Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Little tidbits of Rouen life before my immediate departure

It is nearly 4 in the morning here and I'm sitting at my desk in France (an Instagram-ed photo of my room above) as I've been engrossed in planning my academic future (namely next semester) on my school's registration (they call it registrar) page!
 Yup, I'm still in France but already my program is over halfway completed and already I need to figure out what courses I'm taking in the spring. I'm really making my life out to be pathetic at the moment, aren't I?
And also I am sorry I've been so lame about blogging! I have about 16 photos sitting in a queue.. it'll come, I'm going to photo bomb my blog then not be around for another 3 weeks-- ridiculous, right? Well, a lot of that can't be helped because this Sunday my program is taking off to Paris for the week! And then, we have our 'actual' vacation next next Saturday, and my friend John and I are flying to Madrid, the capital of Spain!! We'll be there for 4-5 days then coming back to Rouen for Thursday night, and then Friday we're taking a train to Lille in the North of France for a Friendly Fires & Foster the People (and others) concert and finally returning to Rouen next next next Saturday and perhaps doing nothing but recuperate that Sunday, the end of fall semester break.

In this next two week period the following may or may not happen (but most likely will) :
- I shall be engulfed by the City of Lights (how romanticized can we make it? :P).
- I will traverse a few hundred miles and a border and walk a lot and see beautiful things, while having a crash re-introduction to Spanish (though I haven't worked with the language in 3 years..).
- I will spend too much money but dine deliciously.
- It will become November (OMGZ!).
- I will have 19 years of life to declare.
- I shall dance outrageously at to some of my favorite bands in a foreign country.
- I, undoubtedly, will feel extremely tired.


Otherwise, I just wanted to share a few things that have been going on.  The other day a package arrived from my high school French teacher, presumably as a Halloween/birthday gift because she had asked when my birthday was in an e-mail!  Yes, I am one of those students who bonded way too well with the high school faculty.  No shame here, she has been one of the greatest educators, mentors and overall friend to grace my life.  I found the aloe-infused Halloween socks to be adorable and useful (it's always chilly in my host family's house), the Reese's are fantastic because they aren't sold in France and she sent me pepperoni!!!  HAHA so random.  Yet I love it all.  I've had a lot of friends and a few relatives send post cards and letters, which cheers me up as well.

One way I have gladly immersed myself into la vie Francaise is through the culture of the cafe.
Now, I am not the greatest caffeine or coffee fan-- I find the miniscule black espressos to be generally distasteful and pointless-- however, that doesn't mean I can't sit around with everyone else idly at whatever hour of the day!  My favorite thing to order is a chocolat viennois, which is essentially a luxurious hot chocolate with a generous heaping of whipped cream (just what I adore).  They're usually expensive relative to other drinks; the one above set me back 4€ but it was amazing after a brisk morning at the market and one of the better tasting in Rouen (I've drank quite a few at this point).
In spite of the white truck-vans, the photo below is a cafe/boulangerie across from the building where I take political science.  For the last 3 Tuesday mornings, my host mom has dropped me off in Rouen, I walk there, order tea or a heavily milked/sugared coffee and then brace myself for 45 minutes before my 4 hour class.  Yup, the cafe is definitely a French social phenomenon that I wish we in the U.S. would adopt more significantly!

Ah, the bottom photo didn't rotate but these are some photos of various works I've done for my history of art class!  I take this course twice a week at the Musée des Beaux Arts of Rouen.  For the most part it's an endurance test of lecture, terms, names and dates as we power through galleries and centuries of European art, though every few weeks we work in the atelier (studio) attached to the museum!!  Our professor for that portion is actually an art instructor himself, so he has taught us techniques related to the works that we view.  

The haphazard painting on the left was when we covered the evolution of the tree; painters went from ultra-precision with the foliage, to fuzzy blobs of implied shapes.  Our professor had us compose our own landscape, inspired by other paintings and then color it ourselves.  Ha, and he was baffled by my yellow sky!  I really don't have an explanation, either.. it was instinctual! :)
These drawings are from this past Monday, when we learned how to properly compose a portrait with the proportions of the face.  I found this extremely useful because I struggled with achieving certain facial expressions, and whenever the subjects mouth is slightly ajar (apparently, you're not supposed to draw the teeth).

His critique is very straightforward though extremely constructive-- much like all the professors I have worked with in France.  They aren't the most sympathetic but hey, I suppose we can't always be fluffy and flourished!

Bonne nuit à vous, I hope you're all doing fantastic and I shall be back soon.