Monday mornings I get to sleep in until 9:00. Then, I get up, check my e-mail and get dressed at my leisure until around 9:30 when I take my bad downstairs and have breakfast. Breakfast in France is simple: bread. And fruit on occasion. For me, I usually have a chunk of bread with jam, and sometimes some honey. Usually, my host mom has a bowl of coffee. Yes, I said bowl. If my host sister or I don't want any, she'll drink the whole pot. After my breakfast, I grab my sack and head out the door to catch bus #30 to Villejean Universite (aka Rennes 2). There's a bus stop right by the apartment, so I don't have to walk too far (which is good when I feel like going out in the evening). The bus ride is about 20 minutes because it's one of the buses that goes from the east side of town around to the west side via circling around the north end. The ride is actually fairly interesting because you go through a bunch of different neighborhoods, although I still have the hardest time figuring out which neighborhoods are better than others. The French plan their cities in circles, so those living in the inner most circle (centre ville) are generally better off than those living in the outer rings. But it can still be hard to distinguish, especially to someone from the US who is used to judging neighborhoods based purely on appearances.
Anyway, the bus arrive at campus about 20 minutes before my class, which is plenty of time for me to get a cup of hot chocolate from the vending machine in the lounge in CIREFE. CIEREFE is located on the fourth floor (5th if you're counting the American way) of Building E. And this is where every single one of my classes are, with the exception of my language lab and my oral expression class (which is down two floors). The only time I leave the building is for lunch and the CIREFE "Atelier Chant."
My first class of the day on Mondays is Expression Ecrite (Written Expression). The professor is...interesting.... This week he was a bit tipsy during class, which was rather interesting, although it made it nearly impossible to understand what he was saying. It also wasn't a good first impression of my classes at Rennes 2 in the first place! The class is two hours long, and I have an hour to eat lunch in between, which can be quite a feat, honestly. The main cafeteria for students is across the street, and although it's large it's PACKED from 12:00 until about 2:00. So, Mondays are "fun." Usually, though, you do finish your lunch before you have to be back in class. My second class is Etude de la Langue (basically your generic French class). The professor is probably one of the best ones I have during the week, honestly. He's also one of the directors of CIREFE. This week we just got to know our classmates, so nothing too interesting. It's another long class, and we finish at 3:30. Then, at 3:45, I have my French Literature class. It's another long class, but the teacher is very dynamic, so it's a lot of fun. In all of my classes, Americans sort of dominate the class room. Followed by Chinese students, and then students from South American or other Spanish speaking counties, and Japanese students.
After my classes, I participate in a little chorus for CIREFE students. Again, Americans are dominant, as are girls. There's only one boy in the class, and he's from Mexico. The teacher is a bit soft-spoken, but she teaches us the songs in the same way Sally did at Harlaxton: by ear. Today, we learned an old French song. It's about that little nursery rhyme with the boy who pipes for the rats....
From the little choir, I take the subway and then Bus #5 back to my host family's because bus #30 doesn't come by after 8:00, which is when the atelier ends. When I arrive back at the house, I have dinner and then kind of do what I please until bed. Sometimes I watch a movie of TV with my host mom and my host sibling (if she doesn't have too much homework).
Tuesdays are kind of a lazy day right now. Currently, I only have one class in the evenings of Tuesdays, and that's my pedagogy class. I say currently because we haven't received our placements yet for the TEFL internship (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). However, I should know that by this coming Tuesday. This class is purely CIEE students because it's only offered with our program. So it's the only class I have with students who are in a higher level than me. After the class, I go back to the host family's and have dinner. Then, if I have any homework for Wednesday that I haven't finished, I do that and go to bed around 10:30.
Wednesdays are LONG. My first class is at 8:15, which means catching Bus #30 at 7:30. That class is oral comprehension. It's not especially pleasant to have to comprehend radio-speed French first thing in the morning. Luckily, the class is only an hour long. My next class isn't until 10:30, so I generally just hang out in the CIREFE lounge between the two. That class is Etude de la Langue, and from there I have lunch and then the Language Lab, which is only an hour long. Then, at 3:45 I have the Expression Orale class until 5:45 (which I am actually kind of bummed about because there's a partner dance class Wednesday evening in centre ville from 5:30 until 7:00, but I'd wind up being really late if I tried to do that). From there, it's back to the house for dinner and chill out time.
Thursday are another free day for me. But I actually do a bit more on Thursdays then just laze around my room. Thursdays I'm taking a dance class and, possibly, a volleyball class with a friend in the afternoons. The dance class is modern dance, which is cool for me because it's one of the few dances forms that I haven't had. In my days of childhood, I took ballet, tap, and jazz, but never modern dance. I didn't think very highly of it back then. I didn't like jazz either. Of course, I didn't stick with any of the dance class, so you could argue that I didn't like any of them.
Then, Thursday night is the night when the students go out. Well, actually it's basically everyone goes out of Thursdays (and Fridays, too). There are just more students because those French students who live in another town further away go back home on the weekends (and a lot of them will schedule their classes so that they don't have any classes on Fridays). Me, I can't do too much partying because I have another early morning on Fridays, but this week I went out with Miro and a bunch of other students in CIEE for a more relaxed evening. Miro, Taylor and I ended up at a little bar with paw prints all over it called Couleurs (or something like that). It was a pretty chill place, and we're planning on going back when it gets colder because they serve some nice spiked hot cocoa. I'd already had some wine at the previous bar (which was mediocre, partly because it was on "Rue de la Soif"), so I only had some grapefruit juice here. It was still good, though. I got back to the apartment at around midnight.
Fridays are another early morning for me with history at 8:15. You see, I may have two days off, but I make up for it with two early morning classes. Right after history is another Etude de la Langue, and then I'm off for the rest of the day, which is nice when you want to travel.
This Friday, I had dinner with Emmi from the CIEE program and a bunch of Belgian and German friends she'd made in her classes. We met at Place Saint Anne and then ate at a fairly inexpensive Italian restaurant by Place Saint Michel. Dinner was good, and filled with plenty of laughs, and it was great to have to use French the entire evening. When I go out with just the Americans, we usually just speak in English. After all, the rest of the time, our lives are in French. After dinner (which was a decent two hours, average for France/Europe), we went to a small bar at the end of "Rue de la Soif," which was thankfully not too crowded because Friday nights are a lot calmer than Thursday nights. Emmi and I left close to 11:00, so I got home about 11:30.
Saturday I generally don't get up until about 10:30, even on Tuesday and Thursday I try to get up by 9:00. And then I'm lazy most of the day. Sometimes I'll go in to town, and as the semester wears on I'll probably try and head off to neighboring towns or Paris or Lille or other towns that don't cost too much to get to, but for now I'm lazy. This weekend there was a large broaderie down at the metro Anatole France. It's basically a giant garage sale. My host sister and mom were down there all day Saturday and Sunday trying to sell a few things. They made about 100 euro over the weekend. The broaderie is one of the largest in France, so there were tons of people down there this weekend, which was pretty cool. Next weekend, though, is the CIEE excursion to Normandy!
Sunday mornings I head off to mass. I've been attending St. Melaine's service for the past three weeks, but I'm planning of changing it next time around. The mass at St. Melaine's is very beautiful and traditional, so I want to see what it's like at a more "modern" church. Also, this week the priest was from Congo or some other African country, which made it very hard to understand anything he was saying due to the accent. However, I do enjoy mass here more than I did in England.
Looking for something specific?
Then use the buttons below to jump to specific content!!