Tag Archives: French

A Conversation of Awkwardness.

I’m currently in the process of two (yes, that’s right! TWO!) Thanksgiving posts, but for now I just HAD to share the conversation I had with the evil French Professor today. I’ve gone ahead and translated it for you, because it is even more ridiculous in English.

Evil French Professor: “Lauren, what famous basketball player, or baseball player, or hockey player do you like?”

Me: “I don’t like sports.”

Evil French Professor: “YOU DON’T LIKE SPORTS???!?!??!?!!?!?!?!?”

Me: “No, not really.”

Evil French Professor: “Well what famous player do you like?”

Me: “Uh, I don’t know. I don’t watch sports.”

Evil French Professor: “YOU DON’T WATCH SPORTS? AT ALL????!?!?!?!?!?”

Me: “I played volleyball in high school, but that is about it.”

Evil French Professor: “What famous person do you like?”

Me: *silence* “Uhhh… Julia Roberts?”

Evil French Professor: *silence*

Me: “Are you asking me what famous person I like?”

Evil French Professor: “Yes, what famous sports person do you like?”

Me: *turns to friend* “Quick, what is a famous sports person?” (My mind was completely blanking at this point.)

Friend: *laughs* “I don’t know! I hate sports too!!”

Me: “Uh…. I don’t know!” *Starts speaking English* “I DON’T LIKE SPORTS!”

Evil French Professor: “Oooookkkkaaaaayyyy……”

*turns to my friend*

Evil French Professor: “What famous basketball player, or baseball player, or hockey player do you like?”

My friend: “I don’t like sports.”

Evil French Professor: “YOU DON’T LIKE SPORTS???!?!??!?!!?!?!?!?”

Internet, I have eight more days with this douche-bag (sorry mother, but he is). Then I AM FREEEEEEE!!!!!

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So I have this Professor

named James Dean. And he is just a teeny tiny, HUGE BALL OF INSANITY. And I mean insanity in the weird sense, not the crazy sense. Par exemple, that means for example to all of you non French speaking people, he will just sort of space out in class. We don’t really know what he is thinking, but a good 30 seconds of silence goes by before he resumes his thought. The girl who sits next to me seems to be the only other one who finds him absolutely hysterical, even though he isn’t trying to be. I mean, we generally spend 3/4 of the class laughing at him (in kindness, mind you) and 1/4 the class learning. He just has a unique way of phrasing things that can either sound really absurd or really inappropriate.

He also really, really loves medieval literature. I mean, he teaches an entire class devoted to Chaucer, who we are studying right now. The stories we are reading in class are written in our textbooks as they originally appeared which means original medieval language. We then have to read the story, get online, find the translation he has provided, and sort of try and figure out what the story is about, as the translation isn’t all that translated to begin with. Good times. We just finished the Miller’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales, and I’ve got to say that James Dean mentions the fact that this is “THE MOST BRILLIANT AND WELL WRITTEN STORY IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.” I mean the man only says it every other second. But the thing I like most about this medieval language (which isn’t much) is when James Dean reads it aloud to us.

Now, he is a very white, very old, very American man. But put a page of medieval english in front of him and he becomes this very energetic, very ancient, VERY BRITISH man. It is like this accent takes over his body and you would swear someone else had come into the class to read to us. Knowing this about himself he likes to show off and the other day he decided it was time to show how horrible we were at this. He had us split into groups and pick a few lines from the text and elect one person to read them aloud. He came by each group and helped (as much as he could) with the accents and which letters to pronounce, but it was still a big old mess. The group before us actually chose our lines so we switched lines about ten seconds before we were called on and we only messed up one consonant pronunciation! Huzzah!

