I got up just as Madame was leaving. She woke up Josephine (we've figured out that this is her youngest daughter) as she headed out the door. I got dressed to meet up with Joan, then I woke up Sheila for breakfast. We ate together, then Josephine came out to make herself some coffee. She talked to us for a few minutes, then I had to head out the door to meet Joan at Place de la Concorde. I called her, and she said she was on Champs-Élysées... in the first white tent? I turned to look. There was a marché de Noël set up similar to the one that I saw in Reims, but it was nearly three times the size. We traversed the entire market, and I saw a jewelry stand that I wanted to buy a few things at, but I needed to get some cash, so we kept walking until we saw an ATM which was past the end of the market and back onto the main shopping area of Champs-Élysées.
Champs-Élysées decorations... I'm sure they're prettier at night...
Joan and I went to a nearby Zara to get something for her sister, then we went to an ATM nearby, and we went back to the markets so I could hit up that jewelry stand, then we split a kielbasa sandwich for lunch (sort of, I ate the sausage out of my half, but not the bread). That market had a TON of stuff. There were attractions to keep your kids busy like a slide, a kind of amped-up jungle gym, a 3-D walk-through maze, a trampoline set up, and even ice-skating! There were all kinds of restaurants, both quick-service and sit down (which amazed me since this was all relatively portable), featuring all kinds of food like typical French fare (tartiflettes, gaufres, crêpes, vin chaud) and even things like barbecue and chile con carne. Most of the little shops sold things like scarves, hats, gloves, chocolate, cheese, meats, ornaments, jewelry, but every once in a while there was the odd shop that sold a novelty item like cocktail glasses that separated the liquids in them so you could have layered drinks, or signs that could say whatever you wanted them to that looked like the Parisian street signs (my favorite said "I don't like anything, I'm Parisian!"). Joan said we were going to come back with Sheila after our classes on Wednesday. Shoot, I want to come back every day!
Joan wanted to try going to BHV to get some supplies to wrap her presents, and to try to find some things for her dad and her brother, so we went over that way. Joan was really frustrated with the boxes. They didn't sell any simple shirt boxes, and that's what Joan wanted since she wanted to wrap the presents herself. If she wanted a box, it would have to have decorations all over it, and cost her at the least... 13 euro?! Highway robbery... We checked out BHV Homme for her dad and brother's gifts, but I had to head off to class pretty soon after we went inside. Joan was pretty sure she could handle it on her own by that point...
I was worried about having to do my monologue when I got to class today, and I knew I wasn't prepared. I had thought about faking sick to get out of it a little on my way to class. Karma bit me in the backside... when I got to my classroom and sat down outside of the room... I certainly felt sick. I had a bit of a headache all of the sudden, I felt feverish (even after taking off as many layers as I could), and my throat was sore all of the sudden! Professor Bruhnes came down to the classroom shortly after this whole feeling came over me. Even he said I didn't look good. "Do you need to go to the doctor?" "No... I'm never sick!" "Do you want to go home?" "No. I can sit through class... but... my monologue..." "If you did a monologue like everyone else in the class where you stand in one place, you wouldn't be getting out of it. There's no way I'm letting you do it today." Well... at least I got my wish... I must have missed some sort of memo. Only eight people (including me) showed up for class today. Professor Bruhnes was not happy. We watched a bit of a documentary he'd done after he directed Laurent Terzieff in one of the last productions he did before he died. He used it as a lesson to show us that Terzieff never stopped learning. He never said that anything he was working on was "perfect." No one did their monologues today. Professor Bruhnes had the rest of the students do a cold reading from a text he had in his bag to practice how to properly make contact with an audience that way. Apparently, you're supposed read maybe one line of the text off of the paper to yourself, then say it to the audience. You shouldn't try to take the script you've just been handed and read through it to understand it when you clearly don't have the time to do it. He ended the class half an hour early and told us to tell our classmates to come to class next week. As I said "Salut, à lundi!" (Bye, see you next Monday!) He stopped me. "Courage!" I smiled.
An advertisement on the metro must have made everyone on the car with me think I was an absolute loon... It was an ad for a medication that you take when you have a cold. It read "Ne barlez plus l'enrhubé." In proper French, that would be "Ne parlez plus l'enrhumé." In English, that's "Don't speak 'cold' anymore." The closest translation of the original text I can give you is "Don't sbeak 'cold' anybore." I seriously died laughing, I thought it was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. The fact that I understood it right away really made my day.
I drank a lot of water when I got home, I think I was a little dehydrated... that may have been the problem... I rested a bit before dinner, and I felt a little better. Madame made the shrimp with the mayonnaise for entrée again, then we had steak, potatoes, and sautéed peppers for plat principal, then we had a salad after all that... Josephine ate dinner with us tonight. She's really wonderful and talkative! She talked to us about what we were studying, how much longer we'd be in school, and a lot about how our loan systems work. I got to Skype my boyfriend after dinner. He's working on a special date to take me out for my birthday... I'm starting to realize that I'm still sad to be leaving France, but I'm finally excited about coming home instead of being upset about it and dreading it.
I'm probably going to send my package of clothes and trinkets home tomorrow. As my boyfriend said today, "only 19 more days until you're back in my arms!"