I definitely like going to bed at ten instead of 11, but I don’t know if I’ll always be able to do that. I’ll try to, though. When I have my oral expression class first thing in the morning next week, I’ll have to ask Madame to have breakfast ready at 7:45, so I’ll need to get up earlier, and going to bed at ten will be more important. Il faut que je tombe au lit à 22h...
Updated the blog and did little things like that in the WiFi zone, the headed up to class. I’m trying to get myself into a mindset of “I’m going to screw up, so stop worrying about screwing up, then screw up, and move on.” We did a comprehension exercise. The article we read was about how French singers are incorporating more and more English into their music, and why. Some groups do it because the singers grew up with music in English, others do it because they think that English sounds better with the melodies (the phrase was “English (as a language) doesn’t kill the melody”), and some do it because they love the culture of America. One singer said he doesn’t check his grammar when he writes English into his songs because it’s not his language, and he doesn’t care. I really want to listen to this guy’s music to see if I can catch any faults and have a good laugh (pretty sure it was French Cowboy). I didn’t answer a few of the questions in the time we were given in class, but I made decent guesses at all of them. Fabian asked me for a response on one question I’d answered, but then there was a two part question, and I could only find one of the two things it talked about. He’d asked for one half of it from one girl, and she said the half that’d I’d found. When he called on me, I apologized and said that I found the same thing the other girl found, and I’d searched like crazy, but I couldn’t figure out the other answer. He said that was okay, and posed the question to the rest of the class. I didn’t feel so bad, since I was at least able to communicate that I couldn’t find the answer instead of sputtering like an old jalopy... The next worksheet we did was on homophones (words that all sound the same with different spellings), where we’d have a sentence and two, three, or four homophones, and we’d have to select the proper word in context. Here’s an example:
J’ai mangé des petits ______.
We had some time to work on it in class before we started going over it. For the record, the right answer for that one is pois. The sentence is “I ate the _______.” The word you’re looking for is “peas” and petits is half of it, pois is the other. Poids is pounds, meaning weight. We got through two-thirds of it, the rest is homework. The last question is evil. It’s a popular tongue twister in France with Foix/fois/foie/foi. It starts with “Il était une fois...” and goes on. I told Fabian he was mean for putting that one in. He laughed.
Talked about media in oral expression today. I talked a little bit about Grey’s Anatomy and Breaking Bad. I was one of the people that talked the least today, just because I haven’t watched much TV in France yet. There was one girl that literally said two words today. At least I’m doing better in this class than she is...
Went to Carrefour again for lunch today, to my relief. I asked Rouge if she heard what the waiter said to me yesterday, and she said she did, but she wasn’t sure if she understood. Once I confirmed it, she said he was totally rude. She wants to be with me the next time I go out to a restaurant to see if it happens again. I’m still scared to try to eat out again, but I know it’s inevitable. I saw that Carrefour had a really simple looking tuna salad, but when I read the label, I saw that it had gluten, which bummed me out, because having tuna salad and crackers sounded amazing! I got my heart set on it, so I figured I’d at least get a can of tuna... and I found something even better, canned tuna salad without gluten (when I read the label, there were no gluten ingredients, but it didn’t say gluten-free) kind of... What I found was Saupiquet’s Thon sauce Mayonnaise. In reality, it’s supposed to be an hors-d’oeuvre, but it still worked... It’s a cooked tuna fillet in a mayonnaise-dijon sauce with pickled peppers! IN A CAN! The idea is that you open the can, turn it out onto a plate and serve it with crackers, so I just dug it out of the can with crackers (after stopping by the health food store to buy more cracker packs). Apparently, Saupiquet makes tuna in this manner in a whole bunch of different sauces. There were two cans to a package, so I have lunch for tomorrow all ready to go. One can and one cracker pack were enough for me. I’ll admit, this was the “unhealthiest” thing I’ve seen in France so far. It has modified food starch from corn and xanthan gum on the label, which I haven’t seen anywhere else (though I’ve seen xanthan gum in my gluten-free goodies) in the country yet.