Other than that thrilling story my life at University has been quite horrid. While James Dean is a hilarious teacher he isn’t a fantastic grader. And meeting with him during office hours is a whole big awkward situation. I had a group presentation (I hate those so, so much) where we had to teach subject-verb agreement to 19-21 year olds and that was interesting. My group was one of those only communicate by email type groups, so I ended up typing every thing out as far as the lesson plan went and the handout for the class. THEN! The girl in our group who had the game we were going to play in class got extremely sick and wasn’t there on the day of our presentation. And she didn’t email us, so we had to make up a game on the spot BUT we got a good grade because sometimes being a teacher requires you to do things like that.

Also I failed my French quiz (and I don’t mean take pity on me I think I failed, I mean I REALLY failed… we got our grades back today) so that was encouraging. Apparently the section I did the worse on, the majority of the class did terribly on, so he is letting us do a make up quiz for that part. But I do have something good concerning French… today I was at the store and I was looking for a certain type of a hand wipe things. I picked up said item and looked at the package to see if it was what I wanted when I read the description and put it back. Then I sort of did a double take and looked back at the thing, and turns out I was reading the french description! Without realizing it! And I knew what it said! That definitely made up for the quiz.

Well holy frick would you look at the time! I have to get up trés early to go to my field observation. Oh the joys of being an education major.

GOODNIGHT INTERNET.

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A post in which boys giggle and I suffer much humiliation.

This past Sunday I spent the day moving into my dorm. This involved going up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down stairs until everything was in my room. I don’t have that much stuff, but it seems like 900 million things when you don’t have your dad and brother there to do all of the lifting. Usually I just stand in my room and supervise, “no that goes there” or, “DAD! Don’t put that on the bed!” and even, “DON’T SLAM THAT TOTE DOWN DO YOU NOT SEE THE BREAKABLE SIGN I NEATLY TAPED ON IT???” I really am greatful for their help, but I don’t want my expensive perfume smashed into tiny bits. Now, the interesting thing about all of this up and down the stairs business is every time I passed my neighbor’s room his parents had the furniture arranged in a different way while he was telling them, “no this will not fit.” Curiosity got the better of me and I peeked in the room only to find they had a GIANT carpet to put down on the floor. So they turned it one way, but that didn’t work. So they turned it the other way. And then they had to lift up both of the beds so they could fit it in the room. By this time the desk was sticking half way out of the room, and halfway into the hall. My mom invited his mom into my room to show her how my roommate and I have set up our furniture because we find that it works out quite nicely. She then explained that he has a couple of chairs and OF COURSE they want their T.V. on its own stand so they could play video games.

Once my mother and I got everything in the room we realized we forgot my printer and microwave.  We went to pick those thigns up and when we got back we saw that he finally got everything to work out in his room, and they did this by shoving his dresser into his closet and turning his bed against a different wall. Now, I am not exaggerating when I say that they seriously have five hundred chairs in their room. I mean it; every time I go by I see one more chair in there!

I actually think I am going to like my hall this year. Last semester no one on the hall talked to anyone else, unless of course they were smoking pot outside, at 2 in the morning, allowing the fumes to drift into my room. My hall last semester was a weird bunch who didn’t smile and most likely killed babies for fun. My R.A. was practically non-existent. I believe I saw him in the dorm twice. My R.A. this year is better about being seen. He is nice and when we had our hall meeting he made us do an exciting “speed dating” thing. Except it wasn’t really speed dating we were just getting to know other people. We were uneven so the two lines were all out of sync so for a large majority of the game I got to know the same five people really well. Finally he came down to our end of the line and I told him I think we should invert the lines so we could get to know other people. Well let me tell you that was a disaster. I don’t think he understood what I meant, and after three minutes we finally got the line switched up enough that I met about three other people. So far everyone has been quite loud and happy. The guys right across from me have a Wii so they are constantly playing with the rest of the guys on the hall gathered around them telling them where to go or what to do, and they go there or do whatever is instructed to them which I suppose gains them more points or something, because five minutes later you can hear them SCREAMING and LAUGHING and GIGGLING and slapping each other on the backs for a job well done.

