Life in Pau has been pretty laid back this week. I had a great first week of classes and am steadily expanding my vocab. During class, I write any words I don’t recognize or wouldn’t use in a conversation and go back over them to define and rewrite each one after the day is done. It takes me forever, but hopefully my vocabulary will pick up soon. Many of the people in my class are practically fluent as far as speech goes. The strongest student is the Thai girl, who’s French is absolutely incredible (I feel sorry for her because she gets stuck working with me very often). She is in a relationship with a French guy she met in northern Sweden when she studied there. They dated for three years (speaking English) and when they graduated last summer plans were made to move to Pau together. He told her after graduation he would only speak French to her. You can imagine how awesome her conversation skills are since she has been forced to speak it since July. The first day she entered our class, Kim and I looked at eachother in amazement (with a glint of fear) as she spoke about her life. Her accent is very strong though, and her writing as well as grammar needs work, but she is far, far, far above my level.
I think I recall writing in my last blog that everyone says I will not be fluent by the end of the semester. I’m really dissapointed by this and am starting to get a little irritated that so many of the American students want to speak English with me because they speak French at home. I really like my new friends, but at the same time I want to be fully immersed and feel this blog, IM and facebook give me plently of rest from French. I’m trying to find people to speak French with me, so I can hang out with another group than the Americans. Vanessa took me out to Karaoke with her French friend Wednesday. Her friend Helene is fluent in English and introduced me to her group of friends at the bar. Unfortunately I couldn’t talk to them very much because we were seated in a booth under the speaker. I did meet one girl who was very friendly and spoke English to me all night. She almost got me to sing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” but I only had one glass of wine and one beer so I was nowhere near ready for that. I found her on facebook and she agreed to speak English to me while I respond in French. She said she would text me about hanging out this week so I am looking forward to it!! I’m also going to Helene’s Birthday party this Saturday night and hopefully there I can meet more French speaking partners.
I didn’t travel this weekend, but instead went out to see the Pau nightlife Friday and a Raclette party Saturday. The occassion Friday was a classmate’s birthday party and much to my dismay she picked a really really expensive pizzeria to eat at. I didn’t order a pizza (they were all 15 euros), but I split an amazing bottle of wine with another girl, as well as the house tart for dessert. After dinner we went out to this bar highly reccomended, but the group of people present were ten years older than us and it wasn’t very busy because it was only 10 pm. I sat there for about an hour listening to the live band that was right next to us. They music was okay, the band sang in English (Can’t escape my native language!). I didn’t order a drink because that would have cost me another 4 euros, so I just sat there as everyone else drank and conversed. The group weren’t really my type of people, and after an hour and a half I got bored and tired. I decided I should just call a taxi and go home. I split the fare to the university with another student and paid the rest of it on my own. Ended up costing me 10 euros. Everything is so ridiculously expensive, even when I stay in town! I think today will be my first day in Europe staying at home and taking it easy. My host mom is urging me to take the bus and get out of the house, but the only venues open today are cinemas and a few restaurants. Plus I need to work on my scholarships and French homework.
*I was going to write about the Raclette party I went to last night, but I’ll just post another blog on it later, because this one is rather long.