever been this frustrated in my life. Period. Including the 3rd grade. Every day we have 9-10am listening to radio programs (writing down the themes, the people they talk about, and what newspapers they quote), 10am-noon is grammer, presenting articles, translating, discussion...typical early level French class format at a high level of French.
Then we have an hour and a half for lunch (très French). The first day Caroline and I went to a café off of the Place de Plume (upper left hand corner that has lots and lots of streets - that's the oldest part of the town and there are ruins everywhere, it's all restaruants, cafés, and little boutiques) and got fancy sandwiches. The next day we started dining at l'épicerie (grocery store) because we could get lots of cheese, a half a baguette, some ham, and a piece of fruit for 3 euro. We rock. (Note: the croque-monsieur at the café was 5 euro, we all feel very economical and clever)
After our lovely long break we have the class that might kill me, phonics. It would be a great class if he would give us papers with the words, but what we do is sit in booths and he says a phrase or subject/conjugated verb (between 2 and 10 words) and we repeat it. Now, when it's between 2 and 5 words, and I know them all, it works out just fine. But when it's 10 and I only know half...yeah, you try and repeat syllables when you have no idea what the word is, or what it means. Asked him if he could write them down because I'm a visual learner and he looked at me like I was crazy and told me that that would defeat the purpose (which I understand after today, wherein he would say a phrase...all the phrases turned into a 9 minute speech that after repeating after him, then repeating after our own recording, we had to write down what was being said) *sigh*
Never in my life have I sat a desk wishing for my learning style to take an abrubt change, hehe.
Then we have a 2 hour break, except for Thursdays when we have a half an hour break and then theater class. Theater class is not a real theater class, but is taught by a local actress who is teaching us to speak "like" the French - with all our bodies and all our hearts. She's brilliantly funny, but not on purpose...as were we all today in that class. Good fun and laughing. Totally made up for Jean Jaque's (phonics) class.
After break we have a réunion (meeting) with all the BEF girls (this happens 2-3 times a week) to get program information, vent about our lives, and just generally bond.
I usually get home between 5-6pm. Do homework or watch silly reality TV shows with Flore (they finally have a purpose in my life! they're great for learning a language because there are discernable situations that progress in a mostly normal [not normal like real people but goes from a to b to c] fashion - also good for colloquial vocabulary) until dinner (usually around 8pm) and then I do a little more homework and go to bed.
I meants to take photos of the Institut and around town, but it's been raining for the past 2 days so I didn't bother. But, don't dispair! I took pictures of my bedroom so enjoy, and good night. I'll post again soon :)
My bed! It's adorably colourful (windows closed because it is COLD outside!)
My desk, lots of photos from home, and of course, my computer. You can totally see my peanut butter on the right hand open draw
My reading/relaxing chair and new purse! (it's very French, apparently). Most of the books on the bookshelf are english science fiction books translated into French. It's my goal to finish The Fellowship of the Ring before the semester is over! Those huge doors are my closet. heheheh.