Tuesday was the first day of classes. I had Teaching Exceptional Adolescents and French II. TEA was really fun; I really, really like my professor. That class is a basic instructional guide on how to teach special education students. We are given case studies that we have to research and present to the class. I think the most notable thing from that class was when my professor was talking about the Swine Flu. He was telling us to be smart, and that we wouldn’t get it unless we didn’t wash our hands, or we let a pimp spit in our mouths. The class was pretty silent for a few seconds and then all it takes is that one person to make a noise and suddenly everyone is laughing. I think if a pimp spit in my mouth swine flu would be the least of my worries. French was alright; I really, really, really loved my professor last semester but she sadly wasn’t teaching 106 this semester. So I have some guy whose name I simply cannot pronounce (I doubt I ever will) and he is… interesting. Being that this is French 106 he speaks 98% of the class time in French. He repeats himself in English when he can truly tell that we are lost. The thing about this class is that it is largely composed of Freshmen. I think I am the only senior (SENIOR!!!) in there. I am taking it again with my really good friend who is a sophomore, but other than us, I think there are only one or two more sophomores out of the 20 or so people in the class. But that isn’t even the interesting part. Get this. There is a TEN YEAR OLD in my class. A TEN YEAR OLD IN FRENCH II. And she is good. Everyone sort of stares at her with a hint of resentment as we stumble over verbs from last semester.

And now I must take a moment to tell you about my French classroom. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we have class in one room and on Mondays and Wednesdays it is in a different room (I have no idea why). Now, to get to the room on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have to go to the Sports Center. We have to go in, go past the gyms, go past the exercise rooms, past the rock climbing wall, past all of the sweaty people in exercise clothes who are staring at us because we are normally dressed with book bags and purses and things. Then we go down a set of stairs to a dead end and go in a door to a creepy hallway. Then we pass more exercise rooms and things, and FINALLY we come to the only two classrooms in the entire sports complex. Can someone please explain to me why on earth we have class here? The room is really big but our class is small, so it is hard to hear the professor because his voice (which is quite and masked by a really, really heavy French accent) carries up to the ceiling and we are all, “WHAT? WHAT DID HE SAY? PARDON?”

On Wednesday I went to my British Lit class with my professor named JAMES DEAN. He is a fiery old man and I think I am really going to enjoy the class. Then it was time for Grammar and my professor is awesomeeee. We had to go around the room and tell our name, status (SENIOR!!!) major, and something interesting about ourselves. One of the girls in my class was born on Christmas! That was exciting. I chose to share that I have lived in a lot of different states and then she asked if I could name them all, so I did. Then came the running. I have exactly 15 minutes to get from one building on one side of campus to another building on the other side of campus. I have to cross two streets; two busy streets full of cars and motorcycles and lights that never seem to change. If I am lucky I will make it on time to Psychology of Education, a class where we are required to keep a blog. I love that! We were assigned groups and we had to come up with a name, so my group is called the Purple Parrots from Legends of the Hidden Temple. We got our field placements and I am going to a nice school located in a different state. In reality it is only a 12 minute drive from my dorm, but it is in the next state over.

Then it was time to go back to French where we played charades in class using verbs we have learned. Now, let me explain this to you in case you don’t know this about me. I. HATE. GAMES. No, I take that back. I. LOATH. GAMES. With every fiber of my being, I loath them. I would rather sit at the dentist or the doctor getting shots or root canals than play a game in class. The first person goes and their verb is “to dance” and other people get words like “to sing” or “to talk on the telephone” or “to drink water.” So I get my card. And I look at my verb. And I’m all, “No, this can’t be right.” So I go up to him and say, “Ummm I forgot what this means.” And he told me it meant “to be busy.” And I said, “How do you act that out?” BECAUSE IT COULDN’T BE ACTED OUT. And he just looks at me and says, “I don’t know, make something up.”

…..

