I’m getting really used to talking to strangers…and I’m getting really tired of getting lost.
Today, I woke up at 6 so I could leave early for Paris VII. There was a class I was interested in taking that started at 9, so I wanted to get there super early to find the class as well as the school.
That’s when things started to go downhill.
Leaving was no problem. I left on time and the commute was easy, only one metro switch on the way. I always get lost after exiting the stations, though.
I walked for a while without seeing any of the signs I was looking for, so naturally I thought it would be a good idea to start following the people who look like college students wearing backpacks. That would have been a really good idea, if they had actually been college students.
So, I kept walking. I resorted to pulling out my map for this one, and anxiously walked to find the fac. Nope, wasn’t going to happen. I ended up walking away from the school…typical. I finally stopped and reconfigured my directions, and headed to the building.
Then, somehow, I managed to get lost again. It was 8:20 by this point and I was tired and upset for not finding the building on time. I couldn’t find the right place to find the rooms for classes. I walked up stairs, down stairs, got in elevators, headed towards dead ends–think of the wrong way to go and I did it. When I found myself in the Asian studies department, I knew something was wrong. But then, miraculously I found the signs for les lettres et sciences.
That’s when I realized it. The class I woke up extra early for, the class I lost an hour searching for, began two minutes before I found that poster. Yes, the guide may have said 9:00, but the course posting said 8:30. Great.
So, I headed to NYU on Passy to sign up for the weekend excursion. On my way, I needed to stop at an ATM for the deposit which I figured would only take a second. That is, unless the ATM wants to keep your debit card. I went inside and asked the woman how to get it back and with a blasé smile she said I needed to come back tomorrow.
Luckily, I have awesome friends so Emily was able to lend me the money for the deposit. And we signed up for the trip we wanted–Marseilles!
After a quick nap and lunch with Emily at NYU, I once again ventured to Paris VII. Something was messed up with the RER today, so I found myself walking back and forth between stations over the course of an hour. I guess that’s ok because I wouldn’t have time to run today, but I was exhausted and just wanted to get to the school again.
Once I got there, I joined all the French students sitting in the halls, reading before class. When I went in the classroom, I walked over to another student and asked if they did a lot in the first two classes that I missed, wondering if there was anything I needed to catch up on. She said it was her first time there and she was actually a graduate student helping with the class. So, I retreated to my seat after a semi-awkward conversation with her and waited for everyone else to pile in.
When everyone else came in, they filled all the seats except the ones next to me. It felt like middle school lunch all over again. Finally, when therer were practically no more open seats in the class a girl came over and asked if anyone was sitting there and sat next to me.
I asked her if they did a lot previously, and she said she had no idea. Luckily, I was sitting behind a girl who brought her computer so when the professor talked too fast I would just copy her notes. And she was reading funny American blogs all during class that kept me occupied as well.
During the break, I went up and introduced myself to the professor and asked if he had a syllabus since no one seemed to know what was going on in the class. He asked me what that was, so I told him it was like a “programme” for the class. He then pointed me to the book list and said we’d be reading one every week. Not exactly what I was looking for, but it was a start.
When I asked the girl next to me how we would be graded, la validation, she looked at me like I was insane…apparently either French students don’t care as much as Americans or French professors are always that vague.
By the end of class, I could actually fully understand what was going on! It was so great. I left Paris VII, wishing I had my bank card so I could go to Gilbert Joseph across the street, but instead ventured back onto the metro home with the rest of the workday crowd. And now, unfortunately, not all my classes are as chill as a la fac, so I need to finish homework :/.