Discussing the French political system and the numerous political parties at 9:15 am is not a great way to start the day. It’d hard enough to be awake at that hour and being expected to discuss politics that aren’t even ours is nearly impossible. Our professor is pretty cool though and she totally gets that it’s early and our brains aren’t ready for French yet. Maybe in a week or so we’ll be better. Meaghan had it really hard too because she had a bit of fun the night before for her birthday…

We pretty much did the same thing we always do during the time the other half of our entourage (the actual French word for group/gang!) had clas: we used the computers. I’m loving all the comments I’m getting on this blog people, so keep it up! A few of the other students are going to Strausborg this weekend, pretty cool right? We might go later. We also looked into going to a small town in the south of France, right next to the Riviera!

For lunch we went to City University to eat at their cafeteria. This was the same place Meaghan, Katie, Colleen and I had been before but this time we went to the cafeteria instead of the cafe. It wasn’t bad but it was more confusing than the other university cafeteria we went to. The lines had no organization so I sort of just ended up with the first thing I saw: Paella. Now the only problem with me and paella is I don’t care for seafood. I tried to just eat around the prawns and the mussels but somehow I ended up getting an antenna or leg or something from the prawn and it’s been stuck in my throat all day scratching me. I hope it goes away soon. Another new friend joined us for lunch, Nicole (Lebanese-American with beauty and brains). I sat with her, Martin and Andres; Katie, Jaclyn, Meaghan and Harrison sat at another table because they were a little small. About half-way through lunch a woman approached us and asked if she could sit with us because we were speaking English. It turned out she was from Texas by way of Turkey and didn’t speak any French so we were the first English-speakers she’d had contact with in about a month. She didn’t say much but I think she just enjoyed hearing the language again.

Over lunch Nicole, Martin and I had some great philisophical discussions. Both are very intelligent and we discussed pretty much everything under the sun, from the importance of curiosity to zombie attacks. I really enjoyed talking to them and hope they continue to come out with us.

In Impressionism we finally got to an Impressionist: Edouard Manet. To start we just looked at his early paintings and how they were the start of impressionism and slowly transitioned to the style. It was great! Our professor is an incredibly nice, knowledgable older woman who really knows her stuff. She sees these little details in paintings that only a true art lover can find. I love it because she really has a passion for art that you can see, these things are more than just little blips of information, they’re the foundations of a creative era.

After some discussion after class, most of us decided to go to La Cemitaire Montparnase (the Montparnase Cemetery). Jaclyn had a friend from home who was visiting and wanted to meet at Les Invalides (Napoleon’s tomb–remember?) and Harrison jumped at the chance to go back and actually see the tomb. The guy is a history nerd through and through. Andres, Katie, Meaghan and I set off for the cemetery.

A few famous people are buried at Montparnase, although not as many as at Pere Lachese (but that’s another day). The big ones we saw were Charles Baudelaire, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Bauvoir (they’re buried together) and Robert Larousse (the French dictionary guy). Baudelaire’s was neat because several people have placed notes and copies of his poems on top, along with flowers. It took us forever to find his because it’s a little further in a plot and we were confused as to which plot it was. Because we knew it was somewhere we split up and went in between the graves. Katie suggested that when one of us found Baudelaire’s grave we should shout “Marco!”, I didn’t think that was exactly proper so I’m glad that didn’t actually happen.  Baudelaire’s grave was cool, but I liked Sartre/de Bauvoir’s better. I just think it’s neat that they were buried together, despite what people said. I guess the thing to do at the cemeteries here is to leave something behind at the grave, even if it’s just a rock you picked up off the ground; someone had made a heart out of stones on top of Satre and de Bauvoir’s grave, it was very precious.

Some of the graves are very ornate and many different cultures and religions are represented in the cemetery.

Some of the graves are very ornate and many different cultures and religions are represented in the cemetery.

Baudelaire's grave, he's buried along with his step-father and mother.

Baudelaire's grave, he's buried along with his step-father and mother.

A tribute to the impact Baudelaire's writing had on one of his fans.

A tribute to the impact Baudelaire's writing had on one of his fans.

Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Bauvoir's grave, complete with heart made of pebbles.

Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Bauvoir's grave, complete with heart made of pebbles.

Jaclyn went to dinner with her friend so Harrison met the rest of us at a cafe after the cemetery/Napoleon. The others all had dinner with their families so I was on my own. They got coffee with me at the cafe and I just walked to the bakery near by and got a slice of quiche and an eclair for my dinner–it was pretty good.

When the rest had to head home for dinner, I decided to take some me time since I had the opportunity. I just changed Metro lines at Monceau and spent about an hour in the park. I used my new pastels and am a little happier with the results this time. I also just did a little straight-up sketching. I really should go there more often.

Friday we head to Fontainbleu with IES. We have to be there pretty early to leave and we have at least an hour trip to get there. Over coffee it was decided (mainly by Katie) that we would be playing MASH on the way there, I think the boys are less than thrilled but they’ll live. I’m sure I’ll have lots of pictures of that to put up and a great blog to go along with when we get back!

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