Okay Frenchie. Maybe you have a different way of playing charades in France, but here in America we act out what is on the card, and this simply CAN NOT be acted out. So I’m up in front of the room, and I tell the class “good luck” and begin to act this out. I pretend that I am writing on paper, and shuffling through other papers and then I keep looking at my watch, hoping this portrays my message. It did not. Everyone was guessing writing, or time, or anything but being busy. I stood up and looked at my professor and said, “I don’t know how else to act this out.” Then I heard it. Someone murmured “busy” to themselves and I said, “YES! NOW SAY IT IN FRENCH!” and the problem was NO ONE KNEW HOW. So while the professor was writing a clue on the board I flashed the card to my friend in hopes she would say the answer and I could sit down. No luck; she couldn’t read the writing. Finally they got it and I could go back to my seat.

Internet, it was awful. Just awful. I now loath that class.

And sadly, that is where I am off to now. So good bye people of the Interweb. I hope I make it through my class and don’t die of humiliation!

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A French Chick Flick. Does Life Get Any Better?

hors de prix

Seeing as I am taking French classes at school, I like to watch French movies and read French books to try and see how much I understand.While I still need subtitles, I sometimes understand a lot more than I ever expected; in “teacher speak” (something I do a lot) this is the equivalent of a progress report. It is sort of an “l like to see how much I have learned, and how much I need to work on” type thing.

So Cal (Bullshish to you) and I have this movie trade off thing, and I am due to watch Cinderella Man sometime in the very, very near future, I promise. But tonight he convinced me to do a free trial of Netflix (turns out he didn’t have to do much convincing) and they have this instant watch type feature. So I was scrolling through those, and instead of watching my latest movie trade off like a good person, I watched a French chick flick that I have been dying to see for a long time.

After seeing Amelie I fell in love with Audrey Tautou. Then I saw the preivew for this movie, and knew I must see it at once. Hors de prix (or rather Priceless in English) is the story of a poor waitor named Jean, who works at a VERY rich hotel, and a gal named Irène, who mistakes Jean as a wealthy man who will foot the bill for her widly expensive habits because she too is very poor and goes from rich man to rich man who all buy her pretty things that I would KILL for. This film was supposedly adapted from Breakfast at Tiffany’s so if you have seen that movie, you can pretty much compare her to Holly. Only this one is French. And she doesn’t have a cat.

Now, it is a well known fact that I love my share of chick flicks/rom-coms/whatever you want to call them. I have a saying, and that is almost every single chick flick/rom-com/whatever you want to call them can be traced back to the plot of any one Jane Austen novel. They follow specific guidelines. Boy and Girl meet. Boy and Girl casually/secretly/sort-of flirt but are usually (1) to busy loathing each other to figure out it is true love, or (2) seeing someone else and can’t see that it is true love. Boy and Girl find ways of always running into each other. Boy and Girl have epiphanies and realize it IS love, but can’t do anything about it because (1) they are scared the other doesn’t feel the same way, or (2) they are still with that other someone because it is comfortable. Boy or Girl does something in the form of a grand gesture, and in the end Boy and Girl live happily ever after. These guidelines may vary from movie to movie, but they generally tend to stay the same.

So when I started Hors de prix I expected it to go this route. (After all, I didn’t know much about the movie other than the star and that it was French.) The plot line actually caught me off guard a little ways into it, but I liked the change. I mean, yes I figured out how it would end long before it was over, but when you watch as many chick flicks as I do, you tend to have a special gift for this. But the change of pace was quite nice. The cast was great and everyone fit their roles perfectly. Audrey is such a wonderful actress and has the best facial expressions (doesn’t hurt that she is quite beautiful). Gad Elmaleh (Jean) was a perfect fit for his role. He was quirky and shy, and I liked that he wasn’t some major French hottie because that would have totally ruined his role in the movie. Granted, he was cute, but I saw a handful of more gorgeous men on the streets of Paris, JUST SAYING.

Overall I totally recommend this movie to anyone, be it chick flick or not. If you like forigen films do give this one a try. You get funny and sweet and charming- all in one sitting! I promise you will like it, and if you don’t… well then you can just go ahead a put a nice, big check mark next to BE MORE CULTURED.

