Wednesday, July 1, 2015

State of the French Learner Address: June 22-30

This was my last full week in Montpellier (leaving for London on July 1).

lundi, 22 juin
After working during the day, I took the tram to the end of the line (towards the beach), where Damien picked me up for my second to last Monday of ultimate. Afterwards, once back in Montpellier we got a take-away pizza from the pizza/Italian place right next to my apartment (that I'd never eaten at before). It was tasty!

mardi, 23 juin
My roommate was up early for her final two days of recording an album with her group (traditional Russian music). After work Damien came over and we went and threw frisbee at the park right by my apartment.

mercredi, 24 juin
The dog (Laika) has this bizarre position she loves to be in, all twisted up against the wall. I took some pictures of her while working, because how that could in any way be comfortable just baffles me:

My roommate left for the weekend—I think to Paris again visiting her mom—once she finished recording.

Damien and I went back to the park and threw frisbee again tonight. And since Hannah and Herm graciously offered earlier in the day, I invited Damien to London to visit while I'd be there. He has to check flight options and cost, but I think it could happen!

jeudi, 25 juin
Damien stayed here during the day while I worked, studying for his English exam (TOEIC) and looking for flights to London. He booked one to come from the 2-7, so about five full days at the start of my stay.

Celebratory phone photo for Hannah and Herm when we announced the good news:

vendredi, 26 juin
Damien stayed at my apartment during the day again, leaving for a bit in the afternoon to go pick up his passport (his first ever!).

That evening we had plans to go to some sort of play/musical with Johanna and Thibaut that Johanna's roommate was involved in. It was called "Le Cabaret Dièse," and was put on by Le collectif l'approche, some artsy collective I believe. On the program, it's described as "une création collective où se mêle musique, théâtre et nouvelles technologies dans un univers déjanté." (It's a collective creation where music, theater, and new technologies are mixed in a nutty universe.)

It was pretty bizarre and interesting; there was lots of audience involvement, and it wasn't like any show I'd ever seen. The small audience and actors were all on the same level—the stage area wasn't lifted.

At the start, the four main actors (two guys, two girls) came around talking to the audience members, each with a smartphone. One girl came up to Damien and asked to take a selfie with him (and took one). Another nearby was asking an audience member if they could be Facebook friends. Another was showing an audience member photos on their phone. Then the narrator/fairy girl who played violin during the show blew a whistle or something, which got all four to line up on stage.

She gave them all helmets, and then the four became internet spam. They ran through the audience again, and would each stop and shout their lines entusiastically at a specific person until an audience member tapped the middle of their helmet thing. Then they switched to another ad. One woman kept shouting "Boobs! Boobs! Boobs! Boobs!" with hand motions, and one guy was definitely a penis enlargement spam email. After that intro, the musical continued like a "regular" performance with an actual plot and characters.

During intermission, sweet Johanna asked Damien and I what was going to happen to us (we've been a couple for just over a week now) when I left Montpellier on Wednesday. We hadn't yet discussed that ourselves, so I was tongue-tied, and perhaps ended up saying something like "I don't know," and Damien said something like "We're taking it one day at a time," which is exactly the mentality I'd been having—to enjoy each day and the present time together, without thinking about the future. (Because honestly, how could you even think of making future plans after just one week of dating? The logical side of my mind told me that was crazy, yet I knew these were not normal conditions—the fact I was on a tourist visa soon to expire, the feelings, etc.)

Afterwards the four of us got delicious burgers at a bar in town.
Johanna and Thibaut
We also made plans for Sunday night, to play Mölkky at the park again.

samedi, 27 juin
I worked during the morning, and also signed up for medical insurance via Obamacare. While Obamacare is saving me a ton of money, the whole thing is frustrating—how health insurance exists and functions in the USA, the fact that I must have insurance for the full year, even if I were to live outside of the USA for 10 months during that time, etc.

Then Damien and I took the metro to his house. We were originally going to do a small day trip to a nearby town, but by then there wasn't time. So he took the car and we met his cousin at the beach. We got to the beach around 6 p.m., but it could have been 2 in the afternoon for how it felt. I had that same surreal feeling as the previous weekend, thinking about how we just went to the beach on a whim at 6 p.m. We threw frisbee in the water, then later played volleyball with Damien's cousin and his friends.

On our drive back to Montpellier, we stopped at a big Carrefour to pick up groceries for my final three days.

dimanche, 28 juin
Last weekend at Damien's parents' house, they'd invited us to go to Roquefort today. It's a town just over 100km from Montpellier, where Roquefort cheese is made. We went to tour the caves where they keep the cheese as it ages. (Full post here)

Damien and I in Roquefort, France
That evening, back in Montpellier, "the talk" was had during dinner, before going to the park for Mölkky. Turns out we're both on the same page, and I'm willing to figure out a way to come back to France (since my job's virtual), while he's willing to wait for me. Ta-da!

lundi, 29 juin

Today was my last day of ultimate (though maybe not if I end up in Montpellier again...). Present players were myself, Damien, Johanna, Thibaut, and a new guy (whose name I've forgotten... forgive me).

Damien brought some snacks and drinks for afterwards, so we hung out with everyone for a little bit before parting ways.

That night we made a quick croc moisseur for dinner (Remember that one? Comparable to a grilled ham and cheese).

Mardi, 30 juin
I woke up feeling not so well on my second-to-last day in Montpellier. I bought two lemons from the grocery store and drank cup after cup of hot tea with lemon juice during the day, despite the hot weather. After work I started packing up my room back into the little carry-on suitcase I'd arrived in. I really didn't acquire new items while in Montpellier, apart from some French novels I'd bought at a used bookstore, and my papers and notebook from class. I did have two bottles of wine to transport to London for Hannah and Herm, so that made things a little tight.

Damien and I walked to the train station that evening to try to get my ticket from the automatic machine. Turns out the fact that the credit card I'd used to purchase the train ticket was cancelled weeks ago (due to fraudulent charges) meant that the machine wouldn't give me my tickets. The ticket office was closed, so we decided to just come back early in the morning with time to spare and hope they'd still be able to give me my tickets (this must happen all the time, right?)

I wasn't hungry for anything, I felt a mix between a cold and some strange flu bug I'd never had before, so I ate my go-to sick food that night: ramen.

Mercredi, 1 julliet

I felt worse than yesterday when I got up today, and ended up eating only a croissant from then until 8 p.m. or so. Damien went with me to the train station, and we did get my ticket sorted out—but it was a little suspenseful! We had to wait a while for my number to be called, then she explained I'd have to buy the ticket again today on a new card, and later they'd reimburse the original ticket I'd bought.

Turns out my train was delayed 20 minutes, which was good because then we weren't as pressed for time while waiting in that office. The train station in Paris was uncomfortably hot (glass dome collecting sun rays, no AC), as was the Paris metro on my way there. I arrived in London early that evening without a hitch! (Except, of course, for miserably feeling like I could puke).

And so my (first) French adventure came to a close.

The state of the French learner is strong!

State of the French Learner: June 15-21
State of the French Learner: June 8-14
State of the French Learner: June 1-7 
State of the French Learner: May 25-31
• • •


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