I am late in posting! Well, there is no fire, and my feet don’t feel hot, but I think I should be able to post more often.
Things are going well. Work is progressing and accelerating. I’m happy about that. Th government shutdown didn’t help. Not that it affected me directly, but my attention was too much focused on the news. I found and installed a program on my computer that only lets me read the news for a few minutes per day, so my life has become much more productive.
Since I arrived 5 weeks ago several things have changed. We’ve already lost two hours of daylight. Of course that happens a lot in Fall. The weather has changed, but not significantly. It rains nearly every day, but we also get long bouts of sunshine, which makes me quite happy. Of course I’m inside a lot, especially during daylight hours. I’m trying to force myself out of the office a little during the day. So far it’s only been a little, but if take my book with me, it’s easy enough to decompress and maybe catch a few rays. I have no idea how people get enough vitamin D here.
I’ve also become much more accustomed to living in a small space. It took me a while to organize everything so that it was an efficient use of what I have. Thankfully that worked out. Of course I move next Friday, so it is not to last. I think I’ll miss this place. The neighborhood is very quiet and well connected with buses and metros. I have access to a lot of restaurants and can walk anywhere. Those last two things will actually be more true at the new place, but it won’t be as quiet or well connected.
I eat a lot less meat. It’s expensive here, especially beef. I never was much for eating chicken. That leaves pork and fish, and I’ve really taken up eating fish. They serve it in the cafeteria several times a week, and I cook it at home pretty often. I even do vegetarian on a regular basis.
I’ve discovered a wine that I really enjoy. Not that I don’t enjoy most wines, but there is one that knocks my socks off. It’s only €7.00. That doesn’t sound like a lot to someone in the US. We’re used to paying $7 for the cheapest, run of the mill wines. Those cost less than €4 here. Really good wines can go for more, but the French would never pay €40 for a bottle, even at a restaurant. And I’d put my €7 bottle up against any $40 bottle that you can find.
I’m reading a lot. I’m about 1/3 of the way through Harry Potter #1. It goes really fast, even in French. I was surprised at how easy it is to read. I read Peter Pan before this, and it took a lot longer. Of course it was written a long time ago and translated into French early. Next is 20,000 leagues under the sea, but in its original language! I have a version condensed for children, so it should be a little easier than the adult book. I’ve got other Jules Verne as well. I’m saving those for when I’ve got a better grasp of the language.
As far as that goes, my French has improved significantly since arriving. Reading has helped, so have the 3 hours of class per week. Rosetta Stone makes me pronounce things, so I’m learning on that front too. I think next semester I’ll spring for a more expensive and more extensive class. It’s worth it if I can really learn the language. The biggest change is my ability to hear different sounds. So many words sound alike. It’s really important sometimes to hear minute distinctions. I dare you to copy this into a translator “dessus, dessous”. You’ll see what I mean.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll update more soon.