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Je suis très heureuse!

So basically the past couple of weeks have been really boring for me. The exciting things I have done were NYC (where I saw Captain Hammer in SOHO!!) and Washington, which were really, really fun. Other than that, things have been going like they usually go. I wake up, go to class, get out of class, twitter, go to another class, eat alone for lunch, go to class, twitter, go back to my dorm room, do about 3-4 hours of homework, give up on homework, twitter, watch a movie, call my mother, go to bed, wake up and do it all over again. Classes have been really interesting, just nothing worth posting about. I guess you could say interesting in the educational sense, not in the entertainment sense. But then I got this French assignment and it was amazing. I thought I was doing mediocre in French, that I couldn’t conjugate my verbs and I was failing at life. Then this writing assignment came along and I actually completed it tonight! In like, an hour! So now I am going to post what I wrote, and if you care enough to translate it go right ahead. Or you could just ask me millions of times in the comments and maybe I will post the English version. Or you could just not care at all. Whatever floats your boat.

Bonjour! Je m’appelle Lauren. Je suis anglaise. Avoir 21 ans, et je suis de Bear, Delaware. Je suis petite, avoir les cheveux bruns, et avoir les yeux marron. Je suis active, amusant, et très timide. Je voyage beaucoup Pairs, England, et America. Je suis étudiante; j’étudie la Littérature et je préféré William Shakespeare. Très, très, très  j’adore William Shakespeare!  J’adore ma famille aussi.

Mon père est super. Il s’appelle Jim. Il avoir 48 ans. Il travaille de McLane Company-il est président. Il est très grand, avoir les cheveux gris et avoir les yeux verts. Il est très intelligent, avare, gros, et très amusant. Il est très, très sociable. Il aime la musique classique. Il déteste du shopping, mais je suis adore toujours shopping!

Ma mère est mon ami proche. Elle s’appelle Tammy. Elle avoir ?* ans. Elle travaille en à domicile. Elle est petite, avoir les cheveux bruns, et avoir les yeux marron. Elle est active, très généreuse, intelligent, et optimiste. Elle est sympathique, raisonnable, et heureuse aussi. Je ressemble ma mère.

Ma sœur s’appelle Sara. Elle a 23 ans. Elle travaille en Starbucks. Elle est petite, avoir les cheveux bruns, et avoir les yeux marron. Elle est allergique beaucoup, idéaliste, intéressante, et nerveuse. Elle aime tous les jours surfe sur Internet. Elle préféré toujours dormir.

Mon frère s’appelle James. Il est élève. Il a 18 ans. Il avoir les cheveux bruns, et avoir les yeux marron. Il est très grand. Il est altruiste, amusant, et très, très, très sociable (beaucoup copains). Il est très énergique. Il est sportif, il joue lacrosse très bien! Ma famille pensent James ressemble moi. Nous sommes très fermer.

Ma famille est très intéressante.  J’adore ma famille beaucoup.

So, yeah. It is not perfect, and if you speak fluent French and I just compeltely butchered your language, I apoligize. But at least I am trying, right? That should count for something.

I am also trying to convince my parents to let me do this study abroad. Yeah, I just came back from one, but I can’t help it. It is like legal crack people. This time it is to New Zealand and it is for a month (next January). The only other problem besides convincing my parents to let me go is the actual application process. Apparantly this is going to be pretty competitive to get into because the University set a cap on how many people could go- 30. Thats it! 30 people!! At the info meeting I attended 28 people had already signed up (I didn’t know we could sign up early) so I completed my application that night, and with the help of my roomate I created the best essay those people will ever read. So hopefully that gets me an advantage.

I will keep you updated on the process of my study abroad. And French. Because it makes me so happy when I can put together more than one coherent sentence.

*Mother, I declined to post your age on this contraption called the interent. Your welcome.

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“It’s as Ann as the nose on plain’s face.”