Today, I had my cooking class. I thought that Sheila had signed me up, but she hadn’t. Lucky for me, Sandra couldn’t come, so I took her place. We walked a little while to a woman’s house, and we made Tarte Tatin, which is basically an apple pie that’s made upside down. It’s delicious, but it’s really easy! First, you peel all of your apples (we used about six yellow ones, recipe says 1.5 kilos), cut them in half, and core them. Then you make your caramel. I was the one that made the caramel for my little group. Making caramel is always hard for me, since I hate cooking things slowly, so this was good for me to do. You put JUST sugar in your pot (I thought it was about a cup, recipe says 200g), turn your heat on medium, and don’t touch the sugar, but watch it. Once it starts to melt, keep stirring it so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Once all of the sugar is melted, turn off the heat, stir for a minute more, and pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of a pie pan. Then put your apple halves ROUNDED SIDE DOWN in the pan. After that, take your puff pastry, put it over the top of the pan, and tuck it down over the apples, not over the side of the pan. Sprinkle the pastry dough with vanilla sugar, and bake in a 200 Celsius oven for 25 minutes. Put a plate over the top of the pan, and flip your Tarte Tatin out of the pan! For an accompaniment, make slightly sweetened crème fraîche. Add a little sugar and cinnamon (to taste) to some crème fraîche and put that on top of your slice of tarte. It was great, even though I just ate the apples! The woman doing the cooking class brought out apple cider (hard, but not nearly as much alcohol as wine) to go with the tarte. She tried to teach us how to pour a glass of anything that came out of a bottle. It’s important that you don’t touch the bottle to the glass, and that you turn the bottle as you finish pouring so you don’t make any drips. I failed miserably! I touched the glass (only one who did), AND I made a drip... thankfully this was cider and not red wine... By the way, I didn’t have my camera with me, but Rouge took a lot of pictures, so check her blog for a whole bunch!
Rouge wanted to go buy a cardigan since it was cold out today. I need to get gloves for the cold weather coming up. On the way to the store she wanted to go to, we stopped by a book store to pick up a copy of Bescherelle (I pass by this book store on the way to l’Institut every day, and I saw it in the window this morning), which is a verb conjugation dictionary, and I swear, it has every verb! It was only 8,50 euro, which is perfect! Rouge and I each bought one. Suzannah told us to get them. That was the last euro bill I had, and the bank we’d passed by was closed, so I couldn’t exchange my Traveler’s checks... I better do that tomorrow. There’s a bank by the school I can visit. I had enough change to buy a pair of gloves at the shop Rouge likes, but the change had exploded in my purse, so I didn’t want to deal with it, and I didn’t get the gloves.
My Travelex card wasn’t working today (I tried it at Carrefour and at the bookstore), so I called to see if trying to get into the online account yesterday and being locked out locked my card. They said that my card didn’t appear to be locked, but if the vendors don’t accept Mastercard, that may be why it’s not working (since I have plenty of money in the account). I can’t understand why that would be the problem, whenever I hand the vendors the card, I always as “ça marche?” and they look at the card and nod... why wouldn’t it work otherwise? The guy on the phone suggested I try to take money out at an ATM and see if the card works then, or to try it at other stores, and if I keep having problems, to call back.
I need to learn how to work this stupid phone. I tried calling the toll-free French number for the Travelex card so many different ways, and I kept getting the “Bonjour, you’ve entered the number incorrectly” notice, or the call just wouldn’t go through. To test it, I tried calling my US phone, and that works, so I’m not sure if it’s an operator error (meaning me), or this piece of crap SUVNSMG thing yet... Either way, I think I’m going to have to buy one of those silly 20 euro phones everyone else seems to have... so now I’ll be out even more money... If I have to keep using my US phone, and my mom can’t cancel the international plan, what’s the use?!
Rested A LOT this afternoon, to the point of playing that Maple Story game I bought for my iPod to keep me busy on the plane. I figured I should be remotely productive, so I wrote up a whole bunch of the post cards I bought at Le Château de Villandry. Dinner was delicious! We had a salad with tomatoes and mozzarella for entrée, and some ungodly simple and unfathomably delicious chicken and mashed potatoes for plat principal, then the usual cheese and nectarine for the following courses. I told Madame all about my day, including the classes. I got to practice my passé composé a lot, since I’ve noticed Madame’s been correcting me. I paid a lot of attention to properly forming my sentences, and she praised me. I know what I’m doing, I just need to take my time and practice more. I’ve decided I’m going to go “balls out” as some of my friends say. I’ll be a bull in a china shop. I’m going to make mistakes, so why try to avoid them? Sure, I’ll take my time forming my sentences, but I’m not going to get anywhere if I refuse to talk in my oral expression class. I’d rather make mistakes and learn from them than not allow myself the opportunity to make mistakes and never improve.
Time to go to bed early again! I’m still getting tired during the day... but I know napping when I get home isn’t going to help...