Bonjour Internet! Ja m’appelle Improbable Fiction (votre prenom, Lauren). Comment allez-vous? Je vais très bien. Çe va? Non? Oui?

Why, yes (oui!). I did just type all of that in French. You see, I haven’t been posting lately as I have just started a new semester of school and I have been very busy moving in and going to class and speaking French. Seeing as I have only had three classes and therefore can not exactly put together many sentences beyond the basic greetings (see above), I shall be typing the rest of this in my native tongue- English. Don’t worry, There will most likely be some sort of French in each post from now on.

Where do I begin? Lets start with my room. Supposedly my roommate and I have one of the larger rooms in our dorm. Compared to my dorm room in Florida (well, the most recent I occupied) it is a tad smaller, though it does have more shelving space. Compared to my dorm room in England, I am living in a palace. I have a rather pretty view of the south green, and *gasp* the library. You could say I am very happy about this. My roommate is rather nice. She is also an education major, like me, though her focus is in music (she plays the flute and just recently beat out a grad student for first chair in ensemble. HA!) and mine is in English. She has rather long hair and always wears it in a braid. She is Jewish. She likes horses. Sometimes we sit and people watch from our windows. We see some very peculiar people. My desk is quite roomy compared to my previous desks, and I have my own closet. MY OWN CLOSET. I almost died when I saw that. One day, when I find the cord that connects my camera to my computer, I will upload pictures.

Just next door from me is my RA, Keith. He put up little things on everyone’s doors with their names on them, and up until two or so days ago I didn’t have one. We randomly met in the hall and he informed me that he would be putting my name on my door as soon as he stopped being lazy (which turned out to be ten minutes). He then asked me if he spelled “Lauren” correctly, or if there were any weird “y” or “i” letters in there. I told him there were, and he had a minor freak out. “There are! Oh man, I spelled it wrong? What is it- a y?” I then proceeded to tell him I was just kidding and we (Keith, my roommate, and I) all had a good chuckle.

Classes are rather interesting. Another good thing about my dorm is I am really close to my classrooms. The farthest is about a ten minute walk. My first class was on the Jewish Holocaust which should be really interesting. My next class was FRENCH, which I am very excited about. Though, I do have a lot of vocab to memorize before my first quiz on Mardi (Tuesday). I actually have French four days a week so that is fun. The only sort of downside is the class is taught by two different professors. On MW we have Madame Poindexter and on TR we have Mademoiselle Grace. They are both extremely nice though so I suppose I can handle it. Then I went to Linguistics which is going to be my most interesting (professor-wise not subject-wise) and most challenging. The class is taught by a Japanese man who… hasn’t quite mastered the English language (it is not his native language). Why do I point this out? Because it is a class all about the English language and how it all fits together and works. So, yeah. Good call getting a foreign speaking person to teach a class about the mechanics of speaking English. Every Tuesday I have a lecture with my professor, but every Thursday I have a “discussion” with my T.A. who is very smart and very confusing. Unfortunately this class is required for my major so there is nothing I can really do about it.

Then I have a MWF class called “Tools of Textual Analysis” (which we have agreed sounds dirty) and basically this is a fancy way of saying “Introduction to Lit” which I have already taken. So why am I taking this dirty class? Well the effing guy hasn’t approved my transfer credit yet. And if he fails to do so by Tuesday, I basically have to retake this class and I will not be having any of that. And then there is my Contemporary Jewish/American Lit class where my professor rocks because he assigned us a bunch of one-page papers, a “longer paper” (1500 words… I wrote at least five of those just in England last semester!), and we get to watch a bunch of movies (one in particular being School Ties which I have already seen… and own…because not only is is a good movie but MATT DAMON is in it, so we will be watching MATT DAMON in class which is pretty freaking awesome). And to top it all off, we don’t have class on April 10th because it is Passover. This class is going to be pretty darn amazing.

So hopefully that explains my absence from this glorious blog. I must now bid you adieu and finish my homework.

À bientôt!

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